For the first timethis year the international and North American tables aligned to produce asingle champion: The Interpreter.
This feat islikely to be the first in a string of such occurrences as the approachingsummer season brings with it a plethora of day-and-date global releasesstarting with Sony's xXx2: State Of The Union (retitled xXx2: The Next Level insome key international territories) next weekend.
Releasedinternationally (except in Italy) by UIP The Interpreter moved into thelead on the international table in its third week, doubling the number ofterritories to have received it from 17 to 34 last weekend.
A strong holdover(slipping just 24% week-on-week) maintaining pole position in the UK and anumber one debut in Germany ($2m) led the weekend, while Australia's holdover(down just 21% from its opening week) saw the film leap-frog The Pacifierto take the lead it was denied on launch.
The unshakeable Bricede Nice continued its dominance in France and retained fifth place on theinternational chart. It has grossed $21.1m in three weeks from France, Belgiumand Switzerland.
The highestnon-Hollywood opening came from yet another powerhouse Russian title (seeseparate story) called The State Councillor.
This was followedin 15th place by another Frenchrelease, thriller Empire Of The Wolves (L'Empire Des Loups). ChrisNahon's film opened through Gaumont Sony Pictures Releasing International inFrance in second place selling 429,165 tickets at 600 screens in its first fullweek (approximately $3.1m).
The film wouldhope to follow in the footsteps of The Crimson Rivers (Les RivieresPourpres) and its sequel but the first week fell well short of those films.The Crimson Rivers managed 972,609 admissions during its first week at548 screens in 2000 in France. The sequel sold 908,719 tickets at 650 lastyear.
Both of thosefilms (all three including Empire star Jean Reno) played stronglyinternationally. The original grossed $8.5m in Italy, $4.3m in Germany, $1.7min Spain and $2.3m in Mexico amongst its highlights. It grossed $23.3m inFrance. The sequel managed $15m in France with solid performances again inItaly ($5.1m), Germany ($3.5m) and Mexico ($2.3m).
A significantlyweaker performance in France may hurt Empire's broader internationalchances. Nahon's Kiss Of The Dragon played better in English-languageterritories, the US ($36.8m), UK ($2.2m) and Australia ($1.8m) than the CrimsonRivers films (the second of which has yet to be released in theseterritories). However, a $7.9m gross in France was followed by notably weakerperformances elsewhere: Italy $0.2m/Germany $2.1m/Mexico $0.9m/Spain $1.4m.
Still Jean Reno isone of the best recognised French actors outside France which could help. Afterhis breakout role as the title character in Luc Besson's 1994 thriller Leon(titled The Professional in North America where it grossed $19.5m) hewas quickly seconded into Hollywood films such as 1995 romantic comedy FrenchKiss ($102m worldwide) and ensemble blockbusters Mission: Impossible($457m) and Godzilla ($379m).
He has alsoestablished himself as the go-to-guy for French or Belgian characters in USproduct. From John Frankenheimer's French-set Ronin and an uncreditedcameo in independent film Hotel Rwanda to upcoming comedy The PinkPanther and potential 2006 blockbuster The Da Vinci Code for RonHoward.
Forfull international box office chart, click here
The international table iscompiled each week by Leonard Klady for Screen International.