M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, toplining Mark Wahlberg, exceeded expectations in its international debut, just as it did far better domestically ($30.5 million) than predicted. Shyamalan has had a strong track record at the international B.O., with his film grossing more than $800 million.
Hulk, won the June 13-15 frame domestically and both Happening and Hulk did solid opening biz across the Euro box office, although the ongoing European soccer tournament is proving a distraction to male auds. Yet even summer tentpoles Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Sex and the City are still reeling ’em in.
In the U.K., Hulk bit off a big piece of green as it stormed to the top of the charts with $6.3 million on 484 engagements. The superhero pic toplining Ed Norton also netted the best screen average of any pic in the top 10 — $13,019.
Shyamalan’s fourth-place Happening shrugged off poor reviews to make a decent $3.2 million for Fox. Screen average of $8,151 proved a pleasant surprise.
In Italy, Happening took the numero uno spot, Pic bowed at $1.7 million on 363, proving that Shyamalan’s Italo fan base remains loyal in spite of soccer.
The German box office grew by nearly 18% despite the soccer fever gripping the nation, due in part to cooler temperatures and rain throughout much of the country. Sex remained on top in its third session with $2.8 million on its way to a $17.9 million cume, followed by The Crystal Skull, which continued to do well in its fourth lap, grossing $2.1 million toward a $24.7 million total.
Placing No. 3, Fox’s Happening was the best performing new entry in Germany, taking in $1.7 million from 550, well ahead of Shyamalan’s last pic, 2006’s Lady in the Water, which managed $452,817 on its opening weekend and went on to cume just over $1 million.
In France, Happening had a strong first five days, with many critics being far kinder than they were in the U.S. or U.K. Its Wednesday-to-Sunday run earned Fox $4.7 million.
In Spain, where Hulk has yet to bow, Happening comfortably landed the top spot with $3.4 million at 384 for Fox. Pic, which bested exhibs’ expectations, benefited from a warm reception from local critics. Copy average of $8,695 was also a weekend best.