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12 American Blockbusters That Made Two-Thirds of Their Box Office Overseas in 2012

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | November 11, 2012 | Comments ()


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The 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall, had the best opening ever for a Bond film this weekend, racking up $90 million (including Thursday's midnight screenings), besting the $67.5 million put up by Quantum of Solace. It's also the fourth highest debut weekend of the year, and the 7th highest November opening of all time (behind only Twilight and Harry Potter films).

However, Skyfall has already been out overseas; in fact, it's earned $428 million internationally, and is well on its way to becoming the highest grossing Bond film of all time. At the moment, that title belongs to Casino Royale, which earned $600 million, $431 million (72%) of which was earned overseas.

Clearly, action movies (and animated films) depend heavily on those overseas grosses. To wit, there have been 12 blockbusters in 2012, so far, that have earned more than two-thirds of their box-office take internationally. In many instances, they weren't even considered successes in America, but are in the black thanks to the Germans, naturally.

Here are the 12 times, their worldwide grosses, and the percent of that gross attributed to international box office.

Ice Age: Continental Drift -- $872 million (81.6% international)

Resident Evil: Retribution -- $221 million (81% international)

Battleship -- $302 million (78% international)

American Reunion -- $234 million (76% international)

John Carter -- $282 million (74% international)

Wrath of the Titans 2 -- $301 million (72% international)

The Expendables 2 -- $300 million (71.7% international)

Men in Black III -- $624 million (71% international)

Madagascar 3: World's Most Wanted -- $732 million (70% International)

Total Recall -- $196 million (70% international)

Prometheus -- $402 million (69% international)

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island -- $325 million (68.1% international)

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I should also make mention of one other film, The Intouchables, a French film that's made $405 million this year, 97.5 percent of which was earned overseas. It's also a very good film, silly controversy notwithstanding.

Elsewhere at the box office, there was another huge opener this weekend in Lincoln, which made $900,000 on only 11 screens, which gave it an $81,000 per screen average, second best per screen average ever for a movie opening on more than 10 screens (behind on Precious). Lincoln rolls out nationwide next week, and you're going to want to see it.

Other than that, there wasn't a lot else to report. Wreck-It-Ralph hung on to second place, falling only 33 percent, putting up $33 million. Flight added another $15 million to come in third place, Argo came in fourth place with another $6.7 million, and Taken 2 held on to the fifth spot, climbing to $131 million ($348 million worldwide).

Cloud Atlas is a big old ooof. It's now made $22 million. Total. To break even, It's going to need to make a ton internationally, where it's only opened in South Africa and Turkey so far. It didn't open at number one in either of those countries, either.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • Jim Slemaker

    Proof positive we are not the dumbest nation in the world.

  • Any time box office takes are mentioned, just put the Potter and Twilight films into parentheses and count the next film as no.1. No point measuring up against those generational cartels.

  • Cloud Atlas is doing a terrible job with marketing the film. The trailer and promo material so far is nothing like the film that actually happens onscreen. I mean, Halle Berry's main story is a high stakes espionage/journalism thriller and all you see of that is her car going off the bridge. There's a madcap escape comedy and a character-driven pirate/exploration epic in the film, too, and you wouldn't know it.

    I get that this is a hard film to pin down, but that doesn't mean you go with fluffy buzz words and pretty pictures to sell it. It's a hard hitting, life-affirming fantasy/sci-fi epic told in six short stories. When your director introduction is more compelling than an extended trailer, you have a marketing problem.

  • ed newman

    This news saddens me. Whether or not Cloud Atlas is a good movie, it is certainly an ambitious one. The Wachowskis have consistently made ambitious projects, and if the box office continues to stink for their movies I wonder if they will be allowed to make more. It would be a shame if these risk takers were not able to get projects made in the future.

  • Robert

    I'd love to see what the Wachowskis would do with a very low budget. The segments they directed are far more character driven than you would imagine. There's action in all three, but it's secondary to high stakes wordplay and ambitious character development. They have it in them to make a film at the budget level of, say, Attack the Block or Another Earth that could be a masterpiece.

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