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AUSTRALIA: 'Wolverine' Hits $10M; 'Conjuring' Continues Packing Theaters on August 07, 2013

Wolverinestill.jpgThe Wolverine led a second consecutive weekend in Australia, reaching a $10 million cume after collecting $2.9 million from 581 screens. Hugh Jackman's superhero has found a receptive audience in the star's home country but is unlikely to match the $21.9 million currently reported by Man of Steel's theatrical run. 

The Conjuring posted the weekend's best per-screen average, grossing $7,148 from 170 locations. The $1.2 million weekend take represented a 19% drop in the film's third weekend, taking the total gross to $5.4 million. Third place went to The Heat, another hold over, which grossed $1.1 million over the weekend and reached an $11.7 million total.  The World's End was the best performing new release of the weekend despite coming up with an underwhelming $959k debut from 224 locations. The Way, Way Back opened to a $3,173 average from 124 screens.  

Top Ten Films in Australia. August 2-4, 2013

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UPDATED GLOBAL: 'The Smurfs 2' Opens to $80.2M, 4% Under the Original on August 04, 2013

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Monday: Studios are reporting several revisions to their weekend numbers. Here are Monday's actuals, organized by distributor.

Fox
The Heat: $37,319,789
The Internship: $31,425,512
Turbo: $56,493,274
The Wolverine: $160,051,891

Universal
Despicable Me 2: $386,542,266
Fast & Furious 6: $535,213,308
R.I.P.D.: $18,294,066
The Purge: $15,275,412

Warner Bros.
Pacific Rim: $200,000,000 
The Conjuring $28,800,000
Man of Steel: $359,500,000

The Weinstein Company
Scary Movie 5: $44,698,333
Escape From Planet Earth: $13,883,905
Only God Forgives: $8,024,453

SundayThe Smurfs 2 couldn't live up to the opening success of the original, earning 4% less than the debut of its predecessor in its day-and-date premiere. The animated sequel grossed $52.5 million from 43 overseas markets and posted an $80.2 million worldwide debut.

The Smurfs sequel dominated in Latin America, bringing $18.2 million from the region, including big debuts in Brazil ($4.7M) and Mexico ($4.3M). The family film also posted positive results across Europe, including big openings in Russia ($5.4M), the UK ($5.1M), France ($4.2M), Germany ($3.8M), and Spain ($3M).

Fast & Furious 6 earned $8.8 million from 32 territories since Friday, bringing its overseas total to a robust $533.1 million. Fast 6 is the second biggest film of 2013 with a $771.1 million global total. China has given the film a late push, contributing $52.3 million and making it Universal's biggest performer in the market after only ten days in release. 

Despicable Me 2 grossed $13.8 million from 51 territories over the weekend, taking the animated film's overseas total to $387 million. The Minions have grossed $713.7 million worldwide. Despicable Me 2 opened in first place in Lebanon with $260k, the biggest opening of all time for an animated film in the market. The film reached a $58.1 million cume in the United Kingdom, making it the second biggest film of the year in the U.K. behind Les Miserables. The animated film still has a dozen territories left to open, including Russia on August 15. Despicable Me 2 is third biggest film of the year at the global box office, behind Iron Man 3 and Fast 6. 

Monsters University added another $12.8 million to its global cume over the weekend. The lion's share of that figure came from overseas, where the Pixar prequel has reached a total of $354.9 million over seven weeks. Monsters University is a $613.5 million hit for Disney, with Japan's $58.3 million leading the overseas markets. The film will open in Italy and China by the end of the month. Other top markets for Monsters University include Mexico ($38.1M), the United Kingdom ($31.7M), Argentina ($23.5M), Australia ($22M), and Russia ($20.9M). 

The Wolverine continues its strong overseas run, reaching a $160.2 million overseas total and a $255.2 million worldwide cume. The superhero spin-off earned $38.5 million overseas in a weekend without any new openings. Top performers for the film include Russia ($17.7M), the United Kingdom ($14.5M), Brazil ($13.9M), and Mexico ($12.5M). The film still has a dozen markets left on its rease schedule.

World War z posted the biggest opening weekend of the summer in Spain, drawing $4.5 million from 665 locations. Brad Pitt's zombie movie has grossed $292.5 million overseas and $488.3 million globally. Next weekend's opening in Japan can put the film on track for a $500 million worldwide cume.

Pacific Rim hit the $200 million overseas mark before being able to reach $100 million in North America. The popcorn flick earned an estimated $45.2 million from its opening in China, the highest performance for a Warner Bros. release in the market. Other top performers for Pacific Rim include Russia ($20M), South Korea ($17.9M) and Mexico ($15M).

A $3.8 million opening in the UK helped The Heat reach a $37.3 million overseas total. There are 30 markets left in the film's overseas run and it is poised to top the overseas performance of co-star Melissa McCarthy's previous comedy, Identity Thief, which earned $41 million outside of North America. The Heat has grossed $186.8 million worldwide.

Disney has struggled selling The Lone Ranger overseas. The film has been released in around 50% of the overseas marketplace and only registered an $88.7 million total. The film had a strong $3.7 million opening in Japan over the weekend and will be released in top markets like France, Germany, and the United Kingdom by August 9. The Lone Ranger has grossed $175.4 million globally, with Russia ($15.8M), Australia ($9.4M), and Mexico ($8.9M) leading the overseas markets. 

R.I.P.D. continues to be a disappointment for Universal. The action flick has failed to attract audiences in 19 territories, where R.I.P.D. has only earned $18.4 million. The box office woes in North America are just as bad with a $30.4 million take from North America and Canada. Universal's losses won't compare to the red ink dripping from Disney's Lone Ranger, thanks to a smaller budget and a comparatively softer marketing campaign for R.I.P.D.  

