Star Trek Into Darkness had a limited international opening this weekend in seven markets and the first box office figures are very encouraging. The film brought in almost $32M, and more importantly it is outperforming the opening of the 2009 Star Trek movie in each country. More details on this first limited release weekend’s results and Paramount’s international marketing below.
‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ Opens with $31.7 Million in 7 overseas markets
Paramount’s strategy for the overseas’ market has seen Star Trek into Darkness earn $31.7 million from the seven countries in which it has so far been released. According to THR this return is 70% higher than its predecessor made in 2009, setting new opening weekend franchise records in each market.
$13.3 million came from the U.K.’s 556 locations and reflects a 50% increase over the box office achieved by Star Trek in 2009. In Germany, the film earned $7.6 million from 627 locations which reflects an 80% improvement over 2009. Australia took in $5.5 million from its 263 locations (over 50% more than 2009) and Mexico earned $3 million from its 573 locations.
Traditionally Star Trek films have performed well in the English-speaking markets and also fairly well in Germany, so the best news for Paramount in the above figures are those from Mexico, where the film saw a 300% increase from the 2009 film. Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore was particularly happy about the Mexico figures, telling THR "That’s what we were really for. Mexico is a great Barometer. The first movie certainly laid the groundwork for anyone who is a Star Trek fan. We want this film to cross over and create new fans."
JJ Abrams and cast at Star Trek Into Darkness Mexico City (May 7) – Film very strong in Mexico and 6 other territories
Paramount’s big International Push For Into Darkness
These figures are good news for Paramount, who are anxious to see the film do better than its predecessor where the foreign market is concerned. Star Trek totaled $127.9 million in total overseas’ receipts, compared with a domestic return of $257.7. To that end, the producers have designed an aggressive marketing strategy to ensure success.
Brook Barnes, writing for The New York Times reports Paramount increased its international marketing budget for the film by 35% over that for the 2009 film. Paramount president Brad Grey told the
NYT, "Between J. J. outdoing himself and our efforts to build up our global distribution system, I’m very, very confident that the franchise is finally going to live up to its potential.”
Strategies for creating interest in the film included inviting the foreign press to L.A. for a special press day; the Delta symbol was beamed over London to signal Earth Hour; and it was announced that the film would have a staggered rollout, being released in Australia, Germany, Britain and Mexico before the United States and Canada, and holding the movie back in other countries. Argentina, Venezuala and Japan will not get the film until August 22nd, for instance.
Playing up the villainous character of Benedict Cumberbatch was another deliberate plan. Speaking to THR, Paramount’s president of international distribution Anthony Marcoly said, "In many places, we did extensive research to find out what we should showcase. Overseas, we’ve tried to get away from the Trekkiness of it all.”
Cast members and producers have pitched the film in a number of countries, which included trips to Japan by J.J. Abrams, Chris Pine and Benedict Cumberbatch, as well as an 11-city tour by Bryan Burk for which he unveiled 35 minutes of the film.
As other foreign markets follow, in particular those for which English is not the first language, it will be interesting to see if the box office remains strong. This is particularly true of China where Star Trek into Darkness is the first "Star Trek” film ever released to that market. The Chinese market is unpredictable however, and some perceived ‘sure-fire hits’ have done far more poorly than expected. Michael Cieply of the NYT reported in April, "Hollywood’s global business strategy, which counts on huge ticket sales in China for high-budget fantasies in 3-D and large-screen Imax formats, is coming unhinged." However, films such as "Oz the Great and Powerful," "The Hobbit" and "Jack the Giant Slayer” failed to meet expectations in the Chinese market.
Whether Star Trek into Darkness can beat the odds and become the franchise’s first truly global success remains to be seen.
Star Trek Into Darkness Japan Poster – Asian markets a big test for new movie