July 19, 2005

‘Madagascar,’ ‘War’ vie for foreign honors

By Hy Hollinger

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Madagascar" and "War of
the Worlds" ran neck-and-neck over the weekend for top honors
at the foreign box office, with the animated film narrowly
edging the sci-fi thriller, $31.8 million vs. $30 million.

Steven Spielberg won either way, as a principal of
"Madagascar" producer DreamWorks, and as director of "War of
the Worlds."

"Madagascar" has earned an estimated $144.6 million to
date, while "War of the Worlds" has $255.5 million to date.

"Fantastic Four" maintained a surprising pace by picking up
$20.4 million (from 30 markets) in its second weekend,
providing a two-week total of $45.2 million.

Although noting that scorching weather in many European
countries hurt overall movie business, Warner Bros. said it
considered the French opening of U.S. champ "Charlie and the
Chocolate Factory" with $3.8 million as "fantastic," pointing
to its No. 1 ranking in the Paris metropolitan area ahead of
"War of the Worlds," although it was ranked No. 2 nationally.
"Chocolate's" first overseas exposure also included Belgium
($247,396) and French-speaking Switzerland ($189,000).

"Wedding Crashers" arrived at No. 3 in the United Kingdom
with $3.8 million, and at No. 4 in Germany with $644,607.

Still going strong in Japan, "Star Wars: Episode III --
Revenge of the Sith" brought in $8.1 million in nine countries
to lift its international total to $410.5 million. Japan alone
provided $7.2 million during its second weekend as the No. 1
movie in the country, taking its total to $32.8 million.

Highlights of "Madagascar's" weekend performance included
$9.8 million from the U.K.; $8.6 million from Germany, $3.4
million from Korea, and $1 million from Austria. Holdover
totals include Australia, $18.4 million; Brazil, $7.8 million;
France, $15.7 million; and Mexico, $17.1 million.

"War," after its third weekend, has accumulated $34 million
from Japan, $40 million from the U.K., $15 million from Korea,
$16 million from Germany, $14 million from Mexico, $13 million
from Australia and $15.8 million from France.

On its second weekend of release, "Fantastic Four" came in
No. 1 in seven openings, extracting $4.4 million from Spain,
$1.1 million from Russia, $1 million from Hong Kong, and
$597,000 from Argentina. Australia has registered $5.8 million
in two weekends; Brazil, $4.3 million; and Mexico, $13.2

"Batman Begins," in 90 markets, brought in $5.6 million to
raise its international gross to $142.8 million.

"Mr. and Mrs. Smith," went up to an estimated $135 million,
"Sin City" to $40.2 million, and "Herbie: Fully Loaded" to $9.6
million. Robert Rodriguez's "The Adventures of Shark Boy and
Lava Girl" opened No. 3 in Mexico with $685,000.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter