There were a handful of milestones at the international box office this weekend amongst studio pics, although total overseas grosses were down around 21% on the comparable year-ago frame when Life Of Pi was the top film. This year, Warner Bros‘ The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug crossed the $500M mark internationally, adding $58.2M in 62 markets, on par with the first Hobbit in terms of weekend take. Smaug has been the top movie overseas since release and has an estimated overseas cume of $527M with continued No. 1s in Germany, Australia and the UK. Its domestic take is $229M for a total of about $766M worldwide. Two big markets to come for the film are China on February 21st and Japan on February 28th, although the latter is showing weaker returns for Hollywood fare overall. Disney‘s Frozen surpassed $600M globally this weekend to make it the highest-grossing Disney Animation release of all time behind The Lion King. Frozen added $55.7M and now has an international cume of $343.9M. Combined with the domestic gross, its estimated global cume is $639.6M. In another watershed, Lionsgate‘s The Escape Plan passed the $100M threshold for an estimated total of $100.7M. Paramount‘s Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones started its international roll out on January 1st. The off-shoot of the found footage franchise is a Latino-themed take with some Spanish dialogue. In Mexico, it opened at $2M from 555 locations putting it on a par with last year’s Paranormal Activity 4 as the biggest in the series. In Spain, it grossed $1M at 242 dates. The studio says that’s a 10% hike on the first Paranormal and in keeping with the 2nd and 3rd films in the franchise. Meanwhile, Universal‘s 47 Ronin made an estimated $20.5M at 3,304 dates in 34 territories over the weekend for an international total of $51.7M. The film was off about 50% in its 2nd frame in the U.S., but was buoyed slightly by some overseas markets. Universal still has Despicable Me 2 to release in China on January 10th. That film is the No. 2 global hit this year with about $553M internationally. It’s behind Iron Man 3 which has an overseas cume of $806M; over $120M of that contributed by China. We’ll come back to that next week. For now, here’s a look at how some of the big titles performed this weekend around the globe:
Opening in Oz later than its neighbor New Zealand, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug‘s 2nd weekend brought in a further $5.5M on 631 screens. The estimated cume is $23M. In its 3rd weekend, Paramount’s Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues styled another $2.1M for an estimated cume of $12.5M, a big jump on the entire gross of the first film. Add another $2.4M in Australia for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty for a cume of $7.1M. Overall, Australia’s box office was down about 3% in 2013.
Fox’s The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty or as we call it here, La Vie Rêvée De Walter Mitty, bowed to $3.1M for the No. 5 slot. Reviews have been somewhat mixed, and Ben Stiller has fared better in France as an actor only, rather than as actor/director. The latest Paranormal Activity scared up an estimated $3.1M on 250 screens, mirroring the opening results of the first and second movies in the franchise; although those two are also the lowest eventual grossers in Gaul behind the 1st and 4th installments. In its 4th weekend, The Desolation Of Smaug now has an estimated total of $46.2M after taking a further $5.4M on 840 screens.
The Hobbit sequel is still the No. 1 film in the territory after four consecutive weeks where it added $9.25M this frame. The estimated cume there is now $75.7M. Germany remains the No. 2 overseas market for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire where it now has an estimated cume of $41.6M. Paranormal Activity‘s latest opened to $3M from 285 dates, beating the original film by 274%. Universal’s English-language German production Der Medicus (The Physician) held at No. 2 in its 2nd weekend with $7.7M at 670 dates for a 12-day total of $22.4M. Universal is also handling The Wolf Of Wall Street in Germany where it will bow on January 16th. The studio has it in nine territories total and has taken $1.4M so far from Finland and French-speaking Switzerland. Overall, Germany is expected to see its box office down for the year, by less than 2%, following a 2012 that welcomed juggernauts Skyfall and The Intouchables. The top-grossing local comedy, F*** You, Goethe, ended the year just behind Smaug with an estimated $55M. Frozen added another $4.1 this past weekend for a total cume of $40.3M.
Frozen hit Brazil this weekend with an estimated gross of $4.1M ($5.9M including previews) and became the best opening ever for a Disney/Pixar Animation title there. The movie also took an estimated $2.5M in its Argentina debut. 12 Years a Slave bowed in Portugal in the No. 1 spot with $427K from 61 playdates; it has an international cume to date of $7M in 11 markets today; it will bow in the UK on Friday.
In the blossoming territory, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty debuted to $4.5M. The Desolation Of Smaug jumped over the New Year’s holiday with a 52% increase on 1,378 screens for a local cume of $42M. Frozen became the biggest Disney/Pixar animated release ever in Russia ($29.3M) as well as Ukraine (and Malaysia and Singapore). 47 Ronin opened to an estimated $13.1M on 886 screens over five days and is battling it out with local comedy Elki 3 for dominance. In Ukraine, it opened at No. 2 with $1.3M at 109 dates. It’s still got 28 territories to go over the next few months.
Walter Mitty opened to an estimated $3.4M in Korea on 371 screens. In Taiwan, its 2nd weekend provided $516K, a 20% drop from the previous frame which kept it No. 1 in the market. Meanwhile, Korea’s love affair with Richard Curtis’ About Time continued this weekend with the low-budget romcom adding $1.5M at 226 dates for an estimated cume of $21.6M. In a strong market for local language pics, About Time is now the 4th biggest foreign film of 2013 behind Iron Man 3, World War Z and Gravity. Judging by the reception in Korea — and an international cume of $68.2M — Curtis may want to reconsider his vow to make this his last directorial effort.
Universal is distributing the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis in Spain where it opened limited on January 1st. The weekend brought in $695,875K at 122 dates with the 3rd best screen average in the market behind Frozen and The Physician. It’s the top film in theaters showing subtitled – rather than dubbed – versions. I spent the holidays in Valencia, Spain’s third-largest city, and advertising for the film was scarce, but it was playing at the prestige Babel cinema, one of the only places to find original versions in the city that has a lot of expats. Universal says it expects the film to have a long run in Spain where I recently reported it’s been a dismal year at the turnstiles. Box office is expected to be down some 16% on 2012, but there is a glimmer of hope in the market as the government has pledged it will try to right the ship in 2014.
As I recently reported, the final tally for UK box office in 2013 was down a slight 1% from 2012 when Skyfall goosed the market. The 23rd Bond film was the highest-grosser in UK history with over $160M, so it’s worth pointing out that the top film in 2013, Despicable Me 2, made about $72M and yet there was enough momentum in the market to cause only a small drop from the previous year. Turning back to today, in the No. 1 slot after its 4th weekend, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug took $5.3M more in estimated grosses for a cume of $61.1M. With an estimated total of $50.3M, Frozen is now the biggest Disney Animation release ever in the territory (it also has that distinction in Norway). Universal is handling mature comedy Last Vegas in 13 territories including the UK where it opened at No. 4 with $2.9M as the top comedy in the market. The UK is strong on adult-skewing movies and Universal is expecting a solid run through January. Paramount’s Anchorman 2 dropped 29% in its 3rd outing for a local cume of $19.7M. The market is the film’s best internationally and has largely outpaced the original Anchorman‘s haul.