Hollywood’s 2013 Hit Movies Haven’t Matched Last Year’s at Foreign Box Office


Overseas grosses are off 2.4% overall and the top 20 are down 16% from last year’s leaders — but there’s help on the way

Hollywood’s hit movies haven’t connected at the overseas box office the way they did last year.

While the overall international numbers are comparable but down — $12.3 billion this year to $12.6 billion in the first nine months of the year – the overseas grosses of the top 20 films are off from 2012 by 16 percent, according to box office tracking service The Numbers.

Things are almost certain to get better.

The figures don’t include three movies that will have a major impact: “Thor: The Dark World,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” Disney’s Marvel superhero sequel has already taken in more than $320 million abroad, but those grosses will show up in the fourth quarter, as will the other two films’.

Nonetheless, with the foreign market growing so quickly, particularly in Russia and China, any drop seems surprising — especially since the domestic box office is poised for another record.

Also read: Will 2013 Break the Domestic Box Office Record? All Hope Lies With the Holidays

“I still think that this year should catch and surpass last year’s grosses,” The Numbers founder and chief executive Bruce Nash told TheWrap, “but it could be closer than we might have expected.”

Most of the drop-off is attributable to this year’s biggest movies not matching the numbers last year’s did. The top 2012 film overseas, “Marvel’s The Avengers,” brought in $891 million. That’s considerably more than the $803 million that “Iron Man 3″ grossed abroad.

Similarly, this year’s No. 2 film “Fast and Furious 6,” totaled $549 million, compared to the $718 million that the animated hit “Ice Age: Continental Drift” totaled last year. Ditto for “Despicable Me 2,” which also rolled up $549 million, well short of the $631 million that “Dark Knight Rises” took in abroad.

Also read: Funny Thing About 2013: 8 Comedies Will Hit $100 Million at the Box Office

“The emergence of domestic film industries, particularly in China, is becoming another factor,” said Nash.

Two Chinese films – “Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons” and “Lost in Thailand” – are in the top 20. And even if the local movies don’t travel as well as those two did, their presence in the market can cut into the grosses of the U.S. blockbusters, Nash said.

Disney has the No. 1 and No. 4 movies (“Iron Man 3″ and “Monsters University”) and Universal has the second (“Fast and Furious 6″) and third (“Despicable Me 2″), but the wealth is otherwise spread around. Warner Bros. has four films on the list, while Paramount and Fox had three each.

It was a mixed bag in terms of genre. Four animated movies and four sci-fi films made the list, there were three superhero movies and three comedies – “The Hangover III,” “Lost in Thailand” and “Journey to the West.”

Only one R-rated movie, “Good Day to Die Hard,” made the top 20.


  • fred

    I don’t mean to be rude but “Skyfall” was the second biggest grossing film overseas not “Ice Age: Continental Drift”, “Skyfall” took in 803 million overseas, about 85 million more than ‘Ice Age’. And “The Avengers” took in 895 million overseas. Five films took in more than 630 million overseas in 2012, so far only “Iron Man 3″ has done that in 2013. “The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug” is the only film left I can see taken in 630 million overseas, I think “Thor: The Dark World” and “Catching Fire” will both top out at around 475-525 million overseas.

    • sameera

      skyfall was released in 4th quarter.That’s why it’s not being included.Read full article and then comment.

      • fred

        You read, he didn’t say nothing about “Ice Age” being the summer’s biggest hit sweetheart, he was comparing “Fast And Furious” & “Despicable Me” overseas take to “Ice Age”, the second biggest overseas grossers in their respective years. He was just referring to the last quarter of this year in terms of it’s possibility in surpassing last year’s record year. Like I was saying before I do expect “The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug” to be the second biggest overseas grosser to “Iron Man 3″ when it’s said and done, but “Catching Fire” will gross more domestically.

  • Amit Singh Somvanshi

    yeh i agreed with fred