‘Epic’: Animated film has slow start in box office abroad

This film publicity image released by 20th Century Fox shows Bomba, voiced by Jason Sudeikis, left, and his daughter MK, voiced by Amanda Seyfried, in a scene from the animated film, "Epic."
(Blue Sky Studios / AP)

The international box office for “Epic” is anything but so far.

The animated movie from 20th Century Fox’s Blue Sky Productions unit -- which focuses on a transformed teenager who befriends a group of misfits and fights rot-causing creatures -- has taken in $43 million from 34 international markets since its release two weeks ago, according to the studio.

That is not a flop by any means, but the nearly $100-million production will need big numbers when it opens in Japan, Russia and Australia to be considered a global smash.

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The last animated film to hit theaters overseas was “The Croods,” a DreamWorks Animation title also released by Fox. That movie, which also features animated human characters instead of animals, launched with $63.3 million when it debuted in 47 foreign markets in March. The film has since collected $386 million abroad.


While noting that “Epic” has met expectations, Craig Dehmel, a senior vice president at 20th Century Fox, said the film’s plot may make the movie a tougher sell outside the U.S.

“ 'Epic’ is unique and a more complex story than much of the typical animated fare and that can sometimes make it more challenging for international audiences to discover,” Dehmel said.

The movie has made its biggest marks in Mexico and Brazil.

Although they may seem uniquely American, animated films, like action movies, tend to do very well abroad. Fox’s “Rio” made $340 million in international box office. This summer, two highly anticipated animated sequels -- “Monsters University” and “Despicable Me 2" -- will debut with high expectations. “Monsters Inc.” was released in 2001 and grossed more than $270 million around the world. The original “Despicable Me,” which was released in 2010, grossed more than $290 million outside the U.S.


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