The United States Is Not Box Office Poison After All

Plus: Roman Polanski is returning to Zurich to receive his lifetime achievement award

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Today in film and television: Captain America overcomes the perceived anti-Americanism of foregin movie audiences, Roman Polanski returns to Zurich, and Vincent D'Onofrio and Ethan Hawke are headed to NBC for a cop show.

  • Captain America: The First Avenger has now grossed more at the foreign box office than in North America, much to the surprise and delight of Paramount and Marvel Studios, who were concerned enough about foreign audiences being turned off by a movie with "America" in the title that they offered foreign distributors the chance to release the film as just The First Avenger. Only three countries--Russia, the Ukraine and South Korea--opted for the alternate title. That makes sense because--conventional wisdom notwithstanding--movies with 'America' in the title more than hold their own at the international box office. American Beauty, for example, grossed $226.2 million overseas and just under $131 million in North America, and was released under its original English title in big markets like Spain, Japan, and Germany. Places that did opt to retitle the film largely kept the 'America'--according to IMDB, the film was released as Beleza Americana in Brazil and Portugal, Amerikan güzeli in Turkey, Americká krása in the Czech Republic, and Amerikai szépség in Hungary. Even in Russia, the movie was known as Красота по-американск, which is a direct translation of American Beauty. Also: as Box Office Mojo notes in chart-from, all three American Pie films brought in more than $125 million in international ticket sales. And unlike Captain America, those earlier titles don't have long stretches of dialogue-free fight scenes that make for easy dubbing.  [The Hollywood Reporter
  • Vincent D'Onofrio and Ethan Hawke have spent more time in blue than some actual members of the NYPD, and they'll be doing it again on Blue Tilt, a new one-hour cop series for NBC. We're already preparing for the inevitable barroom debate about whether that's the strongest one-two acting punch on TV. Certainly Mad Men's Jon Hamm and John Slattery will get some votes, but the show's ensemble cast hurts their case. Also, D'Onofrio and Hawke were terrific--terrific!--together in the underseen neighborhood crime drama Staten Island, one of our favorites Neflix streaming diamonds-in-the-rough. [TV Line]
  • Pixar may win the Oscars and hearts of audiences young and old, but Dreamworks Animation has vaulted ahead of its rival when it comes to locally-produced, Chinese-language cartoons, and is reportedly planning to build a studio in Shanghai. China is China when it comes to global expansion, and Dreamworks Animation has had success in the market with the Kung Fu Panda movies, but It remains to be seen what kind of restrictions the local government will put on the studio's product. [Variety]
  • Roman Polanski is returning to the Zurich film festival to accept the lifetime achievement award he showed up for two years ago but didn't collect, because he was arrested by Swiss police after the American government filed an extradition request for the Oscar-winning fugitive sex criminal. The Swiss ultimately let him go, and the U.S. can't file to have him extradited from Switzerland a second time, so he's in the clear. According to a press release sent out by the festival , the director won't be granting interviews and organizers won't talk about the case either. So anyone who wants to see Roman Polanski hailed as a genius and nothing--nothing--else by a bunch of Europeans, start packing your bags. [Deadline]
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