The official release from Universal:
UNIVERSAL CITY, CA -- Universal Pictures International (UPI) today announced that the studio has reached $1 billion at the international box office. This is the earliest the studio has reached that milestone in history, besting a previous record set on July 17, 2012 through the performance of such global hits as Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, American Reunion, Snow White and the Huntsman and Ted. 2013 marks the seventh year in a row that Universal has reached $1 billion internationally. In 2012, the studio enjoyed its highest grossing year at the international box office with $1.794 billion in total grosses.
Universal's early success in 2013 has been fueled by a winning slate of diverse films across multiple genres including Les Misérables ($238.9 million), Mama ($74.9 million), Identity Thief ($39.8 million) and Oblivion ($180.4 million). Fast & Furious 6 pushed the international grosses over $1 billion with its record breaking opening last weekend and terrific midweek performance. In just over a week, Fast & Furious 6 has grossed $259.4 million at the international box office.
There is still much to look forward to in 2013 with Fast & Furious 6 opening in six more international markets; the first micro-budget film under the studio's production partnership with Jason Blum, The Purge; Chris Meledandri and Illumination Entertainment's 3D-CG comedy adventure Despicable Me 2; the 3D supernatural action-adventure R.I.P.D., starring Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds; the third installment of director Edgar Wright's trilogy of comedies starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, The World's End; the new chapter of the action-comedy Kick-Ass 2 from director Jeff Wadlow; a romantic comedy from Working Title and writer/director Richard Curtis, About Time; the long-awaited next chapter to the film that ushered in a new era of comedy from writer, director and producer Malcolm D. Lee, The Best Man Holiday and the epic 3D feature starring Keanu Reeves in his explosive return to the action-adventure genre, 47 Ronin.
Star Trek: Into Asia.
Paramount's overseas release strategy for Star Trek Into Darkness is a long-range bet, spanning out throughout the summer on a weekend-by-weekend basis in each territory. The strategy has proved successful so far; Paramount's approach to the global market takes into consideration the nuances of each territory in an attempt to get the most out of the film by working around the summer's packed release schedule.
Star Trek Into Darkness avoided the day-and-date juggernaut release of Fast & Furious 6 last weekend with no new openings. This week brings three more territories into the fray: Poland, China, and South Korea. The Chinese premiere could potentially bring a welcome boost for the sci-fi sequel. Chinese audiences have responded to Tom Cruise's Oblivion with a $22.29 million gross after 17 days in release. Oblivion never had it easy in China, uncomfortably sandwiched between the blockbuster premiere of Iron Man 3 and the rescheduled opening of Django Unchained. While Oblivion's take in China does not match the $50 million-plus performances from The Croods or G.I. Joe: Retaliation, it does present the potential for a high-budget sci-fi film to succeed against difficult odds.
It's ironic that Star Trek Into Darkness will avoid release traffic in China to instead find it in South Korea this weekend. South Korea has two of the summer's biggest sci-fi spectacles going up head-to-head against each other with the release of After Earth. Sony will be rolling out After Earth overseas throughout June but has selected South Korea as the only market to go day-and-date with North America. It's a costly decision for both Paramount and Sony, as they look to split their take in the world's seventh largest film market outside of North America.
Gatsby Expands to Mexico and Australia.
No Fast & Furious leaves the Australian market for the taking this weekend, and Warner Brothers is ready to take it with the release of The Great Gatsby. Gatsby's closest competitor will be The Hangover Part III, coming off a huge $9 million weekend in Australia. Word of mouth might prevail in the battle, considering the weak reception that has hit the last two Hangover films.
The Great Gatsby will have to rely on Leonardo Di Caprio's star-power in Mexico to turn an unfamiliar property into a hit for the local audience. Gatsby also benefits from enough breathing room in the Mexican market to be able to make a splash. Mexican audiences have shown their loyalty for hold-overs, however, sticking by more action-adventure and family-oriented fare after their opening weekends. Gatsby will likely come out on top in Australia, but might come up short in Mexico with the continued success of Fast & Furious 6 and Epic, not to mention the premiere of Now You See Me.
Hangover Goes Wide.
The Hangover Part III will see its first major expansion, opening in key markets like Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. North American numbers have been disappointing for the comedy, but a solid $19.2 million performance from three overseas markets last weekend raise the possibility that the overseas market can mitigate the film's domestic shortcomings. That $19.2 million came from English-speaking territories, however, and its success in other overseas markets is anything but guaranteed. Expect the film to take the top spot in Brazil, where a strong marketing campaign and few comedy options can see it dethrone Fast & Furious 6 for first place. The Hangover Part III will compete against the opening of Epic in France and Italy, but shouldn't be affected directly by the animated film.
The Purge Premieres in the U.K.
The Purge will open in the U.K. this weekend, a week ahead of its North American release. The early release date can give The Purge a push in the United Kingdom, going up against a Fast & Furious 6 that fell 60% in its second week and a Hangover 3 that can suffer a bigger slide through negative word of mouth. Star Trek Into Darkness, The Great Gatsby, and Iron Man 3 all fell to mid-table positions last weekend, giving The Purge the space it needs to open big in its first market.
Fast & Furious 6 scored a big opening week in Italy, grossing $9.4 million to lead the box office chart. Domestic film La Grande Bellezza landed in second place, coming to a $2.9 million total in its first week. The Great Gatsby had a good hold in its second week, taking in $2 million over the weekend to reach a $6.8 million cume. Epic had a relatively soft opening weekend, only taking in $1.5 million from 634 screens.
Box Office Results for Italy. May 24-26, 2013
It was always going to be a slow weekend at the German box office as soon as it was revealed that Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, two of Germany's biggest soccer rivals, were to face-off against each other in the Champions League final last Saturday evening. Perhaps that's why Fast & Furious 6 benefitted from a mid-week opening, taking in $8.6 million over the weekend to see its German cume go to $12.9 million in its first week. Films that played well served as good counter-programming against the pre-occupied sport fans, with The Great Gatsby falling only 27% for second place and reaching an $8.2 million cume. Epic saw a 15% boost in attendance and saw its cume raise to $5.7 million. Star Trek Into Darkness placed fourth with a $1.8 million weekend, breaking the $15 million mark with a $16.1 million total.
Box Office Results for Germany. May 24-26, 2013.
Fast & Furious 6 didn't leave any doubt at the French box office, opening with a big $11.3 million weekend -miles ahead of the other films in the market. The latest Fast & Furious sequel played in 624 screens for a $18,192 average, an important number compared to the 629 screens from Epic's opening weekend. Epic had a $3.4 million debut and $5,471 average. The Great Gatsby made strides towards a $10 million French cume, falling just short of the mark over the weekend after taking in $2.4 million in a market-leading 660 screens. Expect Gatsby to see a steep drop next weekend after a likely decrease in its screen count. Nicolas Winding Refn's latest film was booed at its Cannes premiere, but French audiences were more forgiving with Only God Forgives. The Ryan Gosling vehicle grossed $1.7 million in fourth place, a great number for a specialty feature in a packed summer market. Iron Man 3 saw its weekend gross dip below $1 million for the first time during its fifth week. The superhero movie has grossed $37.9 million and will hope to have enough left in the tank to come out of France with a $40 million cume.
Box Office Results for France. May 24-26, 2013.