Sequel 37% higher than ‘Fellowship,’ breaks records


The second outing of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy towered above o’seas B.O. competish during its debut.

Towering B.O. o’seas

Current worldwide B.O. champ “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” has already shown serious foreign legs in its first five days, grossing $88 million, or 16% of the foreign cume for “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.”

“Towers,” which opened in 26 territories, was 37% higher than the five-day mark for “Fellowship” and set opening-day records in many markets. Blighty led the way with $20.4 million, or 22% of the $90.2 million cume for “Fellowship” in the territory.

Germany’s first five days for “Towers” hit $17 million, or 23% of the $73 million final B.O. for “Fellowship” in that market, while Spain’s $7.1 million debut for “Towers” amounted to 25% of Spanish cume for “Fellowship.”

Scandinavia totaled $10 million for “Towers” and France brought in $9.8 million, compared with $8.2 million for the first five days of “Fellowship.” South Korean B.O. totaled $4 million.

Rolf Mittweg, New Line’s worldwide marketing and distrib prexy, said the improved perf for “Towers” compared with “Fellowship” stemmed from a trio of factors:

A 15% rise in the number of playdates to more than 5,400.

Expansion of the audience through the shipping of 35 million DVD and VHS units of “Fellowship.”

Pay TV bows of “Fellowship” in the United States and Korea.

“Towers” also has dominated the U.S. box office, ringing up $102 million in its first five days. Its worldwide total is already 22% of the final worldwide cume of $860 million for “Fellowship,” which owns the fifth highest worldwide mark after “Titanic” at $1.8 billion; “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” $968 million; “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” $923 million; and “Jurassic Park,” $920 million.

Shooting for second

Mittweg predicted “Towers” will wind up second on the list, displacing “Sorcerer’s Stone.” It will open in Australia at 425 playdates on Thursday, during that territory’s Boxing Day holiday, and on Friday in Brazil, followed by a Jan. 17 launch in Italy and a late February opening in Japan.