November 24, 2012
Box office hits around the world
By MICHAEL RECHTSHAFFEN, QMI Agency
HOLLYWOOD -- It looks like South Korean moviegoers can't get enough of a certain supernatural fantasy romance with a strong lycanthropic (as in werewolf) element.
Of course, it would be entirely understandable if you thought we were referring to that grand finale known as The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2, but, in fact, we're not.
We're talking about A Werewolf Boy, a homegrown phenom which recently passed the four million admissions mark in South Korea and is showing no signs of slowing down.
The film, written and directed by JO Sung-hee, tells the story of an orphaned wild child who is taken into the loving home of a girl and her family.
But when a threat to his domesticated existence brings out his, uh, darker side, terrifying the townsfolk, the girl and the werewolf boy are forced to part.
The movie, which played the Toronto International Film Festival in September and is slated to open in select North American theatres next month, serves as a reminder that while the Twilight franchise capper and Skyfall are taking the world by storm, it's not always all about Hollywood.
Take France, for example, where the likes of Argo and Taken 2 are being outperformed by Asterix and Obelix: God Save Britannia, a live-action family comedy starring Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve.
Based on the enduring French comics, this fourth entry in the popular franchise has so far grossed $31 million in France alone, and is about to cross the one million admissions threshold across the continent.
Over in China, meanwhile, Bait 3D has been reeling 'em in.
The Australian horror-thriller, about a freak tsunami that traps shoppers inside a coastal supermarket -- along with a 12-foot great white shark -- bombed on its home turf and went, more or less, directly to DVD in North America, but no matter.
Chinese audiences have been eating it up, with domestic grosses of over $25 million in its first three weeks.
One Australian movie that has been a hit both on Aussie soil and beyond is The Sapphires, a fact-based period -- circa 1968 -- musical dramedy about an Aboriginal girls group who entertain U.S. troops in Vietnam.
The crowd-pleaser, which also played TIFF, has raked in about $17 million to date and has been picked up by The Weinstein Company for North American distribution.
You may not be familiar with Las aventuras de Tadeo Jones, or its English-language title, Tad, the Los Explorer, but then you're probably not living in Spain.
There, the animated adventure, featuring characters that look like they could have come out of the Aardman Animations house (Wallace & Gromit, Flushed Away), has charmed Spaniards to the tune of $22 million.
Sort of a cartoon Indiana Jones (with the tagline "No whip, no gun "¦ All fun!"), the film is certain to expand beyond home base.
And Japanese audiences have been clamouring to see The Floating Castle, a war movie set in 1590 that had been originally scheduled to open a year ago, but had been postponed in the wake of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
The lively historical epic has collected over $15 million in its first few weeks of release, without any help from a Bella or Bond.