The 25 Biggest International Opening Weekends of All Time
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The 25 Biggest International Opening Weekends of All Time

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | April 28, 2013 | Comments ()


Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg topped the box office with a modest $20 million opening for the R-rated Pain & Gain over the weekend. While that is obviously one of Michael Bay's worst openings ever, Pain & Gain also had a much, much smaller budget ($26 million) that most Bay films. Pain & Gain edged last week's number one film, Oblivion by a little less than $3 million, while number three was 42 with $10 million. Meanwhile, Katherine Heigl and Robert DeNiro's Big Wedding was a big failure, opening with only $7.5 million, despite a bigger budget ($35 million) than Pain & Gain. Where did all that money go? (Answer: Post-production therapy bills for the rest of the cast after having worked with Katherine Heigl for two months).

The big story at the box office this weekend was not in America, however; it was overseas, where Iron Man 3 opened higher than even The Avengers, $195 to $185 million. It is the 9th biggest opening of all time internationally, and it still has yet to open in China, Russia and Germany (or the United States, obviously).

Here is the new 25 biggest opening weekends of all time worldwide.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 -- $314 million

2. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides -- $260 million

3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince -- $236 million

4. Spider-Man 3 -- $230 million

5. Transformers: Dark of the Moon -- $219 million

6. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End -- $216 million

7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 -- $205 million

8. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 -- $199 million

9. Iron Man 3 -- $195 million

10. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix -- $193 million

11. The Avengers -- $185 million

12. 2012 -- $165 million

13. Avatar -- $164

14. Da Vince Code -- $155 million

15. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 -- $152 million

16. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs -- $151 million

17. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull -- $147 million

18. Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith -- $145 million

19. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey -- $138 million

20. MIB 3 -- $135 million

21. The Twilight Saga: New Moon -- $132 million

22. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King -- $125.9 million

23. The Matrix Revolutions -- $117 million

24. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban -- $113 million

25. War of the Worlds -- $102 million

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • oblak

    I know what this is all about though. I have made contacts with them at

  • koko temur

    That reminds me; go watch iron man 3 today.

  • Ian Fay

    So, can anyone explain exactly why the recent trend has been to open these movies overseas before here in America (where, presumably, most of them were made?)

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I wonder why they can't release it everywhere at once. Does that lessen the impact upon the world of film or something?

  • csb

    Releases are usually staggered, even just a little, for the sake of the publicity tour.

  • koko temur

    Its just very expensive. Really big movies that are garanteed to be huge hits everywhere are released at the same time. I remember lord of the rings doing that, for example.

  • Milly

    One reason given is to disuade people from buying bootleg dvd's of hand held camera recordings, or torrenting CAM releases. To do this, you make the product available in those markets that were at the forefront of piracy in order to ensure you took money from those areas.

    Of course, it also means that CAM releases from those areas are often provided with an overdub language which requires someone to wait a while for an English audio-track to sync with. All this ensures that people will pay money to see the filum.

    I'm not providing the above as fact or as evidence, just a recollection of an interview a while back in the guardian I think.

  • koko temur

    Its not about where it was made, its about where it will be seen the most.
    I assume opening overseas first benifits the us market a lot too - a story about a movie opening extremely well overseas is more likely to influence americans to see it, than an overseas audience influenced by american success.... Because, you know.... You not extremely well liked everywhere and such, so sometimes a movie becoming huge hit in Us causing the opposite reaction elsewhere.

  • I'mNotTheGreatest

    Not sure if it's a recent trend, in Aus we've been getting the majority of blockbuster movies first for quite a while.

    Studios seem to rely more on foreign box office now more than ever. Look at all the 2012 blockbuster movies majority of them would be failures or bigger failures. Battleship, Prince of Persia, MIB3, Pirates 4, etc would be huge failures. So it would be better to get all that money then release in USA.

    China is still a growing market and they will probably be #1 in movie goers by the end of this year.

    Look at the Box Office for MIB 3 and Pirates 4 compared to the eariler movies

  • Ben

    When are you yanks getting Ironman 3 anyway? I'm eagerly waiting to react with a bunch of online people about how awesome that movie was.

  • Ian Fay

    May 3rd.

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