Around the World Roundup: 'Munich' Unseats 'Narnia'

by Conor Bresnan
Eric Bana in Munich
February 2, 2006

Marching into 30 markets, Munich ended the five-week foreign reign of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The Steven Spielberg drama uncovered $14.9 million over the weekend.

The respectable opening suggests that Munich could potentially have a $100 million run. Spielberg's The Terminal had a similar start, yet eventually yielded more than $140 million. In fact, the director hasn't failed to top $100 million mark in international receipts since Amistad. Distributor DreamWorks positioned Munich to capitalize on the Academy Awards nominations.

In France and Germany, Munich was hurt partially by severe winter weather, causing the closure of several cinemas. France was still Munich's best market with $2.6 million from 445 screens, on par with The Terminal. Other debuts included United Kingdom ($2.1 million from 387 screens), Germany ($1.7 million from 394), Italy ($1.7 million from 214) and Spain ($1.7 million from 217).

Munich also opened in Israel, surrounded by controversy as the picture dramatizes Israel's reaction to the Palestinian terrorist attack at 1972 Munich Olympics. The $140,483 gross from 30 screens proved that, in this case, the controversy wasn't a plus for the box office.

In Australia, Munich netted $1.3 million from 172 screens, which failed to beat Big Momma's House 2's $1.6 million from 190. Brokeback Mountain was hot on Munich's tail, drawing a bustling $1.2 million from just 48 screens—averaging a huge $25,058 per screen. Gearing up for its Australian debut next weekend, Walk the Line landed in 10th place based on $411,610 worth of previews.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain
Australia was Brokeback Mountain's only new territory, but its holdover markets continued to be strong. Its fourth frame in the U.K. yielded $1.3 million from 284 screens for a $10.8 million total. In Spain, the romantic drama fell 31 percent in its second session to $1.1 million for a $3.2 million total. Due to Brokeback's wide array of distributors, an overall total was hard to figure, but estimates put it at about $27 million through the weekend.

Another picture with multiple distributors is also faring well. Memoirs of a Geisha grossed an estimated $7.6 million over the weekend for a $48.3 million total. Geisha recorded strong holds in European markets, but suffered in Asia with the arrival of many movies due to the Chinese New Year, which forced it to lose screens and business. In Spain, the period drama based on the novel of the same name fell only 14 percent to $2.2 million for a $5.8 million total. Denmark's three percent drop was more impressive as Geisha grossed $118,400 for a three-week total of $708,526. Geisha also continued a strong run in the U.K., grossing $1.4 million in its third weekend for an $8 million total.

Counter-programming the large amount of serious pictures in theaters, Fun with Dick and Jane offered laughs, and distributor Sony's release plan has been working. Opening against Munich in Italy, Fun snatched the top spot with a $2.2 million gross from 333 screens. The Jim Carrey comedy was also a hit in Norway ($256,904 from 40 screens), South Africa ($270,596 from 72) and Sweden ($490,300 from 57).

With a $356 million total, The Chronicles of Narnia entered the record books by becoming distributor Buena Vista International's highest-grossing live action picture, passing Armageddon, and it's third overall, behind The Lion King and Finding Nemo. Over the weekend, Narnia nabbed $8.5 million from 48 markets. Narnia's latest conquest was Hong Kong, where it bowed to $1 million from 50 sites.

Chicken Little
Chicken Little finally opened in Germany and South Korea, but results weren't spectacular. Disney's computer-generated comedy debuted atop Germany with a disappointing $2.8 million from 700 screens. In South Korea, it was solid with $1.1 million from 180 screens. Overall, the movie grossed $6.5 million from 36 markets for a $126.7 million total.

Buena Vista's staggered release has worked out well for Flightplan. Landing in Japan, the Jodie Foster thriller captured its most lucrative opening yet, with $5.3 million from 280 screens or more than 60 percent of what Foster's last thriller, Panic Room, did. Flightplan's international total climbed to $111.9 million and could easily balloon to $130 million when all is said and done.

Big Momma's House 2 opened day-and-date with the United States in five markets. On top of the solid Australian debut, the comedy sequel generated a first place finish in Mexico and scored $1.9 million from 300 screens in Spain. All told, its weekend came to $5.4 million.

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New MPAA Ratings Added
DAILY: Monday, 12/10 (39 tracked)
WEEKEND: Weekend Actuals, 'Ralph Breaks the Internet' #1
DAILY: Friday, 'Ralph 2' #1
WEEKLY: 'Ralph Breaks the Internet' Tops the Week with $31.1m
DAILY: Thursday 12/6, (44 tracked)
DAILY: Wednesday, 12/5 (37 tracked)
DAILY: Tuesday, 12/04 (35 tracked)