It comes as no surprise that it's the studio blockbusters that are dominating the international box office during the summer season with Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Shrek and Pearl Harbor fairly evenly carving up the international territories.
All three claimed number one spots in new countries at the weekend, looking to maximise their box office potential before imminent roll-outs of heavyweights Jurassic Park 3 and Planet Of The Apes. Lara Croft's latest conquests included the UK and Hungary while Shrek opened to a strong $2.7m (DM 6.2m) four-day weekend in Germany. Pearl Harbor, which has now opened in most major territories, exploded on Spanish shores with a strong $1.4m (PTS 280.1m) from 282 screens.
Pearl Harbor's Spanish effectively knocked the local product out of the water. Two new Spanish titles, testing the ground for locally-produced horror films, produced only mediocre results. Production company Dos Orillas' School Killer (shot in Spanish despite the English title) and the second effort from Filmax's Fantastic Factory genre division, Jack Sholder's Arachnid, were not able to compete against the blockbuster summer releases such as Harbor, Lara Croft and Bridget Jones's Diary. Nor have they lived up to last year's local box office genre sensation, The Art Of Dying (El Arte De Morir), 2000's fourth highest local grosser after Common Wealth, Ano Mariano and You're The One.
Killer opened at number 10 with a three-day gross of $142,336, holding that position in its second weekend with $132,180. Its total gross stands at $376,863 after 10-days. Arachnid fell from number 12 to number 14 when its three-day weekend gross slipped by nearly 50% from $90,648 to $44,860. Killer maintained a per-screen average in its second week of $1,130, while Arachnid's per-copy average dropped to just $431.
Not all countries are seeing their local products bow their heads, however. Sustained box office strength has kept the UK's Bridget Jones's Diary in the local top five for 13 weeks and Australia's Moulin Rouge in the Australian top five for seven weeks. However, both of these benefitted from international name stars such as Renee Zellweger and Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. France's local phenomenon Amelie, which stars Audrey Tautou as the eponymous character and is directed by Delicatessen's Jean-Pierre Jeunet, is also holding up well at the French box office, building a total gross of $37.8m. Amelie (pictured above) is also proving a winner in Switzerland where it remains in the top five after 11 weeks with a total gross of $1.6m.Additional reporting by Jennifer Green