Since it set sail in the UK on April 1, Working Title’s The Boat That Rocked has been navigating choppy waters in a handful of international markets.
With around two-thirds of its schedule release yet to play out, the Universal Pictures International (UPI) release will need to improve its performance over the coming months.
The Boat That Rocked is Richard Curtis’ second directorial effort after 2003’s Love, Actually, which grossed more than $200m worldwide. Set in the 1960s, it follows a band of pirate radio DJs broadcasting from a ship called Radio Rock.
Released on 462 screens in the UK, The Boat That Rocked took $2.7m on its opening weekend, averaging $5,800 a screen - less than a quarter of the $11.3m Love, Actually took from a similarly sized release, and some way off the $19.3m opening of the Curtis-scripted Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason in November 2004.
The Boat That Rocked failed to generate the level of anticipation in home audiences that accompanied Curtis’ previous films, despite a bright, snappy and saturated marketing campaign. The film received mixed-to-negative reviews, nearly all of which highlighted an over-long running time. After grosses dropped around 45% on both its second and third weekends, the film’s total tally in the home market now stands at $7.1m, a fifth of what Love, Actually achieved in the same period.
Australia and New Zealand saw their Boat docking on April 9, and after two weekends it has taken $2.5m and $315,000 in the territories respectively. The following weekend saw the film take on seven markets including Germany, where audiences gave the film (retitled Radio Rock Revolution) a lukewarm welcome, generating just $812,000 from 497 screens, placing the film seventh (Love, Actually took $2.2m from 497 screens when it opened; the German market eventually accounted for 10% of the films’ total international gross). Sweden offered the best reception in the Nordic region, taking $74,000 from 60 screens.
The film has around 20 more markets yet to open, including France (through StudioCanal) on May 6. Blanket marketing will certainly play up the fact it is a Curtis film, as Love, Actually also proved popular with French audiences. Again, the film’s title has been tailored to the territory, with the distributor renaming it Good Morning England. Love, Actually opened in the territory with a mid-scale release, taking $1.9m, eventually hauling in $6.5m.
May 29 sees the film debut in Spain and Mexico (entitled Radio Encubierta and Piratas Del Rock, respectively). Further European territories follow through to July, including Italy on June 12, before it reaches Singapore, Argentina, Brazil and the US in August.
The UK and North America each accounted for roughly a third of Love, Actually’s worldwide gross of $201.8m. Even if the film repeats the North American success of Curtis’ previous titles, with lacklustre starts in several key territories it seems unlikely to score as big a hit as its predecessors.
|RICHARD CURTIS OPENINGS, BY FILM|
|THE BOAT THAT ROCKED|
|Source: Rentrak/Screen International|