Leading films bring in 14 percent less than 2012, but mid-level hits keeps the overall market expanding
The top 20 films at the overseas box office in 2013 did not do the business that the previous year's Hollywood blockbusters did, with their combined grosses off by more than 14 percent.
Disney's “Iron Man 3” led the way in 2013 with $803 million at the foreign box office, but that was well below the $891 million that 2012's chart-topper “Marvel's The Avengers” hauled in. Universal's animated “Despicable Me 2” was second with $572 million from abroad, but there were four movies besides “The Avengers” that topped that figure last year.
In all, the top 20 movies at the international box office have brought in $9.18 billion in 2012, compared to $7.85 billion last year, according to box office tracking firm The Numbers. The data reflect the grosses of 2013's biggest films abroad, and some are still in release, so the order could change when final numbers are in, and the gap between the years will narrow.
The sky isn't falling, however.
“The overall box office is still likely to show at least some growth over 2012 when the final numbers are in, but it will be based on the success of mid-level hits, many of them produced by countries other the United States, and an increase in the number of venues in many countries,” said Bruce Nash, founder of The Numbers.
There were only two top 20 movies produced outside the U.S. last year, but they were big ones: “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” was made in New Zealand and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” was produced in the U.K.
Peter Jackson's epic was third with $566 million from abroad, and Katiniss and Co. were sixth with $433 million. In 2012, the No. 2 film “Skyfall” was made produced in the U.K. and brought in $804 million, and France's “Les Intouchables” was 11th with $413 million. There were four Chinese movies that made the top 100, according to Nash.
Action and fantasy films were the biggest genre abroad, with six films making the leaders list. Animated movies were next with five, and there were four superhero movies and four action films that cracked the top 20. The only comedy was “The Hangover 3.”
Fourteen of the top 20 films were sequels or reboots. The six original movies to make the list were “Frozen,” “Gravity,” “The Croods,” “World War Z,” “Pacific Rim” and “Oz the Great and Powerful.”
(The chart tracks films released in 2013 and reflects their total as of early January. Some movies, like “Frozen,” are still in release, so the final order will almost certainly change, and the overall total will rise.)