Universal Pictures International’s local language strategy, including English language films with specific appeal to local languages in the UK and Australia, is paying dividends for the studio. UPI enjoyed successful local-language productions in six major European territories in 2014.
The Physician, the English-language German production based on Noah Gordon’s bestseller that Universal acquired for distribution in Germany, Austria, Luxembourg and Switzerland, was the fourth-highest-grossing German film of the year, with a cume of $42.8 million.
Russian fantasy adventure Viy grossed $34.2 million in Russia to become Universal’s highest-grossing film of all time in that country.
Spanish Affairs, a comedy, is currently at $67 million in Spain alone, making it the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever and second in the all-time list in the country behind Avatar‘s $91 million cume.
Mrs Brown’s Boys, based on Irish comedian Brendan O’Carrell’s hugely popular foul-mouthed matriarch, brought in $28 million from the UK and Ireland.
In Italy, local comedy Sotto Una Buona Stella, was the second-biggest Italian film of 2014 with a cume of $14.8 million.
In France, Babysitting was the sixth-biggest film of the year with $20.6 million. Universal has already greenlit the sequel.
Universal has also enjoyed sterling results with its “local” English language efforts. In the UK, The Theory Of Everything opened strong with $5.7 million. The awards-season contender is the latest picture from production powerhouse Working Title.
Russell Crowe’s directorial debut The Water Diviner was the highest-grossing Australian film of the year, despite only opening December 26 with cume to date of $4.8 million.