Although the European box office has seen a host of high profile US product take top spots in several territories at the weekend, including the European launch of DreamWorks SKG's The Time Machine in The Netherlands, a raft of local productions, led by Spain's Talk To Her (Hable Con Ella) are fighting back.
In the US corner, the HG Wells adaptation starring Guy Pearce opened well in The Netherlands with a four-day weekend (March 14-17) of $258,180 and seven-day total of $307,168 on 80 screens. The Time Machine, distributed by Warner Bros, knocked The Lord Of The Rings, in week 13, from the top spot while recording a strong screen average of $3,227. The film is released in more European territories, including Germany and Iceland, this coming weekend.
Also opening well were BVI's Monsters, Inc. in Italy and UIP's Spy Game in Germany, both taking their respective pole positions. Monsters, Inc. claimed $1.2m in three days in Italy on 260 screens. This helped bring the computer-animated film's international total gross to over $180m and gives it a worldwide tally of $432.8m so far. The Pixar film opens in France this week.
Spy Game managed $1.7m on 649 screens in Germany, bringing its international gross to $68.6m and worldwide to $130.9m. However local title Knallharte Jungs, distributed by Constantin, scored a better screen average on its opening at the weekend in third position having grossed $1.4m from 444 screens for an average of $3,087.
Pedro Almodovar's latest release Talk To Her, his first release since the Oscar-winning All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre) in 1999, took the top spot in Spain over the weekend with an impressive $971,187. Playing on 276 screens the film scored a strong average of $3,518. However Talk To Her's average pales next to second-placed US title Return To Neverland, BVI's belated-sequel to Peter Pan, which managed $883,254 on 200 screens for an average of $4,416. Return To Neverland opens in the UK and Norway at the weekend.
Poland saw another new local release enter the top of its chart with Kariera Nikosia Dyzmy taking $370,302 from 65 screens. With an impressive screen average of $5,697 the film, distributed by Vision, is just one of two Polish titles in the top five with Chopin - Desire For Love at five in its third week. Chopin has grossed $784,376 to date.
Switzerland also saw a local opener take the lead position with Vega Film's Ernstfall In Havanna the first Swiss title to make the country's top five in a year with $292,603 from 31 screens in the German-speaking region. This easily beat fourth placed Spy Game which also opened in the German region on 43 screens to take $209,248.
The most impressive triumph of local productions over US competition is in France this week where seven of the top 15 are French titles, including last year's hit Amelie, which continues to play in its 47th week on release, and current box office champ Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra. After seven weeks Asterix, which also holds top five positions in Norway, Finland, Germany and Switzerland and opens in The Netherlands this weekend, has recorded 13.4 million admissions in France and holds the lead position ahead of three other local titles (Monsieur Batignole, Amen and 8 Femmes). Amelie has sold 8.5 million tickets to date.