Understanding Your Star's Appeal in Global Markets

A July 27th, 2012 post to The Vulture describes how movie execs struggle to "figure out how best to leverage the right stars in different parts of the world to maximize grosses."

Just as co-productions (drawing funding from various global markets, for example in Europe and Asia) are on the rise, when choosing actors and putting together financing the trick is to appreciate how each star has done in the relevant territories.

"Take Colin Firth, for example. “Internationally, [he] is a draw,” says {Lionsgate topper Patrick] Wachsberger. “Most Americans would say, ‘Colin who?’ But [if we could get him] we would say, ‘Oh, great!’” The King’s Speech was a surprise hit in the U.S., pulling in $139 million. But it was a downright blockbuster abroad, taking in nearly twice that. The bulk of that came from Europe, and King’s Speech was a very European story, but as a British actor, Firth is often a draw there."

Who else works box office magic in Europe?

"Kevin James is huge in Germany when he’s doing physical comedy."

Kevin James? Big in Germany?

That's right, in fact... "His grosses for The Zookeeper [in Germany] nearly doubled that from the film’s next highest-earning country, Mexico."

Mexico? Who knew?

This kind of (inexplicable?) data is something that Hollywood tracks...

And that may explain why there's a sequel to the action comedy RED this summer (2013):

"It was no accident that Summit’s 2010 action thriller RED was populated with stars like Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich. Sources say that its budget was a little under $60 million, but with the cast’s international appeal, the company was able to raise 70 percent of that budget by preselling distribution rights to overseas exhibitors."

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