Tom Cruise Works Overtime as ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ Debuts Overseas

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Warner Bros. hopes a strong foreign showing will build momentum for the sci-fi film’s June 6 U.S. opening

Tom Cruise takes on Angelina Jolie in “Maleficent” – not to mention the “X-Men” – starting Wednesday as Warner Bros. rolls out the sci-fi action film “Edge of Tomorrow” in 27 foreign markets ahead of its June 6 opening in the U.S.

The action star and co-star Emily Blunt spent Wednesday on an international promo barnstorm, attending a red-carpet premiere in London (photo above) and an afternoon screening in Paris before heading to New York for an evening event. It was an extraordinary effort, even by the standards of the famously hard-working Cruise, but makes sense given the stakes for the actor and the studio.

Success overseas will be critical if “Edge of Tomorrow” is going to be a winner for Warner Bros. It’s tracking for an opening in the $25 million range domestically, not enough for a movie with a $170 million production budget and a significant marketing campaign. To complicate matters further, it will open against “The Fault In Our Stars,” a $12 million young adult book adaptation that is tracking for a $35 million opening.

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This weekend’s debuts for “Edge,” which include the U.K., Germany, Italy and Brazil, represent roughly 35 percent of the eventual international rollout. Fox’s “X-Men: Days of Future Past” will be in its second weekend abroad, and Jolie’s “Maleficent” will be opening.

“We’re excited because we have a great movie, and we think that the word of how well it’s received overseas will only help build momentum domestically,” said Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, president of international distribution at Warner Bros.

Both of Cruise’s most recent box-office outings, “Jack Reacher” and “Oblivion,” did much better overseas than in the U.S. Paramount’s “Jack Reacher,” which had a $60 million production budget, took in $80 million in North America and $138 million from abroad in December 2012. The sci-fi saga “Oblivion,” which cost double that, took in $89 million domestically and $197 million abroad in April 2013 for Universal.

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“Edge of Tomorrow” is directed by Doug Liman and features Cruise as a futuristic military officer fighting invading aliens, who finds himself living the same day over and over — and getting stronger each times he dies. It’s based on the novel “All You Need Is Kill” by Japan’s Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson and Jeremy Piven co-star.

In addition to building the film’s domestic profile, Warner Bros. is hoping to get ahead of soccer’s World Cup with the early rollout. The competition begins on June 12 and typically puts a significant dent in moviegoing for foreign audiences.