Ang Lee’s Life of Pi topped the international box-office chart for the second consecutive round, collecting $33.2 million from 9,347 situations in 67 markets, elevating its foreign cume to a mighty $357.4 million.
Opening No. 1 in the Philippines, the Fox release boosted by 11 Oscar nominations including bets picture drew its highest weekend tally in Russia ($4.4 million from 1,575 sites for a market total of $25 million).
Its top market (outside of China) remains the U.K., where Life of Pi generated $3.8 million in its fourth frame from 673 sites for a territory total of $35.5 million. Weekend box office actually increased 5 percent in the eighth round of play in Lee’s native Taiwan ($329,694 at 80 spots for a market cume of $16 million).
As it did last weekend, Warner’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey placed second, collecting $26.1 million from more than 10,000 screens in 63 markets. The Peter Jackson opus with three Oscar nominations did, however, fly past the $600 million mark in international box office ($608 million).
Logging record-breaking No. 1 openings in the U.K. and New Zealand, Universal’s Les Miserables bagged $25.5 million overall on the weekend at 2,432 playdates in 22 territories, hoisting its international gross total to $115.1 million. (The worldwide tally is now $234.3 million.)
The U.K. debut was especially notable because Les Miserables took a 37 percent weekend market share with a gross of $13.4 million at 592 locations, as per Universal, the distributor’s best-grossing weekend ever in the territory. It also was the best market opening for a musical.
Les Mis also scored the a record opening for a musical in New Zealand, where the weekend generated $625,000 at 81 sites. In its third Australia round, Les Miserables finished fifth with $2.3 million at 242 spots for a 19-day market cume of $18.2 million.
Japan via local distributor Toho-Towa generated $3 million in its fourth stanza at 328 sites for a 24-day total of $31.8 million. Openings in seven markets are due this week including in India, the Philippines and Sweden.
Opening in 19 markets was Warner Bros.' Gangster Squad, a period crime drama starring Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin about the takedown of L.A. gangster Mickey Cohen. Debut round generated $9.1 million at 1,484 locations with the U.K. leading the numbers pack ($3.4 million at 453 screens including previews, sufficient for a No. 3 market ranking).
In Spain, where Universal’s release of director Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty is dipping its toes in international waters, the weekend tally was $1.2 million at 231 screens, sufficient for a No. 4 market ranking. The 10-day cume stands at $3.1 million. Universal is handling the drama, about the pursuit of Osama bin Laden, in major European markets -- with France and U.K. debuts set for next week.
Fox International came up with a pair of No. 1 market openers, both comedies handled by distributor Fox. In Germany, actor-director Matthias Schweighofer’s Schlussmaker (Break Up Man) drew a robust $5 million from 450 screens, while writer-director Vishal Bhardwaj’s Hindi-language Matru Ki Bijjlee Ka Mandola grossed $6.5 million from 2,100 screens in nine markets, notably including a first-place bow in India ($5.5 million at 1,850).
Thanks to opening in 10 markets, Paramount’s Tom Cruise action title Jack Reacher came up with $17.6 million from a total of 5,963 locations in 57 countries in its fourth weekend of overseas play. Foreign cume stands at $80.4 million.
Russia opened with $3 million at 600 spots. The No. 1 Spain premiere produced $1.5 million at 344 sites, while the Brazil bow generated $1 million at 208 situations. Reacher opens this week in South Korea.
Disney’s 3D family animation title Wreck-It Ralph boosted its total foreign take past the $150 million mark ($156.9 million) thanks to a $11.6 million weekend in 59 territories. It has been playing for 11 stanzas on the foreign circuit. Worldwide, the toon has grossed $336.3 million.
Showing some overseas muscle outside the U.K., Universal’s release of the Working Title/Focus Features co-production Anna Karenina, starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law, made a big splash in Russia, where the opening tally was $4.9 million at 485 playdates, sufficient for a No. 5 market ranking. Weekend overall for the film based on Russian writer Leo Tolstoy's classic novel generated $6.3 million at 1,260 screens in 21 territories for an international total of $31.4 million.
Drawing $4.6 million from 1,965 sites in 29 territories was Parental Guidance, Fox’s comedy starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei. A Brazil opening at 250 spots generated $842,451. Foreign cume stands at $23.1 million.
More data from 2012: The U.K. (including Ireland) recorded record yearly box office of $1.89 billion, up 4 percent from 2011’s total market figure. A strong fourth quarter, featuring record takings of Sony/MGM’s James Bond film Skyfall, which became the first film ever to breach the £100 million mark. The film’s U.K. cume now stands at $164.2 million.
Skyfall drew $4 million on the weekend from 2,545 venues in 50 markets, raising its foreign gross total to $733.5 million of which $643.5 million came from territories handled by Sony and $90 million from those handled by MGM.
DreamWorks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians grossed $3.9 million at 4,252 venues in 54 markets in its ninth weekend offshore, raising the foreign cume via Paramount to $187.7 million. Universal's Pitch Perfect pocketed $2.4 million at 1,150 spots in 15 markets, lifting its foreign cume to $40.4 million.
Still the top local-language title in France was Mars Distribution’s De L’autre cote de periph (The Other Side of the Fence), starring Omar Sy. The film about two mismatched cops assigned to a murder case generated $1.4 million in its fourth round at 569 screens, sufficient for a No. 2 market ranking. Market cume stands at $14.7 million. (The Weinstein Co. has domestic distribution rights.)
Other international cumes: Fox/Europa Corp.’s Taken 2, $234.1 million, after a $1.7 million opening in Japan at 288 venues; Universal’s This Is 40, $415,000; EuropaCorp Distribution’s Prince (Pas Trop) Charmant, $700,000 in opener in France at 175 dates; and Universal’s ParaNorman, $47.6 million.
Opening this week: Sony said it is distributing Django Unchained adorned with its five Oscar nominations in all foreign markets. The first openings in 51 markets begin Jan. 16, including all of Europe along with most of Latin America, Eastern Europe and Middle East.