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International Top Five - Watchmen Wins but at What Cost?

March 11th, 2009

Watchmen opened in top spot on the international charts, but with a weaker than expected figure. Much weaker in some markets. The film did top the charts in the U.K. with $4.52 million on 419 screens and in Australia with $2.29 million on 226, which is a great start for this time of year, but not a monster opening some were predicting. It placed first in Italy, but with a soft opening of $1.48 million on 344 screens, and the same was true in South Korea ($1.44 million on 397) and in Mexico ($722,000 on 417). The film had to settle for second place in Russia with $2.60 million on 554 screens and in France with $2.49 million on 517. Third was the best the movie could do in Germany ($2.03 million on 367 screens) and in Spain ($1.94 million on 426). Overall it did finish in first place with $26.63 million on 5,149 screens in 44 markets, but with only a couple of major markets left to open in, and the likelihood of massive drop-offs, this film will likely not match its domestic total, and might not top $100 million internationally. This is bad news for a movie that some have suggested cost $200 million to make, but that likely includes worldwide P&A, as well as the production budget. If it can make $300 million worldwide, then it will show a profit during its initial push on the home market. If it can make $200 million worldwide, then it will show a profit, eventually.

Slumdog Millionaire slipped to second place with $14.25 million on 2,970 screens in 43 markets for a total of $119.33 million internationally, which is just a hair below its domestic running tally. The film had no major openings this weekend, but it did add $1.80 million on 437 screens in the U.K. for a total of $39.28 million after two months of release.

Gran Torino remained in third place with $12.16 million on 1,672 screens in 18 markets for a still early total of $34.81 million. Among its debuting markets was a first place opening in Spain with $2.69 million on 245 screens, while it had to settle for fifth place in Germany with $972,000 on just 151 screens. Over in France, the film was down just 20% to $4.41 million on 446 screens for a two-week total of $11.27 million. And it held on even better in the U.K., down just 10% to $1.70 million on 305 screens over the weekend and $5.93 million after three. It is still very early in the film's run, and I don't want to get too enthusiastic, but this movie has $100 million written all over it. Pie-in-the-sky, it could match its domestic total while perhaps even reaching $300 million worldwide. I'm not saying it will, or it even has a 50/50 chance of doing so, but you can't discount the possibility either.

Marley & Me returned to the international chart, and reached the top five for the first time, with $8.16 million on 1,459 screens in 23 markets for a total of $32.98 million. The film opened in first place in Germany with $3.00 million on 546 screens, while in France it placed third with $2.35 million on 348 screens. Next weekend it opens in the U.K., and it has openings in Spain, Japan, and Italy left to go, not to mention several smaller markets, and it could reach $100 million before it is done.

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button fell to fifth with $7.20 million on 4,109 screens in 47 markets for a total of $188.26 million. It has no markets left to open in, and it is starting to shed screens and markets, but $200 million internationally is practically guaranteed.


Filed under: International Box Office, Gran Torino, Marley & Me, Slumdog Millionaire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Watchmen