Around the World Roundup: 'Madagascar' Fends Off 'Fantastic Four'

by Conor Bresnan
July 28, 2005

The international box office continued to be divided. No single blockbuster has ruled the world since War of the Worlds' near global debut nearly a month ago. Most domestic summer releases are still rolling out with new titles joining the fray each weekend. This weekend, Madagascar's ongoing strength was enough to keep the openings of Fantastic Four at bay. But other titles were very impressive in individual markets.

Due to the heat wave, Madagascar failed to take off last weekend in several European debuts. This weekend, however, DreamWorks' animated comedy made up for the lost business. In Germany, it was champion again with $7.4 million from 836 screens, despite the debut of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. A tiny 12 percent drop increased its total to $20.6 million there. In the United Kingdom, it was off just 6 percent to $5.7 million from 504 screens. It relinquished the top spot to Fantastic Four but bumped its total up to $19.7 million.

All told, Madagascar made $24.6 million over the weekend, pushing its foreign total to $193.4 million. Key markets have been Australia ($18.8 million), France ($17.5 million), Mexico ($17.5 million), Spain ($14.9 million) and Brazil ($9.9 million).

The Fantastic Four were right behind the computer critters with an estimated $21 million weekend. Opening in first place in the U.K., the Marvel Comics adaptation grossed $6.2 million from 406 screens, but was a far cry from X2: X-Men United's $11.3 million start. In France, the picture debuted to $5 million from 635 screens, topping Hulk by 14 percent, but its showing in Germany has been poor, with $2.8 million in two weeks. The overall foreign total shot up to $79 million.

Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning in War of the Worlds
War of the Worlds continued its rapid descent, logging an $18.5 million weekend from nearly all international markets except China. Its total grew to $291.3 million. The weekend highlights were the U.K.'s 24 percent drop to $3.1 million from 451 locations for an impressive $45.7 million after four weeks and France's 21 percent dip to $3.1 million for a three-week total of $20.8 million. The Asian markets had much steeper declines. Due to a 6.0 magnitude earthquake, War's Japan business was down 44 percent to $2 million for a $39.9 million total. In South Korea, the movie tumbled 55 percent in its third weekend to $1.5 million for a still superb $17.6 million total.

The Japanese earthquake also sent shockwave's through Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. George Lucas' digital epic declined 43 percent to $3.9 million from 747 screens for a $43.7 million total to date. School holidays begin this week, though, which should help put the movie back on track for the century mark.

Domestic dud The Island saved some face in its Asian debuts, grossing $10.43 million from nine countries. South Korea was the most impressive market for the Michael Bay sci-fi action spectacle, with a strong $5.6 million from 321 prints, including sneak previews. Behind only the first two Matrix movies, the opening was the third best ever there for distributor Warner Bros. The Island topped past Bay pictures the The Rock by 311 percent, Bad Boys II by 127 percent and Armageddon by 83 percent. Futuristic productions are often successful in South Korea, where the similar Minority Report grossed $20 million.

Ewan McGregor
The Island wasn't as well-received elsewhere, however. In Japan, the movie earned just $1.8 million. No doubt the earthquake affected the take, but the debut was mediocre at best. There were solid No. 1 starts in Taiwan ($879,000 from 135) and Thailand ($805,500 from 220), but disappointment in Singapore ($409,000), the Philippines ($317,000), Malaysia ($225,000), New Zealand ($224,173) and Indonesia ($173,000).

The overseas reception for Wedding Crashers so far hasn't quite lived up to the picture's domestic success. While the randy comedy is on track to beat DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story in the U.K.—down less than one percent in its second weekend to $3.1 million for a $10.1 million total—it's been soft in ribald-loving Germany, where the 10-day tally is $1.5 million. In Sweden, though, the movie opened at No. 1 with $191,635 from 30 screens. Next weekend, it hits the Philippines next weekend and then most of the world throughout August.

Mr. and Mrs. Smith was welcomed by the German-speaking territories last weekend. The two non-Fox debuts helped push its foreign total to $158 million with France, Italy, Spain and Japan still ahead. In Germany, the married assassins opened in second place behind Madagascar, but still snared a massive $5.4 million from 649 screens. In Austria, the action comedy grossed $900,000. Both openings were in line with those for Ocean's Eleven and Rush Hour, although somewhat disappointing relative to Smith's potent runs in other markets.

Johnny Depp
Charlie on the Chocolate Factory savored three No. 1 openings last weekend as well as three strong holdovers. Overall the Tim Burton's Roald Dahl adaptation grossed $6.7 million for a $13.3 million total. Opening in Brazil, the movie made $1.1 million from 200 screens, bettering Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events by 230 percent and Stuart Little by 62 percent. The Netherlands' $755,500 bow from 124 screens was mediocre for a major family movie, while South Africa's $274,000 start from 41 prints was in the upper tier of the genre.

In holdovers, Charlie was superb. In France, it fell just 6 percent to $3.6 million from 670 prints for a $9.1 million total. In Belgium, it actually jumped 68 percent over its opening to $403,800 for a $785,900 total. The movie bows in the U.K. and Mexico next weekend.

Batman Begins grossed nearly $4 million last weekend for a $150.1 million total. The highlight was Denmark's chart-topping $655,000 debut from 54 screens. The Dark Knight's return had its final two markets next weekend in Sweden and Poland.

Monster-in-Law grabbed the top spot in Australia with $1.8 million from 257 screens. The Jennifer Lopez-vs.-Jane Fonda comedy also opened in Mexico, but with a moderate $729,438 from 191 screens. With over half the world still to go, the movie has bagged a pleasant $36.3 million to date.

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