By Brandon Gray
March 5, 2002
HOLLYWOOD (Zap2it.com) â€“ Over the weekend, 'The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring' stormed into Japan, the biggest overseas market for American movies, and handily claimed the top spot.
The epic Tolkien adventure garnered $6.8 million (including $1.5 million from last weekend's sneak previews), selling 620,000 tickets in two days at 600 theaters, helping its overseas total climb to $462 million.
'We're getting a wide audience range, from junior high and high school students to young couples and even older fans, with a lot of repeaters,' the spokesman for 'Rings'' Japanese distributor Nippon Herald told Screen International.
As powerful a start as that was, the epic Tolkien adventure came up well shy of the $10 million estimate issued on Monday and could not top the record-breaking $12.8 million two-day debut (also including sneaks) of 'Harry Potter' at 650 venues last November.
'Rings,' though, had to contend with the opening of 'Monsters, Inc.' Disney and Pixar's computer-animated boogeymen scared up a strong $4.4 million from 535 theaters, setting a new record for a non-Japanese animated movie and doubling the bow of 'Shrek.'
As for 'Rings'' final tally in Japan, the Nippon Herald spokesman said that the movie is 'well on its way' to hitting its $113 million target. More conservative estimates, though, have it pegged for the $80-90 million range, which would likely be enough to help it cross the $600 million mark overseas
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