Hollywood films continue to be globally dominant with overseas playing an increasingly big part of studio groses. But a number of local films found success in their home territories this year. Below is a look at the international box office trends and some of the local breakouts of 2011 as well as some insights into 2012:
As the Harry Potter era ends in Britain, local indies are vying to pick up the slack. Last year’s Oscar winner The King’s Speech brought in about $75 million, according to distrib Momentum and Ben Palmer’s adaptation of the TV teen comedy The Inbetweeners Movie, per Entertainment Film, took a healthy $70 million+. Overall, Warner Bros., spurred on by Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Part 2, was the studio box office winner in the UK this year with a record £205.8 million in takings. While 2011 was a strong year overall for British films, 2012 will be a tough one. Not only will there be no Potter, the industry is also facing a big dent in its coffers thanks to competition from the summer Olympics and the European football championships.
Local films were a huge boon to the box office this year with 41.6% of the market share. The total box office was the highest seen in France since 1966. Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s crowd-pleasing Untouchable (for which the Weinstein Co has US distribution and English-language remake rights) opened on November 2 and as of the end of its 9th weekend was still going strong with about 16.7 million tickets for over $129 million, according to studio Gaumont. By the end of 2011, the film was less than 3.8 million tickets behind the country’s biggest French hit of all time, Welcome To The Sticks. Only Titanic sits above that pic. It’s not unusual for France to have a homegrown hit at the top of the charts, but the one-two punch of Untouchable and the year’s No. 2 film, Pathe’s Nothing To Declare, is nevertheless notable. As he did on Welcome To The Sticks, director and star Dany Boon does double duty on Nothing To Declare which has sold over 8 million tickets. It just debuted on pay-TV and with 2.1 million viewers gave Canal Plus its largest audience for a film since 2009 when Sticks garnered 2.6 million subscribers. Other local films faring well include Cannes Jury Prize winner Poliss, EuropaCorp’s Un Monstre A Paris and awards contender The Artist with about $13 million in sales. Warner Bros. will re-release the film in France this month on 200 screens to capitalize on expected Golden Globes glory.
Italy’s box office continued its trend of tight run-time comedies at the top of the charts. Gennaro Nunziante’s bumbling security officer comedy Che Bella Giornata (What A Beautiful Day) surpassed Roberto Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful as the territory’s biggest all-time grosser. With just under $60 million in receipts the Medusa release ruled a box office that included 2 other local pics in the top 5. Giulio Manfredonia’s comedy Qualunquemente (Whateverly) from Fandango took roughly $23 million while Paolo Genovese’s thirtysomething comedy Immaturi (The Immature) scored about $20 million in receipts for Medusa. Also in the top 10 was Fausto Brizzi’s sequel Femmine Contro Maschi (Women Vs Men) with $15 million in takings, according to Medusa.