Magazine article Screen International

Europe's Most Wanted

Magazine article Screen International

Europe's Most Wanted

Article excerpt

From Intouchables to The Impossible, a host of local productions lit up the European box office in 2012. Ian Sandwell analyses the successes.

While European audiences were in the mood for a laugh in 2011 - comedies from The Inbetweeners Movie to Nothing To Declare and Kokowaah ruled their local roosts - 2012's European breakouts were altogether more sombre affairs.

JA Bayona's tsunami drama The Impossible was the biggest film of the year in Spain, Russian audiences warmed to drama Soulless and audiences everywhere couldn't get enough of moody blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises, a UK-US co-production.

By October, however, no single European film had managed to match the $424.8m might of the final Harry Potter film across the continent in 2011.

That was until the arrival of James Bond in his 23rd mission, Skyfall, in late October. It rocketed up the charts, breaking numerous records along the way and taking a mighty $459.9m up to Dec 13.

Yet alongside this and the expected success of The Dark Knight Rises, one of 2011's top titles continued to dominate the local charts in 2012. More than living up to its name, Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache's French title Intouchables took $185.1m across Europe in 2012 to add to its 2011 haul of $152m.

As of Dec 13 in Germany the comedy topped the yearly chart ahead of both local hits (Turkish For Beginners) and UK-US big hitters (The Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus) with a total of $82.9m; the result of spending an astonishing 50 weeks in the top 50 in the territory, 35 of those in the top 20.

It was a familiar picture across Europe. In Spain, Intouchables was the fourth-biggest hit of the year with $21.6m, having spent 22 weeks in the top 20; while in Netherlands it notched up more than 1m admissions following its March release.

Its success in Europe has contributed to Intouchables becoming the most-viewed French-language film in history outside of France, a record it achieved in September.

Co-productions' field day

UK-US co-productions dominate the year's top 10, with five titles in the mix. Among these is Warner Bros' The Dark Knight Rises, the conclusion of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, with $290.7m, second only to Sony and MGM's Skyfall. Directed by Sam Mendes, Skyfall had taken a massive $459.9m up to Dec 13 including, among other records, becoming the biggest film of all time in the UK.

The territory also enjoyed its own independent successes earlier in the year, both at home and in Europe. Hammer Films' The Woman In Black scared up $54.8m, which was the biggest haul for a UK horror film of the past 20 years, while Fox Searchlight's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel blossomed by appealing to an under-served older audience and took $54m across Europe. …

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