47 Ronin hasn't been the global hit that Universal was expecting. The action flick starring Keanu Reeves has struggled in North America with $32.6 million. Overseas numbers aren't promising either, as 47 Ronin has thus far generated a total of $51.3 million across 34 territories.
Russia, however, welcomed the film with a strong $13.1 million opening across 886 dates in its first five days in release. The big debut coincided with Russia's national holidays, which run through January 8.
By Daniel Loria
Russia had two domestic films breakthrough in 2013, a
pivotal year in which it further solidified itself as one of the hottest
overseas markets in the industry. Stalingrad, a World-War II historical epic distributed in IMAX and 3D, became the
highest-grossing domestic film of all time in Russia. The film benefited from a
3D boom in the country, with growing demand for the format driving
international investment to add more screens with the latest technology. The country's second home-grown hit, Legend No. 17, a
Soviet-set hockey biopic about hockey legend Valeri Kharlamov, also posted an
impressive run domestically. The sports flick skated to a successful
$29.1 million gross after an April premiere.
October was a big month for 3D with the releases of Gravity and Stalingrad only a week apart. Gravity opened in first place with a $7.5 million bow on October 3. The momentum for Alfonso Cuarón's sci-fi film was stalled a week later with Stalingrad's whopping $16.2 million premiere - pitting two 3D sci-fi epics against each other for the rest of the month. Russian audiences favored the domestic film and the historical drama went on a record-breaking hot streak that reignited the blockbuster potential of Russian cinema. Stalingrad has grossed a total of $51.8 million, well ahead of Iron Man 3's $44.1 million blockbuster run. Gravity was able to hold its own with a $21.2 million take, passing Pacific Rim's $20.6 million to become the year's biggest sci-fi release in Russia.
The Russian box office proved to be eclectic in 2013, showcasing a number of hits across several different genres. Animated fare like Despicable Me 2 ($35.1M), The Croods ($28M), and Monsters University ($20.6M) all thrived in the market.
Thor: The Dark World ($35.8M), Fast & Furious 6 ($34.1M), World War Z ($24.7M), and The Wolverine ($22.2M) were the year's stand-outs among action films. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire crossed over as a four quadrant film and was able to gross $23.7 million heading into the final weekend of the year.
Hollywood comedies tend to struggle in non-English speaking markets, but Russia proved to be an exception in 2013 with hits like The Hangover Part III ($17.3M) and We're the Millers ($18M).
Sci-fi also proved popular beyond the aforementioned hits Gravity and Pacific Rim; Oblivion ($19.1M), Elysium ($15.8M), and After Earth ($17M) all enjoyed a bountiful haul from the market.
Frozen took $2 million from previews in Russia last weekend, enough to put it in second place for the weekend. That $2 million is included in this weekend's $11.1 million official debut for Disney's latest, marking a strong start in Russia as 2013 comes to a close. The big debut for Frozen is Disney's highest premiere for an animated feature in the market: 21% ahead of Monsters University, 82% ahead of Wreck-it Ralph, 69% ahead of Brave, and 8% ahead of Tangled.
Russian comedy Odnoklassiniki.Ru (Classmates.Ru) came in a distant second place with a $1.7 million bow. The film played in 970 screens for an $1,818 average. Comedy-slash-fantasy-from-a-beer-commercial Ostrov Vezenija, a film about a man stuck in a deserted island with three attractive women, fell from first to third in its second weekend. The Russian comedy took $1.1 million from its first hold to take its domestic cume to $4.2 million.
Captain Phillips didn't find a friendly home in Russia. The thriller has only grossed $3.2 million in the country after two weekends and looks set to sink in the coming weeks after grossing less than $1 million in its second frame.
12 Years a Slave found a positive traction in its limited release debut. The historical drama from director Steve McQueen opened in 390 screens for a $736k total. The critically acclaimed film outgrossed The Hunger Games: Catching Fire over the weekend, with the young adult sequel winding down its run in Russia with $23.3 million in the bank.
Top Ten Films in Russia: