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'The Tourist,' 'Gulliver's Travels' cold in U.S. but hot in Russia

January 9, 2011 |  2:07 pm

Tourist For "The Tourist" and "Gulliver's Travels," Russia has turned out to be much warmer than the U.S.

The action drama starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie and the 3-D comedy starring Jack Black enjoyed strong openings in Russia of $10.3 million and $9.5 million, respectively, this weekend. Both films, meanwhile, have been major disappointments at the domestic box office.

Although Russia has become one of the hottest foreign markets for movies in recent years, its theatrical industry is still nowhere near as developed as that of the U.S. or some other countries, including Britain, France and Germany.

Russian moviegoers seem to love both of these movies much more than Americans do. In the case of "Gulliver's Travels," its $9.5-million Russian launch was substantially larger than the meager $6.3 million it drew on its opening weekend in the U.S. and Canada. It was also the movie's second-largest international opening, behind only Britain.

Gulliver 20th Century Fox's "Gulliver's Travels" already has drawn $81 million overseas, more than twice its weak $34.6-million domestic total. And with most foreign markets left to go, it could end up an international success despite flopping at home.

The same doesn't appear to be true of "The Tourist," which has seen some surprisingly weak foreign performances despite its big-name stars and European setting.

Russia, however, is a notable exception. The film's opening weekend there was the biggest anywhere outside the U.S. It's so outsized, in fact, that Russia is already the second-most-successful foreign market for the film, outpacing four weeks of ticket sales in Germany and France and five in Britain. Only Italy, where much of the movie's action takes place, is bigger, at $13.1 million after four weeks.

"The Tourist" hit $100.5 million in overseas ticket sales this weekend but is already playing in most foreign countries. Although it will likely end up at least doubling domestic ticket sales, which now stand at $61.4 million, the big-budget picture financed by GK Films and released by Sony Pictures won't end up a strong international performer like Jolie's "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" or Depp's "Alice in Wonderland."

-- Ben Fritz

Photos, from top: Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie in "The Tourist." Credit: Peter Mountain / Sony Pictures. Jack Black in "Gulliver's Travels." Credit: 20th Century Fox