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Speaking of: : At the movies

August 18, 1992

With the summer months representing the hottest time of year for U.S. movie makers, World Report takes a look abroad to examine where U.S. films attract their largest audiences.

Although down slightly from 1990's record box-office receipts, U.S. films brought out large numbers of fans who paid more than $2 billion to see their favorite stars in action.

Japanese moviegoers lined up to buy $276.2 million worth of tickets, the largest foreign market for the sixth consecutive year. While European fans provide significant revenues, the Pacific Rim (including Asian and North American markets) remains the most lucrative region for U.S. film distribution.


Selected major markets* in U.S. dollars, reported Aug. 10, 1992

Most Recent Average Number Movie Week Reported Total to Date Of Weeks Showing** Universal Soldier 5,945,707 6,499,486 2 Batman Returns 4,413,298 37,490,852 4 Basic Instinct 3,188,919 96,005,573 12 Beethoven 3,097,210 15,878,045 6 Far and Away 2,709,664 7,727,025 4 Wayne's World 2,075,266 29,973,873 4 Lawnmower Man 1,300,223 3,064,897 3 The Hand That Rocks the Cradle 1,181,873 7,385,281 4 The Player 645,916 6,353,310 7 My Cousin Vinny 556,221 3,708,099 3

* Markets include: Australia, Brussels, Copenhagen, France, Germany, Helsinki, Holland, Madrid, Oslo, Stockholm, Tokyo, United Kingdom, Zurich

** Some films have been playing in one market for months but in other markets only a few weeks

SELECTED OVERSEAS MARKETS FOR U.S. THEATRICAL FILM RENTALS IN 1991 (in millions in U.S. dollars) Mexico: 33.0

Taiwan: 42.5

Brazil: 52.1

S. Korea: 63.9

Australia: 84.8

Spain: 140.5

Italy: 145.0

France: 185.1

Germany: 211.1

U.K.: 232.6

Japan: 276.2

Note: These figures do not include fees from post-theatrical markets such as videocassettes, pay-TV, cable or broadcast TV.

The theatrical market effectively establishes commercial value in post-theatrical licensing, even though that market represents a small share (25%-30%) of revenues from feature films in all media.

Some large markets, such as Canada, are not listed individually because of incomplete data, but sales are included in the total overseas sales value.


Sometimes overseas viewers like American movies more than American audiences do. For example, the controversial Oliver Stone film "JFK" brought in $75 million in domestic ticket sales while overseas sales topped $135 million.

Overseas sales: $135 million Domestic sales: $75 million

Sources: American Film Marketing Assn . , Motion Picture Export Association of America, Daily Variety, Weekly Variety , Warner Brothers

Compiled by Kevin H. Fox, Times Researcher

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