To date, the Johnny Depp-Penélope Cruz vehicle Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is the biggest worldwide box office hit of 2011, having grossed $623.71 million. In North America, the top movie is Fast Five, the fifth installment in the Fast & Furious franchise, which has scored $196.02 million. Rio, Thor, and The Hangover Part II have also performed remarkably well.
As I mentioned in a previous post, apart from two late 2010 releases, Oscar winners The King's Speech and Black Swan, 2011 moviegoers continue to ignore dramas about human relationships. At no. 20, Francis Lawrence's Water for Elephants, starring Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, and Christoph Waltz is the sole drama – outside the action/thriller/horror genres – among the year's top 25 releases.
In North America, Water for Elephants has taken in $54.4 million after five weeks. Internationally, the $38m-budgeted circus drama has just passed the $50 million milestone after adding $3.7 million this weekend as per The Hollywood Reporter. Total to date: $50.7 million. Water for Elephants has thus passed the $100 million milestone, cuming at $105.1 million worldwide.
As of May 22, Water for Elephants' top overseas markets were: Australia with $6.85 million, Germany with $5.75 million, France with $5.39 million, the United Kingdom with $5.19 million, and Mexico with $2.73 million. The film also earned more than $1 million in Brazil (up to May 15), Italy (despite a slow start), Russia/CIS, Spain, and Sweden.
For comparison's sake: Reese Witherspoon's previous star vehicle, James L. Brooks' $120 million comedy How Do You Know, collected only $30 million in the U.S. and Canada and $17.49 million internationally earlier this year. Its top foreign markets were Germany ($3.11 million), Australia ($2.73 million), and Spain ($1.62m).
Robert Pattinson's previous non-Twilight Saga vehicle, the low-budget ($16m) romantic drama Remember Me, went on to gross $19 million in North America and $36.96 million internationally in 2010. Remember Me's top international markets were the United Kingdom/Ireland ($5.49 million), France ($3.53 million), and Russia/CIS ($3.48m).
I should add that the only other dramas outside the thriller/horror/action-adventure genres to be found on the North American Top 50 box office chart are Soul Surfer (#28) with $41.28 million and The Conspirator (#49) with $11.16 million. Jane Eyre is #51, with $10.67 million.
Box office info: Box Office Mojo
Photo: Water for Elephants (David James / 20th Century Fox / Regency)