Around the World Round Up: Still Flocking to 'Fockers,' 'Constantine'

by Conor Bresnan
March 2, 2005

Riding on outstanding holdover markets, Meet the Fockers topped the overseas box office again with $19,008,645 over the weekend (excluding Latin America) from 26 countries, pushing its total to $181,945,529. Germany was its most impressive market with a miniscule 13 percent drop to a second weekend gross of $5,047,704 from 631 screens, raising its total there to $12,290,629. In Switzerland, it fell 17 percent to $1,016,161 for a $2,675,072 total. Other strong holds included France's 34 percent drop ($8,705,715 total) and the Netherlands' 24 percent fall ($2,516,195 total).

Meet the Fockers opened in only one market over the weekend, New Zealand, where its release came nine weeks after neighboring Australia's—most movies open day and date in the two countries. Perhaps because of the delay, the comedy sequel earned a somewhat disappointing $528,633 from 53 screens. It next opens in the Czech Republic/Slovakia on March 3rd and has Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and South Africa ahead.

Constantine is showing versatility in the international marketplace. The supernatural thriller has been a blockbuster in the Asian territories, where the bountiful action patrons made success a sure bet, but it has been delivering in other regions as well, with superb starts in Europe and Latin America leading to a $19.45 million weekend and a $54.4 million total.

The hell-raising Keanu Reeves vehicle had four key openings over the weekend. In Australia, it grossed an excellent $2.345 million from 288 screens, easily nabbing pole position and 89 percent better than The Ring, 59 percent higher than The Grudge and 32 percent greater than Kill Bill: Vol. 1. In Italy, Constantine conjured $2.3 million from 360 prints for a third place finish (behind Shark Tale's enormous debut and Meet the Fockers' third weekend), which was 65 percent bigger than Gothika and improved on Kill Bill: Vol. 1 by 39 percent. Constantine dominated Mexico, doubling the No. 2 movie Hitch's weekend tally with $2.1 million from 486 prints, 82 percent bigger than The Ring. Thailand, not surprisingly, welcomed Constantine with $1.18 million, including sneak previews, from 220 screens, ranking first with a 90 percent market share of the top five.

In what seems to be a new trend in Italy for animated pictures, Shark Tale opened five months after its United States premiere. DreamWorks' computer-rendered comedy grossed an excellent $3,979,920 from 254 screens. Shrek 2 also delayed its release in Italy, bowing in January compared to its May 2004 U.S. release, and scored an impressive $4,236,516 from 300 screens. Distributor United International Pictures mimicked the Shrek 2 campaign for Shark Tale and nearly topped the debut of the highest grossing animated movie yet. Shrek 2 went on to gross $28,512,618 there, which means Shark Tale could feasibly reach $20 million there and over $200 million internationally when all is said and done as it still has Japan left on March 5.

Hide and Seek drew a strong $9.8 million from 25 territories for $22.5 million total. The Robert DeNiro thriller was No. 1 in openings in the United Kingdom ($3.1 million on 345), Brazil ($622,000 on 229) and Hong Kong ($318,000). It also had solid second place starts in South Korea with $1.6 million on 120 and in Taiwan with $604,000 on 95, but it was soft in France with $1.2 million on 301. The movie is on track to pass its near $50 million domestic total overseas.

With only one major opening, Finding Neverland captured $5.1 million from 32 territories for a $49.29 million international total, surpassing domestic's $48.1 million. The Johnny Depp drama nabbed a solid $1,202,287 from 264 screens in its opening in France and has secured $2,530,301 in Germany and $4,677,505 in Spain to date.

Ray grabbed $4.4 million over the weekend for a $25.6 million total. Germany has been the most receptive market to the Ray Charles biopic with decent $4,762,658 from a limited release. In France, though, the picture opened on a wide 259 screens with an impressive $2,403,067 in its first five days, ranking No. 1 in the crowded market and in line with the debut's of American Beauty and Hero. The country's terrible weather earlier in the weekend stopped many people from attending, which should mean a low drop next weekend. Ray also opened well in South Korea, grossing a solid $346,277 from 70 screens.

Sideways grossed $3.8 million over the weekend in 45 countries for a $20 million total. Its eventual $35-45 million total will be achieved mostly from longevity, not large openings, as the weekend evidenced. In Spain, it increased by 11 percent for a $1.9 million total, but in Mexico it opened to just $100,000 from 80 screens.

Million Dollar Baby's Best Picture win should eventually double or triple its current $25 million overseas haul. In the meantime, it had soft openings In Switzerland ($240,000 from 54 screens) and the Netherlands ($128,000 on 30).

The Aviator moved to a $81.6 million total over the weekend, highlighted by Argentina's first place opening of $232,700 from 56 screens.

It's unlikely that Spanglish will even match its disappointing domestic run overseas. With a poor $580,898 opening from 335 screens in the U.K. and anemic $59,294 and $13,755 openings in Sweden and Finland respectively, the Adam Sandler comedy-drama has earned $6,267,394 from 9 major territories.

In the U.K. two pictures had their international debuts. The Samuel L. Jackson drama Coach Carter had an O.K. eighth place start of $873,081 from 178 screens, while Bill Murray comedy The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou landed in ninth place with $865,000 from 207 screens for a $961,562 total. Neither picture is expected to perform well overseas.

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