Just as her starring turn in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider sees Angelina Jolie swinging to the top of most international territories, another film featuring the Oscar winning actress starts its roll-out in Germany and France. Original Sin, co-starring Antonio Banderas, took sixth position in Germany, with a three-day take $315,821 (DM 725,126) from 204 screens, and seventh in France, showing seven-day admissions of 103,524 (equivalent to $621,144) from 219 screens.
The film is directed by Michael Cristofer who previously guided Jolie to wide recognition and a Golden Globe award, for Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV, in 1998's Gia. Original Sin seems to have been scheduled in these territories to take advantage of Jolie's current box office status on the back of Tomb Raider. Unusually for a US production these territories have even seen it before its domestic release on August 3.
Elsewhere, and despite the hype surrounding Lara Croft, Shrek and the rest of the new summer releases, Buena Vista International's (BVI) summer hopes have been lifted by the performance of World War II epic Pearl Harbor. Even a slew of mediocre reviews in many markets hasn't prevented the film from amassing an international gross of $150.1m so far. The film, which features Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale, received a boost this week from a strong Japanese opening, contrary to many expectations that the film could make uncomfortable viewing given the nature of the story.
Not only could the subject matter be an obstacle but Japanese-US relations are currently strained after nine people were killed when a Japanese fishing boat was accidental sunk by a US submarine off Hawaii, home of Pearl Harbor, in February. Having already opened the film in most major territories, the Japanese release of the film appears to have been held back to enable BVI to carefully build a strategy to sell the film in this difficult climate. The territory is considered the most important after the US, usually accounting for between 20% and 30% of a film's international gross. BVI's removal of some material from the film to play down the Japanese presence and emphasis on the romantic aspect of the storyline seems to have paid off becoming the distributor's biggest hit in the territory.
Opening last Saturday (July 14) on 425 screens, the film took a two-day gross of $7.1m (¥885.2m) from 485,300 admissions and knocked two week leader A.I. Artificial Intelligence off the top spot. The gross figures were higher than those for any previous collaborations between director Michael Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer: Bad Boys, The Rock and Armageddon. However Armageddon remains the duo's biggest Japanese success in terms of admissions taking 569,900 admissions in 1998, an opening gross of $7.09m (¥880m). The asteroid disaster movie had four screenings per day while Pearl Harbor has only three.
Meanwhile The Mummy Returns, despite rapidly dropping down most international charts, has become the first film of 2001 to cross $200m internationally, $203.6m to be exact. The worldwide gross for the blockbuster sequel currently stands at $403.8m.
Shrek, another $200m earner domestically, saw yet more strong openings and continued healthy returns over the weekend. The computer-animated film, which has yet to cross $100m internationally, continued its fairy-tale roll-out taking the top spots in Spain and Poland last weekend and reclaimed the top spot from Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in the UK. The film managed a resounding $1.3m in Spain from 288 screens for a strong screen average of $4,605. Poland saw three-day receipts of $295,594 from 52 screens, an impressive $5,685 average. After three weeks in the UK Shrek has amounted a massive $19.9m and the film also continues to build its takings in France, Australia, Brazil, Mexico and Germany where it holds number one chart positions.