Overseas releases during World Cup being rescheduled

MUMBAI: Scheduled between 11June to 11 July in South Africa, the football World Cup is giving Hollywood film executives a big headache.

The 30-day sports event has forced studio distribution units to execute intricate overseas booking maneuvers to avoid opening their biggest movies during the soccer-saturated period. This could well mean that the annual international box-office could see a downward trend from last year‘s tally.

The U.K. saw the box-office dipping 1 per cent and admissions slid 5 per cent when Germany hosted the World Cup in 2006.

Commented Warner Bros. international distribution president Veronika Kwan-Rubinek "Many countries come to a standstill during the World Cup games, especially if the home team is playing."

Research shows the first three weeks of a film‘s overseas run before the World Cup begins generate anywhere from 75 to 85 per cent of overall box-office while the film marking weekly declines of up to 50 per cent

Taking no chances, Disney will begin the overseas run of its video game-based Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time nine days before its 28 May domestic opening.

Universal will launch its male-targeting Russell Crowe starrer Robin Hood on 12 May in France, the same day the film opens at the Cannes.

Warners will release Sex and the City 2 in most offshore markets day-and-date with its May 27 domestic bow. The first Sex lapped up $263 million in the overseas market in 2008.

Summit‘s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, the third instalment of the Twilight franchise, will open in the foreign circuit within two weeks of its 30 June domestic opening.

Paramount will release DreamWorks Animation‘s 3D sequel Shrek Forever After on 30 June 30 in France. Disney‘s Toy Story 3 will begin foreign bookings about a week after its 18 June domestic release. The film‘s overseas opening fall in the thick of World Cup action.

Targeting a broader audience, Sony‘s remake of The Karate Kid is opening selectively overseas. It will debut nearly day-and-date with its 11June domestic release in Korea, Southeast Asia, Australia and Middle Eastern territories.

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