Around the World Roundup: 'Simpsons' Edge Out 'Harry Potter'

by Conor Bresnan
A scene from The Simpsons Movie
August 15, 2007

In a close call, The Simpsons Movie kept Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at bay to lead the foreign box office for the third straight weekend. The cartoon comedy's $24.12 million narrowly topped Potter's $24.1 million.

The Simpsons had mediocre openings in four territories. Hong Kong was its best start with $501,070 from 37 screens, ranking second beneath the second weekend of Ratatouille, while Taiwan's fifth place take of $145,000 was considerably worse. The other debuts were Thailand ($167,504 from 54) and Hungary ($134,303).

Among holdover markets, The Simpsons generally fell in the 50 percent plus range, aside from France's 31 percent drop to $2.8 million in its third weekend and Germany's 41 percent drop to $3 million (remaining in first place). The picture has some key openings this weekend in Brazil, the Netherlands, Russia and the Ukraine.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix pushed its overseas total to $552.7 million and its weekend was bolstered by China, where it recorded the series' best start there yet with $5.5 million from 525 prints, which was shy of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End's debut earlier this summer. Order of the Phoenix also launched in Turkey, with $1.3 million from 165 screens, topping all but one Potter pictures.

Most of Order of the Phoenix's holdovers leveled off with drops under 40 percent widely reported. Among them, Japan stood out with a fourth weekend take of $3.7 million, which represented a drop of only seven percent and pushed its total there to $53.1 million. France and Germany's fifth weekend grosses of $2.1 million and $2.3 million, respectively, were also fantastic. The movie also continued its strong run in the United Kingdom, off 29 percent to $2.2 million for an $89.3 million total.

Placing third on the international chart, Ratatouille bagged $18.7 million from 22 territories for a $119.3 million total. The Pixar comedy had no major openings to report but instead earned most of its currency from small-sliding holdovers. In France, for instance, it fell just 24 percent in its second weekend to $9 million for a $25.5 million total. In neighboring Switzerland, it saw a five percent increase to $374,047 for a $1.1 million total. It bettered both holds in Belgium with a remarkable 58 percent improvement on its opening, grossing $1.3 million for a two-week total of $2.5 million. Ratatouille is playing much better than the previous Pixar release, the disappointing Cars, and still has a plethora of territories ahead including Australia, Germany, Italy and the U.K.

A scene from Transformers
Transformers yielded $16.3 million from 50 territories, ranking fourth over the weekend for an impressive $329.4 million total. In Japan, the action spectacle eased ten percent in its second weekend to $3.4 million, escalating its total to $13.5 million. The picture has grossed a whopping $137.6 million from Asia, led by China ($35.7 million) and South Korea ($50.5 million), though its showing in Europe has been satisfactorily big, but nowhere near its domestic level. This weekend, Czech Republic, India and Poland will be among the movie's final countries as its international campaign winds down.

Finally released across most of Europe, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer re-entered the Top Five with a $12 million weekend from 29 territories for a $122.9 million total. The superhero sequel played better than its predecessor in its openings but saw less business than the likes of Transformers and The Simpsons Movie. In France, it opened to slightly more than half of Ratatouille's second weekend with a still solid $4.8 million from 750 screens. It led Spain with $3.3 million from 498 screens, but settled for fourth in Belgium with $518,762 from 90 screens. In South Korea, it placed third with a five-day $3 million debut from 316 screens. This weekend, it strikes Germany, Sweden and Turkey.

Not far behind Fantastic Four was South Korean heavyweight D-War, which raked in $10.2 million in South Korea for a $38 million total. The movie held better than anticipated with its 26 percent drop, and it has now grossed slightly more the country's all time record holder The Host (Gwoemul) through the same point.

Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan in Rush Hour 3
Opening day-and-day with domestic in seven territories, Rush Hour 3 ranked seventh at the international box office with a solid $9.6 million. The action comedy led the U.K. with $5.5 million from 359 screens, beating Rush Hour 2 by 72 percent. It ranked first in the rest of its markets and generally topped both its predecessors in Malaysia ($899,469 from 72 screens), the Philippines ($724,081 from 46), Singapore ($1.4 million from 58) and India ($62,982 from 11). It was stronger in Israel ($196,877 from 30) and Sweden ($355,942 from 35 screens) comparatively, showing promise for the European markets.

The Bourne Ultimatum launched in its first markets, taking in $4.3 million from 11 countries, and looked better than its predecessors. In Indonesia, the action thriller's $444,389 was greater than The Bourne Supremacy's final total, and the case was the same in the United Arab Emirates ($578,791). All other territories grossed more than 70 percent of Supremacy's final totals, including Hong Kong ($488,397), Taiwan ($1.1 million) and Thailand ($716,440). The picture adds seven more countries this weekend, including the U.K.

Also debuting overseas, domestic dud Stardust showed some promise in Russia, grossing $3 million from 400 screens. That almost doubled Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and was bigger than Ocean's Thirteen. This weekend, Stardust opens in South Korea, the Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile, thanks to a $3.3 million opening from 361 screens in Australia and a $498,098 opening from 66 screens in New Zealand, Live Free or Die Hard placed eighth with a $7.2 million weekend. That pushed its total to over $200 million (at $204.7 million), making it the second highest-grossing picture of the Die Hard franchise behind Die Hard: With A Vengeance's $261.2 million.

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