After a lacklustre domestic performance, just $32.3m in its first three weeks, sci-fi comedy Evolution has surprised many at the start of its international roll-out by scoring a $2.7m (£1.9m) opening weekend in the UK. Directed by Ivan Reitman, most famous for 1984 smash hit Ghostbusters, and starring David Duchovny, Orlando Jones and Julianne Moore, the film recorded an impressive site average of $6,166 off 437 sites and took the top position away from Pearl Harbor. This is the seventh biggest opening of the year so far and the biggest for distributor Columbia TriStar, ahead of Vertical Limit. Leading lady Moore also features in the territory's biggest opener of 2001 so far, Hannibal. Evolution continues its international openings with Hong Kong on June 28 and The Netherlands on July 5, before bowing in most other major territories in mid-July.
Also making its presence felt in the international arena is UIP's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. With an ad campaign built largely on the appeal of star Angelina Jolie and her character's pneumatic assets, the film has been expected to see strong openings. It seems to have delivered on that promise in Australia and Spain, where its international campaign began at the weekend.
In Australia, the action/adventure, which is based on the Eidos computer games, saw strong four-day returns of $2.6m (A$5.1m) from 330 screens, taking first position despite going up against UIP stable-mate Shrek, which managed $1.8m (A$3.55m) from 325 screens. The opening one-two was UIP's most successful weekend ever in Australia.
UIP also scored a double header in Spain where Tomb Raider claimed the top spot with $1.7m (PTS333.1m), off 318 screens, from UK sensation Bridget Jones's Diary, which held second place with $668,783. Tomb Raider opened in France yesterday (June 27), reaches German shores today and Norway tomorrow, where it will no doubt award UIP another double-top alongside local hit Elling. It opens in the UK on July 6.
Shrek also continued to add to UIP's ever increasing summer revenues, taking top chart positions over the weekend in Brazil ($861,667) and Hungary ($85,601), as well as Thailand, Slovenia and Croatia. It has already proved to be a strong summer for UIP, led by The Mummy Returns, which claimed another first place on its opening in Poland on Friday ($349,403 from 60 screens). The effects-laden adventure has taken $168.8m so far in the international market.
Still acting as the only real competition to UIP - until 20th Century Fox pushes out Tim Burton's Planet Of The Apes and Warner Bros widens Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence, which starts internationally in Japan on Saturday - is Buena Vista International's Pearl Harbor. The World War II epic has taken a $93.8m international gross so far and still leads in many territories including France and Germany. It also receives releases in The Netherlands and Denmark this weekend, which should see it cross the $100m mark internationally.