Around the World Roundup: 'Madagascar' Reasserts Foreign Dominance
by Conor Bresnan
September 7, 2005
With big openings in Italy and Scandinavia, Madagascar reclaimed the international throne after a four-week absence. DreamWorks' computer-animated comedy corralled $11.6 million over the weekend, lifting its foreign haul to $291 million—compared to domestic's $192 million.
Madagascar dominated Italy with $7.4 million from 294 locations, including previews. The massive debut kicked off the country's traditionally buoyant fall season and ended the traditionally slow summer season. Excluding previews the three-day weekend stood at $6.1 million, topping the first two Harry Potter movies as well as Finding Nemo by 15 percent and Shark Tale by 56 percent.
The Scandinavian campaign was also impressive. In Norway, Madagascar's opening topped Finding Nemo's with $1.5 million from 113 screens. The escaped zoo animals also bested the lost fish in Denmark with $705,649 from 78 screens. Other debuts included Finland's $305,276 from 51 screens and Sweden's $693,260 from 114 screens.
Madagascar will end its international roll out in Thailand (Sept. 29) and Greece (Oct. 27).
Growing its foreign tally to $141 million, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory drew the silver ticket with a $10.1 million weekend from 45 markets. Australia was the key market, where Charlie opened on top with $5.3 million from 463 screens—the second biggest start of the year, behind only Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, and bettering what Madagascar did by 52 percent.
Willy Wonka also visited Thailand, whipping up a solid $363,000 bow from 60 prints—No. 1, ahead of The Cave and The Skeleton Key. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has Japan, Italy and Scandinavia on the horizon.
The United Kingdom was The 40-Year-Old-Virgin's first time overseas. The Steve Carrell comedy grossed $3.2 million from 393 screens, performing in the upper tier of R-rated comedies and a bit behind Wedding Crashers' $3.8 million launch. The picture still needs to prove itself in non-English markets, and it will have the chance over the next three months.
Also in the U.K., Red Eye grabbed $1.6 million from 354 screens in second place. The Wes Craven-directed thriller also opened in Australia, where it ranked third with $833,665 from 174 screens, and it had decent starts in Russia ($637,737 from 143 screens) and Singapore ($236,795 from 22).
Continuing a solid run, Bewitched grossed $7 million from 38 markets over the weekend for a $32.6 million total. The Nicole Kidman comedy had a very good opening in Spain, with $1.5 million from 300 screens, but wasn't as successful in Germany. Its $1.4 million start from a saturated release of 613 screens was still enough to rank No. 1 in the dilapidated market.
The Island stocked $5.8 million from 54 markets for a $112 million total. Among several openings in Eastern Europe, the only one worth reporting was Turkey's moderate $388,000 from 101 prints, topping the market ahead of The Skeleton Key.
Running through some current totals, War of the Worlds has $349 million thus far, Sin City has $72.5 million, Herbie: Fully Loaded has $66.3 million, and The Skeleton Key has $27.1 million,