GLOBAL PREVIEW: Giant Robots Fight Giant Sea-Monsters for World Box Office Domination

on July 11, 2013

pacificrimSTILL.jpgA slow start in 24 territories painted a bleak picture for The Lone Ranger overseas last weekend. The nascent wannabe franchise might not get a sequel after the film failed to reach the $100 million global mark despite a mid-week Holiday release in North America and an overseas roll-out that included four top global territories. The film fell flat in most significant territories, with the lone exception of Russia where the Johnny Depp vehicle landed in first place with a $6.6 million take. It'll be a soft expansion in its second week as Brazil is lined up as the only major territory for release.

Pacific Rim will be hoping for better luck in its day-and-date release across 38 territories. The Guillermo del Toro high-concept tent-pole, which can be reduced to the simple synopsis of "Giant Robots vs. Giant Monsters," is the only film to receive a wide overseas roll-out this weekend. The Lone Ranger was always a tough sell overseas, balancing its star power with the relatively niche one-to-punch of a Western genre flick/All-American hero narrative. Generations of people might have grown up with the celebrated lawman's radio serial and vintage television show, but the character's exposure abroad is a tougher sell. That isn't the case with Pacific Rim, a movie that screams "Popcorn!" at audiences in the first few seconds of the trailer. 

You don't need to know who the characters are in a movie like Pacific Rim. There is no time to answer that question while there are giant robots fighting giant sea-monsters on a big screen.  We'll get a better sense of Pacific Rim's global potential after the weekend results from the United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, Mexico, South Korea, and Australia come in on Sunday.

The second biggest performance of the weekend should come from Disney's Monsters University. The Pixar film recently crossed the $400 million overseas mark and will open in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Ireland, and the United Kingdom this weekend. Despicable Me 2 has taken charge of the box office in the U.K. and France, grossing a combined $54 million of its current $178.6 million overseas cume from the two territories. That makes France and the U.K. responsible for around 30% of Despicable Me 2's total box office outside of North America. Despicable Me 2 will be entering its third weekend in these two territories, setting the stage for a big coup from Monsters University.

The minions are also expanding this weekend, hitting six minor territories on their way to the $200 million overseas milestone. Openings in Switzerland (German Speaking), Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland should give the animated sequel enough of a boost that will undoubtedly be complemented from its strong holdover performance around the world.

Two Fox comedies continue their overseas roll-out, with the struggling Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson vehicle The Internship opening in six territories and the Melissa McCarthy/Sandra Bullock flick The Heat hitting fourteen new destinations. The Heat is director Paul Feig's follow-up to the massively successful Bridesmaids, also co-starring Melissa McCarthy, which grossed $120.1 million overseas. The top markets for Bridesmaids were the U.K. ($37.3M), Australia ($28.9m), Germany ($8.1M), Spain ($5.2M), and France ($5M). This brings added pressure to The Heat's performance in Australia, where the comedy will look to double its current $6.8 million cume from 18 markets with a strong opening weekend. The Internship has done fairly well in Australia, where it boasts a respectable $6.6 million total after its premiere four weeks ago. Australia represents about 30% of The Internship's $21.5 million overseas cume from 32 markets. The Internship earned $2.2 million in its opening weekend in Australia, challenging the female-driven Heat to post a debut that can split the difference between the Google-themed comedy and the $9 million grossed by The Hangover Part III in its Australian debut. Sony's own comedy sequel, Grown Ups 2, will hope to mimic the same success of The Hangover Part III's blockbuster $235 million overseas run. Grown Ups 2 will be opening day-and-date in a handful of territories, including top markets Brazil and Spain.

After Earth will continue its box office S.O.S. run with openings in Portugal and China. The father-son sci-fi tent-pole flopped in North America but has performed respectably abroad, currently posting a $139.5 million overseas total. China has been friendly to 2013's other sci-fi releases. Oblivion survived a brutal release window to gross $23.7 million of its $197 million overseas cume in China. Star Trek Into Darkness earned $57 million of its $220.8 million overseas total from the same territory, making China responsible for about a quarter of the sci-fi sequel's cumulative gross outside of North America.

Man of Steel and World War Z are both ramping down their respective overseas premieres. The Superman reboot is opening in Brazil this weekend, where it will hope to gain enough momentum to push its $315.3 million overseas total closer to the $350 million mark. Brad Pitt's zombie epic has taken in $220.8 million outside of North America and will hope to reach the quarter-billion mark at the end of the weekend with strong holds from its current territories and a push from releases in Denmark, Israel, Norway, and Sweden.

Follow Daniel Loria and BoxOffice on Twitter for more on the global box office.

Tags: Global, The Lone Ranger, Pacific Rim, Monsters University, Despicable Me 2, The Internship, The Heat, The Hangover Part III, Grown Ups 2, Star Trek Into Darkness, After Earth, Oblivion, Man of Steel, World War Z

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