As Academy Award contenders fanned out overseas, Oscar-related films commanded the foreign theatrical circuit over the weekend with Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained leading the pack for the second consecutive round -- grossing $42.9 million at 6,490 screens in 64 markets, and elevating the film’s international cume past the $100-mllion mark ($111.5 million).
Unchained ranked No. 1 in at least 17 markets despite harsh winter weather in much of Europe. For the second straight round the biggest single market remained Germany where the film retained the No. 1 spot with a mighty $8.1 million drawn from 812 locations, down a mere 11% from the opening round.
Per Sony, the Germany market cume ($21 million) has already matched the total market take of the director’s 2009 war drama Inglourious Basterds (which generated slightly more than $200 million in total overseas box office, about 60% of its worldwide gross).
The action western costarring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz (a Vienna native) and Leonardo Di Caprio, adorned with five Oscar nominations, remained No. 1 in France ($6.59 million from 645 spots, cume $16.4 million) while a No. 1 opening in Australia delivered $4.2 million at 330 sites, a third bigger than the market opening of Basterds.
A sensational China bow catapulted Skyfall back into the top rungs after nearly four months of overseas playtime. The Sony/MGM release of the James Bond sequel, which possesses five Oscar nominations, grossed $34.4 million in its first full frame at 8,079 China venues. On 100 IMAX screens, the gross was $2.5 million.
Marginal returns from a ninth round in Australia plus playtime in 29 other markets pushed the weekend total to $35.4 million from 9,110 locations. Skyfall’s foreign cume is now $776.5 million, making the 007 sequel the sixth biggest overseas grosser of all time.
Introducing itself to an expanded foreign audience in its second weekend of overseas play, Steven Spielberg’s historical epic Lincoln with its dozen Oscar nominations drew $10.7 million from 2,596 locations in 22 markets, lifting the Twentieth Century Fox release’s early overseas cume to $14.7 million.
Top debut markets were the U.K. (No. 3 with $2.8 million from 511 spots for a nearly $5,500 per screen average) and Italy (No. 2 with $2.7 million at 421 situations for a nearly $6,500 per screen average). Fox opens Lincoln in 22 markets this week, including France and Holland.
Fox’s release of Ang Lee’s Life of Pi with its 11 Oscar nominations flew past the $400-million overseas gross mark ($422.4 million) thanks to a $17.6 million weekend at 6,566 spots in 60 markets. The film’s Japan opening registered a smashing $4.6 million at 713 locations. Pi continues its renumerative foreign journey that will conclude in Venezuela on Feb. 8.
Director Kathryn Bigelow’s controversial Zero Dark Thirty, about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, also enlarged its foreign footprint via Universal, which is handling the film in many overseas markets. A No. 4 U.K. debut at 433 playdates drew $1.6 million, the biggest market opening gross for a Bigelow title. In France, Zero generated $1.5 million at 286 locations, sufficient for a second-place market ranking.
Aggregate weekend tally was $3.6 million derived from 1,021 situations in five territories, pushing the foreign gross total to $7.7 million to date. Zero opens in Germany, German-speaking Switzerland, Austria and Sweden this week.
Paramount opened Flight, the aviation drama starring best-actor nominee Denzel Washington, in seven territories (with another three markets handled by StudioCanal and Tripictures) for an overall weekend tally of $5.5 million drawn from 1,301 venues. The film’s early international gross total stands at $11.7 million. An Italy debut provided $1.7 million at 308 spots. In Germany via StudioCanal, the take was $ 1.7 million elicited from 345 sites, sufficient for a No. 3 market ranking.
Summit/Lionsgate’s The Impossible, costarring best actress nominee Naomi Watts, grossed $7.2 million on the weekend at some 3,000 venues in 49 markets. International cume for the tsunami disaster film has passed the $100-million mark ($116.8 million). An Australia opening generated $1.1 million at 168 spots, sufficient for a No. 3 market ranking.
Universal Les Miserables, with its eight Oscar nominations, grossed $14 million on the weekend at 2,600 situations in 33 markets, pushing the musical’s foreign gross total to $175.7 million and $312.9 million worldwide. There were openings in four, mostly smaller markets. The Japan holdover was strong with Les Mis coming in at No. 3 in the market ($1.8 million at 357 dates for a 37-day market cume of $43.1 million). Debuts in five territories including Brazil and Italy are due this week.
Best non-Oscar related new title was Hansel and Gretel: The Witch Hunters, Paramount/MGM’s 3D co-production distributed overseas by the former. With Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton portraying the title pair as bounty hunters, the film drew $25 million from 3,039 cinemas in 20 markets, bringing the action title’s early foreign cume to $35.8 million over two stanzas.
The film ranked No. 1 in 18 of its 19 opening markets, as per Paramount. Witch Hunters remained tops in Russia ($4.75 million at 970 spots for a market cume of $15.6 million) while its biggest opening was in Brazil ($4.5 million at 366 locations). Mexico provided $3.7 million at 572 sites. Openings in at least 15 markets including India and New Zealand are on tap this week.
Warner Bros.’ release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey grossed $7.3 million on the weekend at 4,580 sites, pushing the cume for director-producer Peter Jackson’s epic to $646.3 million. The same distrib’s crime drama, Gangster Squad, yielded $6.8 million at some 2,500 spots in 47 markets, pushing its gross total to $28.1 million. A Russia bow generated $2.3 million at 844 situations.
The slow rollout of Disney’s animation title, Wreck-It Ralph, pushed the foreign tally past the films’s domestic gross for the first time. Weekend action offshore was $5.9 million grossed in 61 territories, lifting the foreign cume to $185.8 million. (Domestic cume stands at $182.5 million.)
Paramount’s Jack Reacher starring Tom Cruise registered $3.8 million in its sixth overseas round at 4,413 sites in 57 markets. International cume stands at $105.3 million.
Universal’s smash comedy Ted grabbed the No. 1 Japan spot for the second consecutive frame, grossing $3.6 million at 137 dates for a 10-day market cume of $11.2 million. The film’s foreign gross total stands at $296.2 million, and will cross the $300-million mark this week.
Lionsgate’s release of The Last Stand, the action vehicle starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, grossed $3.2 million in its second round overseas at 1,500 screens in 25 markets. Early cume stands at $7.4 million.
Other international cumes: DreamWorks/Paramount’s Rise of the Guardians, $194.5 million; Universal’s Mama, $2.7 million; Sony’s Hotel Transylvania, $176.4 million; Universal’s This Is 40, $4.8 million; Fox’s Parental Guidance, $34.5 million; Universal’s Anna Karenina, $36.9 million; Fox’s Break Up Man, $14.4 million in two markets; Universal’s Pitch Perfect, $43.2 million; and Pathe’s Alceste a Bicyclette, $3.9 million in France only.