Tom Cruise's Lambs got slaughtered at the worldwide box office.
The political drama Lions for Lambs, essentially an art-house project, adopted a blockbuster strategy by opening in 45 foreign markets and North America during the weekend. The plan misfired, with the film pulling in just $10.3 million from international theaters, and $6.7 million from North America, according to final sales data issued Monday.
Although Cruise is the big name and the film marks the first release from United Artists since he and business partner Paula Wagner took control of the dormant studio a year ago, UA executives are billing it as a Robert Redford vehicle, since the Hollywood veteran directed and co-stars. Meryl Streep is also part of the blue-ribbon lineup.
Facing mostly negative reviews, Lambs opened at No. 2 in both Spain ($2.2 million) and Australia ($857,000), at No. 5 in Germany ($999,000) and Brazil ($429,000), and at No. 6 in the U.K. ($1.4 million).
Industry experts said that despite the big marketing push and the huge stars involved, Lambs evidently did not attract its target upscale audience and failed to cross over to the general public.
Although Lions for Lambs was the top Hollywood entry overseas, it was crushed by two Bollywood films -- Om Shanti Om, which claimed a $17 million opening in India, and Saawariya, which is said to have delivered $15.4 million from 13 markets, all but $1 million from India. (Additionally in North America, Om Shanti Om opened at No. 11 with $1.8 million, while Saawariya was No. 24 with $542,000.)
Ratatouille, the top overseas grosser for five weeks in row, came in second to Lambs in the English-speaking category, recording $9.1 million from 29 markets for a foreign total of $388.4 million.
Elsewhere, El Orfanato maintained the No. 1 spot in Spain for the fifth weekend in a row, generating $2.4 million for a market total to date of $29.1 million. In Italy, Come Tu Mi Vuoi opened at No. 1 with $3.2 million. Local films also dominated the market in Korea (Le Grand Chef) and Japan (Sky of Love). Ang Lee's Lust, Caution opened at No. 2 in Korea, pulling in about $1.8 million in its first three days.