GLOBAL PREVIEW: Can 'The Smurfs 2' Top the $563M of the Original? on August 02, 2013

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By Daniel Loria

2013 has proven to be a great year for family fare at the global box office. Early hits like Oz: The Great and Powerful ($258.3M Overseas / $493.2M Global) and The Croods ($400M Overseas / $586.5M Global) set the stage for a busy summer that has seen four animated wide releases take over the overseas marketplace, posting big openings and strong holds throughout their respective runs.

Despicable Me 2
is the biggest success story of the year in this arena. The Universal release has been one of the biggest hits of the summer with a $369.1 million overseas gross and a $683.1 million global total. The sequel is the third highest grossing film of the year worldwide, behind Iron Man 3 and Fast & Furious 6. Despicable Me 2 will have to close out its theatrical run without a release in China, a market that allowed The Croods to thrive despite an inconsistent track record for Hollywood animation in the country. The original Despicable Me finished its overseas run with $291.5 million and a $543 million global total.

Monsters University has also posted big numbers around the world. A $321.6 million overseas tally and $577 million worldwide total ranks the Pixar prequel among the year's most successful releases. Monsters U has surpassed the success of Monsters Inc., which walked away from theaters with $269.1 million overseas and $559.2 million worldwide.

Turbo and Epic haven't reached a similar blockbuster status but have performed steadily overseas. Epic has earned $140.6 million outside of North America and $246.9 million globally, without the help of an established property behind it. Turbo is having a much slower time at the box office, a factor that can be attributed to an overseas release scheduled to scale out through the rest of the summer. Turbo has grossed $41.5 million overseas and $103.1 million worldwide with 41 territories still left to release.

Sony desperately needs good news this summer and will hope that this weekend's day-and-date roll out of The Smurfs 2 will help mitigate the box office damage instigated by costly misfires like After Earth and White House Down. The company was able to soften the blow of After Earth's disastrous $60 million in North America with a respectable $181 million overseas, a figure close to Tom Cruise's Oblivion ($197 million). White House Down hasn't been able to find a comparable audience, languishing with $45.5 million from a limited overseas exposure and $116.5 million global total. The Smurfs 2 will have team up with the upcoming Elysium to turn around Sony's summer. The original Smurfs film was a global hit through a $420.4 million overseas run and $563 million worldwide total.

As with any animated release, Latin America should indicate just how much global audiences are looking forward to the Smurfs sequel. Brazil was a key market for the original film, earning a $32.9 million cume after opening to $6.9 million. Mexico contributed $20.6 million to the original after a $5.7 million opening weekend. Those are high numbers to match but it shouldn't be an impossible feat in a global market where Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University have already had ample time to shine. The easy counter-argument to make is Turbo, which has been swept by the one-two punch of Monsters and Minions. The Smurfs 2 can't be considered in the same light, however, if we take into account the global recognition of the franchise across generations. The Smurfs doesn't need to create the audience that Turbo needed to succeed; The Smurfs created that audience decades ago and confirmed the brand's viability with the original feature film release.

A $500 million overseas tally is a possibility for The Smurfs 2, particularly if the franchise can succeed in China again. A crowded animated slate, however, could damper those expectations. No animated film has hit the half-billion overseas mark this year, and the strong runs of The Croods, Despicable Me 2, and Monsters University raise doubts that global audiences are clamoring for another family-oriented picture. A more realistic expectation for The Smurfs 2 involves a strong overseas debut this weekend and a steady hold through the remainder of the summer, even if it can't reach the same heights as the original. The Smurfs 2 will need to rely on strong word of mouth if it wants to surpass, or even match, the $420 million overseas gross of its predecessor.

Follow Daniel Loria and BoxOffice on Twitter for more news on the global box office.

New Trailer: 'Lone Survivor' on August 01, 2013

ANALYSIS: The Global Potential of James Cameron's Three 'Avatar' Sequels on August 01, 2013

By Shawn Robbins

avatar.png20th Century Fox announced today that James Cameron is expanding his plans for two Avatar sequels into three. The current plan is to release Avatar 2 in December 2016, Avatar 3 in December 2017, and Avatar 4 in December 2018.

The announcement of an additional sequel now being in the pipeline is champagne-worthy news for Fox. The original Avatar grossed nearly $761 million domestically and an astounding $2.78 billion around the globe over three years ago. With the continued market expansion since from countries like China and Russia, among others, the overseas potential for the first sequel is massive. So long as Cameron keeps to his reputation of delivering crowd-pleasers, that story probably won't change for additional franchise installments in the years after 2016.

Originally planned for 2014/2015, the delay of Avatar 2 comes as no surprise as pre-production has slowly (but surely) ramped up. Cameron has been working on the sequel scripts for some time now, and he's certainly the kind of filmmaker who takes the "it'll release when it's ready" approach. That's one reason he's such a reliable filmmaker at the box office.

If there are any negative sides to the news, they are mere cautionary tales. Taking one film at a time is the wisest approach for any series. Even then, following in the footsteps of an uber-blockbuster is no cakewalk--look at the Jurassic Park sequels for proof of just one franchise that peaked early on. Will audiences be willing to turn out in droves for as many as three more sequels?

Moreover, with 3D firmly established in the world of movies now, will the format prove to be as big of an attraction seven years after the first film blazed its trail? Domestically, that's very up in the air as audiences have begun favoring 2D presentations over the last few years.

That being said, if there's a shortlist of filmmakers who can overcome such challenges, Cameron is certainly on it and it's nearly impossible to bet against him. If history is any indication, he probably has one or two more technological innovations in store for his Avatar sequels (he's already confirmed the use of underwater motion capture scenes). Only time will tell. Either way, Fox has its global cash cow firmly planted for the next half-decade.

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