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Worldwide Indie Box Office: Woody Allen’s on His Way to $100 Million and Werner Herzog is Huge

Worldwide Indie Box Office: Woody Allen's on His Way to $100 Million and Werner Herzog is Huge

Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Woody Allen and “The Guard” are all enjoying successful runs outside the U.S.. That’s good news for the films yet to open Stateside (“The Guard,” Wenders’ “Pina”) and a nice bonus for the success stories that are Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” and Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams.”

Please note that the numbers consider all reporting countries as of July 10 (many countries are a bit slow in publicizing their numbers), and are from Box Office Mojo. All figures are in US $.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Initial Foreign Release Date: March 25, 2011 (UK)
Total Foreign Gross: $959,905
Total Markets in Release: 1
Best Performing Market: UK ($959,905)

Werner Herzog’s 3-D doc “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” has yet to make much of a debut in Europe, where it is widely expected to excel. So far, it has opened in the U.K. and did just that.

Since debuting in late March, the film — released through Picturehouse Cinemas — has managed an exceptional $959,905 with a release that never went beyond 36 screens. That more than doubled the final UK gross of Herzog’s “Grizzly Man” ($409,755). As noted in this story on the film’s considerable success in the U.S., producer Erik Nelson said the rest of the film’s European rollout should be smooth sailing.

“The only market that I was honestly very nervous about was the United States,” Nelson said. “An indie film by a German director about a French cave filled with French people. Don’t you think that’s kind of a broad stretch?”

It opens in France at the end of August and in Germany in November.

Also notable is that “Dreams” is doing very well north of the U.S. border. Released in Canada through KinoSmith, the film broke records at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox last weekend. Canadian numbers are problematically either reported within a film’s U.S. grosses, or barely reported at all if the U.S. distributor is different than the Canadian one (which is the case with “Dreams,” and recently also the case with Canuck films “Incendies” and “Barney’s Version”).

But “Dreams” has been as a Canadian success story so far, taking in $25,000 during its exclusive debut in Toronto. The film was not only the highest per-screen grossing film this weekend in Canada, but it also broke the record as the highest-grossing opening weekend to date at the TIFF Bell Lightbox and is also the highest-grossing per-screen opening of a Herzog film in Canada.

Initial Foreign Release Date: February 24 (Germany)
Total Foreign Gross: $8,278,401
Total Markets Reporting: 7
Best Performing Market: Germany ($5,826,579 as of July 10)

Like “Dreams,” Wim Wenders’ “Pina” marks a rather rare breed of film: a 3-D indie documentary (both made by eccentric German filmmakers, to boot). And like “Dreams,” it is being released in Stateside via Sundance Selects.

But while the U.S. release won’t happen until the fall, the film is already proving quite successful in Europe, where it has opened in seven markets so far. “Pina,” which presents some of the most noted dance pieces by Pina Bausch in the Tanztheater (“dance theater”) style, has grossed $8,278,401, over half of which has come from Wenders’ native Germany. The UK has also been a success story: Without screening on more than 26 screens, the film has grossed $1,020,872, an even more impressive gross than “Dreams.”

The Guard
Initial Foreign Release Date: July 8 (UK: Ireland only)
Total Foreign Gross: $761,079
Total Markets in Release: 1
Best Performing Market: UK ($761,079 as of July 10)

A few weeks ahead of its U.S. release, John Michael McDonagh’s Irish dark comedy “The Guard” made its way to the Ireland this past weekend. On 71 screens, the film grossed an impressive $761,079, averaging $10,719 and finding itself in the overall UK & Ireland top 5 alongside the likes of “Transformers 3” and “Kung Fu Panda 2” (both of which were playing on over five times the screens). The Brendan Gleeson-Don Cheadle starrer actually outgrossed the first weekend of “The Tree of Life” in the UK as well. That film opened on a similar 75 screens and managed a good-but-not-quite-as-good-as-“The Guard” $652,162.

Sony Pictures Classics is releasing the film in the U.S. on July 29th.

Midnight In Paris
Initial Foreign Release Date: May 11 (France)
Total Foreign Gross: $33,500,000
Total Markets in Release: 7
Best Performing Market: France ($14,501,463 as of June 26, 2011)

An American filmmaker generally embraced far more enthusiastically overseas is Woody Allen (especially when his films are set there). Last year, his London-based “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger” grossed $31,027,741 overseas, making up over 90% of its worldwide gross. In 2008, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” managed $73,192,591 overseas, helping to make it Allen’s best worldwide performer ever. In North America, Allen’s latest is already a bonafide hit, grossing $39,578,363 in eight weeks for distributor Sony Pictures Classics and should become Allen’s highest grossing film ever in America by this weekend.

Internationally, from just seven markets (France, Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, Norway, Uruguay and Spain), “Paris” has already totaled $33,500,000. It even reached #1 in Spain in its first frame. Numbers from Italy (the second-best market worldwide for “Stranger”), Germany, the UK (where “Stranger” only opened this past March, despite being set there) and others are all still to come as “Paris” takes aim at “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”‘s record $96 million worldwide gross. It’s already at $73 million, so Allen’s first $100 million hit is all but assured in “Paris.”

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