MUMBAI: Led by the worldwide success of 300 and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix earlier this year, and the more recently launched Fred Claus and Beowulf, Warner Bros. Pictures International (WBPI) is expected to surpass the $2 billion threshold in overseas box office as of 2 December. The Division hits this mark as it wraps up a fourth quarter that features the highly anticipated sci-fi thriller I Am Legend starring Will Smith.
The division has achieved its second highest gross ever, behind WBPI’s record-setting $2.2 billion in 2004, which remains the industry’s all-time highest gross. The 2007 take is 78% ahead of the same period in 2006, which includes $62 million generated by Village Roadshow Pictures territories.
WBPI enjoyed a strong start to the year with the continued overseas success of the 2006 Academy Award-winner The Departed, which grossed a total $159 million worldwide, and more than $36 million in 2007, marking director Martin Scorsese’s highest grossing film internationally; Oscar-winning Happy Feet, also released in 2006 with a $187 million worldwide gross, brought in $74 million in 2007, as well as Blood Diamond which took in a total of $114 million. The worldwide box office performance of three films stood out in 2007 — 300, which took in $246 million internationally; Ocean’s Thirteen with $194 million and exceeding the domestic gross by more than 65 percentage and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, bringing in a record-breaking $645 million and doubling the domestic returns.
Also contributing to the $2 billion tally were titles including Music & Lyrics, David Fincher’s Zodiac and No Reservations, in addition to local language productions/acquisitions such as El Orfanato in Spain and Italy’s Ho Volgia Di Te.
Warner Bros. Pictures International (WBPI), President, International Distribution, and President, International Marketing, Veronika Kwan-Rubinek and Sue Kroll respectively stated, “We are so proud of this achievement. 2007 has been a remarkable year for our division as we were given the opportunity to offer such a wide variety of extraordinary Warner Bros. Pictures to audiences around the world, with great reception. We also see this as an acknowledgment of the strategic positioning of our films, as well as tremendous teamwork and cooperation from everyone involved in our organization. Reaching $2 billion dollar mark for the second time in three years is an accomplishment that distinguishes our division in the marketplace.”
Warner Bros. has been the top-grossing distributor international four out of the last six years (2001, 2002, 2004, and 2005) and has crossed the $1 billion box office mark for seven consecutive years (2001-2007). In 2004, Warner Bros. Pictures International crossed the $1 billion threshold in less than six months and went on to become the first studio ever to surpass the $2 billion dollar mark in a calendar year, with an estimated $2.2 billion box office total.