Another week dominated by protests, soccer, and a single major Hollywood release painted a grim picture at the Brazilian box office. The same formula led to underwhelming results last weekend, with Star Trek Into Darkness being the only big U.S. release in a market that had its focus on the protests going on around its soccer stadiums, as well as the matches occurring within them.
The release of Monsters University in Brazil, however, helped to liven up a market that had been dominated by The Hangover Part III all month. The Hangover Part III was finally dethroned from the top spot in its fourth week. The comedy is a major hit in Brazil, having grossed a total of $14.9 million. The only other film in the top ten that has grossed more is Fast & Furious 6 with an impressive $22.2 million take from five weeks.
Monsters University was the big winner in a week that saw very few high profile releases. The animated film took in $3.5 million from its Brazilian debut. The only other U.S. film of note that opened over the weekend was The Place Beyond the Pines, which struggled in limited release from 26 theaters after failing to break into the top ten or reach the $100k mark in its opening frame. The big surprise came from domestic comedy Minha Mae e uma Peca. The Brazilian comedy had a home premiere of $2.1 million from half the theater count ofMonsters University and led the weekend in per-screen average.
Star Trek Into Darkness reached a $4.3 million cume in Brazil. The gross for the sci-fi sequel presents a big improvement for Paramount in a market where its predecessor fell falt. The performance is on par with Will Smith's After Earth, which has screened respectably in three weeks to reach a $5.6 million gross in Brazil.
Social protests and the Confederations Cup soccer tournament made it a slow weekend at the Brazilian box office. The country is currently hosting a precursor to next year's World Cup and is facing mounting pressure from its citizens concerning a rise in inflation and the increase in prices for public services like transportation. The escapism of the movies took a back seat to these matters, with lower than usual weekend numbers reflecting on the country's current state.
It is therefore hardly a surprise that the Brazilian public failed to respond to The Great Gatsby, a film that celebrates the lavish excess of its protagonist through Baz Luhrman's trademark visual style. Gatsby dropped 39% in its second weekend for a disappointing $1.5 million total.
The Hangover Part III continued atop the box office for a third consecutive week, edging out the premiere of Star Trek Into Darkness to reach a $13.1 million cume. Star Trek Into Darkness fell short from becoming the number film in the market but will have few complaints after already reaching 70% of its predecessor's lifetime total in Brazil. The sci-fi sequel opened midweek to reach a total of $2.6 million.
The Star Trek sequel's performance might have been well above its predecessor's but compares similarly to last week's tepid After Earth debut. After Earth added another $1.2 million to its total to take its Brazilian cume to $4.3 million. The Will Smith father-son-vehicle scored the weekend's highest per-screen average with $4,098.
Before Midnight had a great showing in limited release, shining in 42 screens with a $3,157 average. The per-screen average of the Richard Linklater film was only below the averages of After Earth and The Hangover Part III.
Fast & Furious 6 reached an important milestone over the weekend, netting $1.2 million to break the $20 million mark. The sixth entry in the Fast & Furious franchise has been in release for four weeks and has the highest cumulative gross among the films in the latest top ten chart.
Box Office Results for Brazil. Weekend of June 14-16, 2013
The Expendables 3 will be unleashed in Brazil on August 22, 2014, according to a story from Brazilian outlet Adoro Cinema. The latest installment of the action-star anthology will feature the return of Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, and Jet Li. Rumored newcomers include Nicolas Cage, Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Milla Jovovich, and Jackie Chan.
After Earth grossed $1.1 million to take its cume to $4.3 million, a 44% drop from the previous weekend. It might not be a marquee figure for After Earth, but should be considered a strong showing in a market where sci-fi hasn't been a huge draw. Star Trek Into Darkness opened in Brazil this weekend and took in $3.1 million from 407 locations. Paramount is happy with the result, a 70% bump from the lifetime gross of Star Trek's previous outing. Both sci-fi films opened in consecutive weekends and posted very similar opening weekend figures
Epic broke the $8 million mark in Brazil during its fifth weekend in release. The animated film is slowing down its run in Latin America after opening in the region in the first wave of its overseas release.
The Hangover Part III climbed to a $13.4 million cume in Brazil after posting another solid $1.6 million weekend. The comedy has been a big hit in Brazil, making it one of the leading markets for the film's $200 million overseas total.
Juan of the Dead is a rare beast of a movie. It's not only peculiar to find too many genre movies from Latin America find international distribution, it's even harder when the film is one of the few independently produced features to come out of Cuba. Cuban cinema is tightly monitored by the government, making independent productions like Juan of the Dead a risky venture for local producers.The horror-comedy's fresh vision for Cuban cinema raised interest at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. A number of other stops in the festival circuit followed, as the genre flick found itself with several offers for international distribution. The success of Juan of the Dead culminated in February when it was awarded this year's Goya Award (Spain's equivalent to the Oscars) for Best IberoAmerican film of the year.
The film tells the story of a pair of slackers that find themselves in the midst of a zombie invasion in their home country. Faced with a looming crisis of an undead Cuban revolution, the two friends become entrepreneurs and start a zombie-killing business.
The movie's Argentinian director, Alejandro Brugués, spoke to BoxOffice from Cuba about the slapstick splatterfest.
How did you go about making a zombie film for a Latin American audience?
We never really thought about appealing to a "Latino audience." We set out to make a movie for a general public. The film has two principal goals: to be a zombie movie and to be a very Cuban movie. I knew there'd be that only a Cuban audience would understand and other moments that only zombie fans would get, but there is always a common ground throughout the film so no one feels alienated. Some scenes in the film get applause from audiences that are familiar with zombie movies, and those instances are lost with Cuban audiences because the zombie subculture isn't very big here.
Were you inspired by any films or filmmakers for this project?
That's a difficult question because we had to balance so many things to make the movie work, so I tried not to draw too much from any particular influence. We were juggling zombies, Cuban identity, comedy, action, the right amount of gore, and allusions to other films. So I tried to incorporate little bits of everything that's influenced me along the way.
The movie's tone is very specific. I didn't have anything in mind while making it, but I've seen similar films since I finished it. If I had to cite someone I had in mind while making the film, it would be Stephen Chow from Kung Fu Hustle.
Genre films aren't known for being great Latin American exports. What do you think helped Juan of the Dead achieve global distribution?
When we speak of the type of films that Latin America exports, we're also talking about the type of films that are able to get produced. It's significantly easier to get financing for a social drama than for a genre film. And that's something also be true of other regions, but it's bit worse for genre movies in Latin America. Latino cinema has been too influenced by film festivals, specifically the sensibility of the European festivals.
I think there's a number of filmmakers like ourselves here in Latin America that make genre movies, and make them well, and that eventually things will open up a bit for us. We're going to show that we can make these films and at the same time talk about regional topics, talk about our problems, while still bringing audiences to the theaters. In the end, connecting with the audience is the most important factor.
Returning to your question, I think Juan has been successful abroad because of the film's humor and its Cuban identity. It's a sincere movie that makes it clear you're watching a zombie flick with social dialogue, a metaphor for our society that touches on more serious themes. It's more than a zombie movie. It's a film where you can learn a lot about our culture...while having fun watching it.
Juan of the Dead opens in Brazil on June 21. Brazilian distributor Imovision is hosting an advance screening of the film on June 15 with a zombie-themed party in Sao Paulo.