The US majors' aggregate international box office revenuedeclined 6% in 2005 to $7.93bn. The international drop was slightly bigger thanthe 4% fall-off in the majors' domestic take -- but it came after a 2004 thatsaw the studios' international theatrical revenues reach an all-time high of$8.5bn.
Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, president of internationaldistribution at Warner Bros, suggests the 2005 total reflects the pulling powerof the year's biggest films - only three of which passed $300minternationally, compared to seven in 2004 -- rather than any structuralproblems in the marketplace itself.
"At the end of the day it wasn't quite the doom and gloomthat everybody predicted," Kwan-Rubinek says. "The films of 2005 simply did nothave the same strength overall internationally as the films of 2004." Lookingforward, she added, "as long as the product is there the international marketwill continue to be robust."
Warner Bros once again produced the biggest individualinternational total for the year -- $1.89bn (including $65m in gross receiptsgenerated by Village Roadshow territories). That was 14% down on the studio'srecord-breaking 2004 take ($2.19bn) but it still ranked as Warner's second bestinternational take ever and, the studio estimated, the third highest internationalgross of all time by a single studio.
Warner's biggest earners were Harry Potter and the Gobletof Fire, the year's top internationalperformer overall with a gross of $531m; Charlie and the ChocolateFactory with $266m; and BatmanBegins with $166m (the highestinternational gross for the franchise).
Fox International came in second, with a reported gross of$1.6bn, up 31% on 2004. Fox's leading earner was Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith, which grossed$468.2m outside North America (though on a worldwide basis it topped Gobletof Fire). The studio's Fantastic Four grossed $169.2m (including a few non-Fox territories) and Mr & Mrs Smith took $164.3m (again including non-Fox territories).
Buena Vista International (BVI) ranked third, with a totalof $1.33bn. The 2005 total was 22% down on the previous year but still gave thestudio its third best year ever internationally. BVI's top performers were TheChronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which grossed $200.2m in 2005 (and has reached$250.4m to date); National Treasure,which made $109m in 2005 (pushing its total to $173m); and TheIncredibles, which made $108m during theyear (for a $371m total).
UIP recorded its best ever annual tally - $2.26bn, up8% on 2004. Pictures from the distributor's most successful supplier,DreamWorks, grossed $913m (rising to $996.9 when non-UIP territories are addedin); Universal's slate added another $763m (rising to $785m when non-UIPterritories are added); and Paramount's a further $529m. Acquisitions put$55.4m more in the UIP account.
Sony Pictures Releasing International reported aninternational total of $826m, 32% down on 2004. (Sony said, however, that thetotal would be $909m if films from MGM, which was bought by a Sony-ledconsortium in April, were included.)