Around the World Roundup: Turkish Delight for 'Narnia,' 'Kong' Strong in China

by Conor Bresnan
January 19, 2006

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was once again the top draw overseas, grossing $22.7 million over the weekend for a $321.5 million total. With Japan and Hong Kong still ahead, the family fantasy should ultimately soar past $400 million.

Narnia's sixth weekend in the United Kingdom yielded $2.4 million from 467 screens. It relinquished the top spot after falling 36 percent, and its total rose to $71.2 million. Other strong tallies include Australia's $21.9 million, Mexico's $21.3 million, South Korea's $12 million and Poland's $3.6 million.

Opening in only one new market, Turkey, Narnia scored distributor Buena Vista's second largest Turkish debut of all time with $890,000.

Fellow Christmas blockbuster, Universal's King Kong, also had one opening to report. In China, Peter Jackson's epic remake amassed $3.1 million from 315 screens, topping War of the Worlds, which earlier this year recorded Universal's biggest Chinese opening ever, by 25 percent. "Reviews and word of mouth are terrific and the exhibitors expect a long run," said Jack Ledwith of Universal Pictures International.

Generally, after holding well for the past five weeks, it seems King Kong is finally giving way. The giant ape adventure picture fell over 40 percent in most markets, including Germany ($19.8 million total), Spain ($14.3 million) and Australia ($14.6 million). The overall total stands at $294.4 million.

Jarhead led the new batch of movies with an $8.5 million weekend from 27 territories. Like last weekend, openings were moderate at best, save for the U.K.'s strong $3.5 million first place launch from 390 screens. It topped the debuts of recent war genre hits like Black Hawk Down (by 45 percent) and Three Kings (by 75 percent).

Jim Carrey in Fun with Dick and Jane
Fun with Dick and Jane continued to play well in comedy-driven markets. The Jim Carrey crime farce was tops in Mexico, grossing $1.9 million from 418 screens, below his previous movies but solid for the month of January. Fun sustained strong runs in Germany and Australia, making $4.4 million and $7.4 million to date respectively.

Memoirs of a Geisha was potent in three Asian openings as well as in the U.K. The period drama was No. 1 in Hong Kong ($299,610 from 21 screens), Indonesia ($173,847 from 20) and Taiwan ($333,964 from 19 screens). It opened in sixth place in the U.K. yet still managed $2 million from 241 screens.

Geisha's bow was less than Brokeback Mountain's second weekend, which yielded $2.3 million for a $5 million total—a rise of 30 percent from its debut.

Pride and Prejudice nabbed $2 million from 11 territories last weekend, even though it opened in Japan. The Jane Austen adaptation failed to spark interest in the market, grossing just $565,628 from 200 screens. Other openings were relatively better and helped the movie push its overall total to $46.8 million.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire climbed to $582.9 million after a $6.6 million weekend, while Chicken Little added $6.4 million to bring its total to $115.6 million.

In one of the more bizarre success stories, the domestic dud Get Rich or Die Tryin' triumphed in Germany with a $1.5 million opening from just 280 screens. For perspective, Four Brothers, distributed by the same company, only grossed $549,838 in its start. American rappers sell particularly well in Germany, which might account for why the 50 Cent vehicle did so well.

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