March 29, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Yesterday we looked at the international box office numbers for films released in the fourth quarter of last year.  Today we turn our attention to movies released since the beginning of 2011.  Compared to the movies released October-December, the January-March crop looks a bit motley, but that is normal for this time of year.

The list below includes movies released in 2011 through March 18.  Because of the lag in reporting international box office numbers, it would be pointless to add the March 25 films to the list — they will be added next week as early results from overseas come in.

First, you are probably surprised to see The Green Hornet at the top of this chart.   But as with The Tourist, a very solid overseas number makes all the difference.  Nonetheless, Green Hornet will not stay at #1 for long.  Rango is just getting going internationally. The asterisk next to Rango‘s  $73 million overseas figure indicates it is still early and many territories are yet to report.  (In contrast, the $128 million domestic figure for Rango is the ShowbuzzDaily Ultimate Gross estimate, a very good forecast of where the movie will end up domestically when it leaves theaters.)  We are working on an International Ultimate Gross model, but for now we just have to guess that Rango will end up doing around $150-175 million internationally.  A few weeks from now we should see the total worldwide box office for Rango in the $275-300 range, a clear #1 among the relatively weak bunch in the first quarter.  Gnomeo and Juliet, also with upside in the overseas tally, will probably pass Green Hornet in several weeks and end up at #2 behind Rango

JAN-MAR 2011 FILM GROSSES   World   Domes-  Over-   Int’l

  (millions)                 wide    tic     seas  Impact

 1  Green Hornet             236     106     130     +1
 2  Rango                    202     128      73*    -1
 3  Gnomeo and Juliet        162     101      61*    +1
 4  Just Go with It          158     106      52     -1
 5  Battle: LA               141      89      52*   
 6  No Strings Attached      133      74      59     +3

 7  I Am Number Four         126      61      66     +5**
 8  Unknown                  119      75      44
 9  Adjustment Bureau         98      66      32*    +1
10  Justin Bieber: Never Say  90      80      11     -3
11  Limitless                 88      83       5*    -5**
12  Season of the Witch       79      25      55     +12**
13  The Rite                  78      32      46     +6**
14  Sanctum                   78      30      48     +7**
15  Paul                      75      47      28*
16  Big Mommas: Like Father   71      42      29
17  The Dilemma               67      48      18     -4
18  Hall Pass                 62      48      14     -4
19  Lincoln Lawyer            62      61       1*    -8**
20  The Mechanic              49      32      17
21  Red Riding Hood           45      39       6*    -3
22  The Roommate              41      41       0     -5**
23  Mars Needs Moms           36      28       8*    -1
24  The Eagle                 28      21       7     +1
25  Beastly                   25      25       0     -2
26  Country Strong            20      20       0
27  Drive Angry 3D            18      13       5
28  Take Me Home Tonight       6       6       0

TOTAL Jan-Mar Movies        2392    1528     864*

How to read: The #12 ranked movie, Season of the Witch, has grossed $79 million worldwide, with $25 million domestic and $55 million overseas.  (The two numbers do not always add up to the worldwide number exactly due to rounding.)  The +12** International Impact Index indicates that strong international performance moved the film’s ranking 12 places from #24 domestic-only to #12 worldwide.  The two asterisks indicate a particularly significant Impact. 
The Domestic number is either the actual final gross or the ShowbuzzDaily Domestic Ultimate estimate if the movie is still playing.  The Overseas number is the actual gross to date, which tends to lag in reporting. An asterisk indicates significant overseas upside to come. 

The most interesting movie in the middle of the list is Season of the Witch.  The +12 International Impact Index means the relatively high overseas numbers moved the Nicolas Cage movie up 12 places, from #24 on the domestic ranking to #12 in the worldwide ranking.  However, Nicolas Cage can cast only so many spells on cinema audiences around the world.  Drive Angry 3D is showing no traction overseas — it ranks #27 domestically and #27 worldwide.

Two of the most recent movies on the list, Limitless and Lincoln Lawyer, are just starting to see overseas box office numbers.  Limitless in particular seems like it could move up the list rapidly in the next few weeks.  If it does gain momentum, the film could help establish Bradley Cooper as an international star.  Opening in the UK in early February, Paul had a significant head start internationally and will not enjoy as much upside in the coming weeks.    

Finally, the total numbers at the bottom of the chart show that international box office is significantly lower than the domestic total this time of year (almost an exact flip of the fourth quarter totals).  However, please note the international total will keep growing in the coming weeks, probably to a level that roughly matches the domestic total.  Remember, at this time of the year Hollywood is not exporting its most commercial product.  It would be unreasonable to expect winter international numbers to match the robustness we saw yesterday.  The summer films, in contrast, will have a profile much closer to the fall/ holiday slate.

Check back later today for a quick summary of the Monday daily box office results. 

–Mitch Metcalf

About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.