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'Django Unchained' is a surprise hit overseas

January 21, 2013|By Ben Fritz
  • "Django Unchained," with its slavery-focused story, was not expected to do well in foreign markets.
"Django Unchained," with its slavery-focused story, was not… (Andrew Cooper / Weinstein…)

Even though Quentin Tarantinto's "Django Unchained" has many similarities to his last film, "Inglourious Basterds," the biggest differences were expected to be evident overseas.

Though both are historical revenge fantasies, the new one -- rooted in African American history -- seemed less likely to be popular outside of the U.S. than one set in Europe during World War II.

As a result, backers Weinstein Co. and Sony Pictures had "Django" to have a more even take between theĀ  domestic and international box offices than for 2009's "Basterds," which collected $121 million in the U.S. and Canada and $201 million overseas.

But with a big European launch for "Django," expectations are falling by the wayside.

Over the weekend, "Django" took in $48.1 million from 54 foreign markets, most of which are in Europe. That's 30% higher than the opening for "Inglourious Basterds" in the same countries.

In Germany, the new movie starring Jamie Foxx opened to $9.6 million, more than double what "Basterds" drew. Other top markets included France, Russia and Britain.

German costar Christoph Waltz's presence in both Tarantino epics, as well as his "Django" Golden Globe win for supporting actor, likely helped the movie's European grosses.

With $139.4 million already in the U.S. and Canada, "Django" is close to $200 million worldwide and could easily top $300 million.

Sony, which handles international distribution, will continue to roll out the movie in countries where it has yet to launch -- most of which are in Asia -- through April.

Weinstein Co. and Sony, which shared the approximately $100-million production cost, are evenly splitting worldwide revenue from "Django."


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