As expected, box office was soft this weekend with preliminary estimates placing THE 40-YEAR-OLD-VIRGIN just ahead of THE BROTHERS GRIMM, despite a strong Friday showing from GRIMM. What concerns me is in the wake of VIRGIN’s success, it seems every day brings news of a new comedy with Carell attached to star. I hope it’s mostly rumor and Carell is choosing wisely, not making a blind cash grab like Will Ferrell (who has had three films so far this year, with three more set for release and that’s not counting his WEDDING CRASHERS cameo.) My advice to Steve Carell is take GET SMART, which is perfect casting and pass on junk like that announced BRUCE ALMIGHTY sequel.

Do you think WEDDING CRASHERS will ever pass up CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY? In the first two weeks, CHARLIE was on top and amassed a $34million dollar lead, but since then, CRASHERS has been more successful, slowly narrowing the lead down to under $10 million. This weekend, CRASHERS gross was more than twice that of CHARLIE, but with both films losing momentum, is there enough time?

Taking a look beyond this weekend, a lot of domestic failures have found sweet success in the overseas market.

KINGDOM OF HEAVEN has collected $210 million worldwide, with over 77% of that coming from outside the U.S.

THE RING TWO showed up, disappointed and went home early this Spring, but combined with its overseas haul, the film has taken in over $160 million, more than justifying those RING 3 rumors.

Even THE ISLAND, this year’s loudest disaster, has already collected $85 million overseas and is currently dominating the market overall. Its worldwide take to date of $121 million nearly matches its reported budget.

Then there are the successful foreign films that hardly made a sound in the domestic market.

Are you surprised to know that the 10th highest grossing movie worldwide this year is HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE? Sure it only made $4.6 million here, but around the globe the film has earned $231.6 million.

KUNG FU HUSTLE was given a fairly large marketing push and took in over $17 million, but add that with the rest of the world and the film rings the cash register at just under $100 million.

DOWNFALL, the 2 1/2 hour German film about Hitler’s last days (which is now on DVD and I hear is excellent) made $5.5 million here, but took in $81.4 million overseas.

So hang in there CINDERELLA MAN (which has yet to open in overseas markets). There’s hope for you yet.


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