Universal may have the last laugh after all now that its Battleship is opening ￼overseas. For months the studio has fought media bad buzz about how risky this expensive military vs alien actioner from Peter Berg has been.Especially when the studio is claiming it came in at $209 million — and everyone else is saying $250+M. And there’s still the possibility that, in the United States at least, it could become a disappointing ”John Carter in gunmetal grey” invoking that most recent $250+M budget buster that disappointed at the box office for a $250M writeoff for Disney. But Battleship debuted Wednesday in Australia, Korea, Belgium, France, and Switzerland, and previewed in 11 other territories, “and we are off to a very good start,” a Universal exec tells me.
The Day One estimate for April 11th currently has the film grossing $7.4M. Best is that the film jumped to #1 in every market where it opened or previewed except France where it succumbed to an extremely popular local French film. And this despite a crowded international marketplace with The Hunger Games, Titanic 3D, American Pie Reunion, and The Wrath Of The Titans atop box office over Easter weekend.
It was an unorthodox, even daring, strategy for Universal to open Battleship internationally more than a month before it debuts May 18th in North America. But it may pay off. My sources project the film should steam past $300M foreign box office based on stats. Also, as the film prepares to open internationally Friday in a total 26 territories (40 countries) and then rolls to another 24 territories including big guns Russia and China, any fears that a rah-rah-USA patriotic film in 2D might not do well overseas have been allayed.
– The movie opened in Australia today and Battleship is #1 with an early estimate of $1.1M for the day, which is at the same level as Iron Man and Thor and twice as big as John Carter, and three times as big as Wrath Of The Titans
– In Southeast Asia, where extravagant sci-fi appeals to local audiences, Battleship is “dominating the box office with Korea leading the pack,” I’m told. Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand also had a very strong showing. In each of those countries, Batttleship opened to #1.
– In Korea, Battleship opened to $2.8M – the third biggest opening day of all time for an English language film. That’s behind only Transformers 3 and Shrek 3 even though Battleship is an original film which usually takes longer to gain traction overseas than sequels. It’s also the biggest opening for an English language non-sequel in Korea ever.
– Preview results in the UK were very strong. Battleship grossed $1.5M (£928K) for the day. As a comp, previews for Thor in the UK were £730K and Iron Man £670K. There’s another day of previews today before opening officially on Friday.
– France opened with $870K including previews. Battleship opened bigger than Hunger Games, John Carter and Wrath Of Titans.
– Belgium opened #1 with $132k, which is the biggest opening day of 2012