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|August 16, 2001||
Pearl Harbor grosses at $196 million in US
Arthur J Pais
Dubbed by leading American critics as being insufferably boring, criticized by historians for its inaccuracies, and slammed by socially conscious communities for its stereotypical presentation of the Japanese, it seemed that Pearl Harbor would be bombed out soon after the initial excitement over it ended.
But the film held steady at the box office, reaching $400 million worldwide.
The film grossed $196 million in the United States. But its strongest overseas performances came from Germany (where it made $26 million) and Japan (where it seized $36 million). The box office further shot up last week by five per cent in Japan because of school holidays. Pearl Harbor is eventually expected to conquer $50 million there.
The film's excellent run was eclipsed by the $66 million gross Steven Spielberg's AI. Pearl Harbor, on its sixth week, opened a week after AI.
Though AI is ending its American run with a disappointing $80 million, the film has become a huge hit with women in Japan, and is expected to touch at least $70 million. The film is also doing a robust business in South Korea and Mexico. It will roll out in other countries in the first week of September.
Meanwhile, box office experts believe that Pearl Harbor, budgeted at $140-million, will end its worldwide theatrical run with at least $450 million. It is also expected to make strong DVD and video sales.
The huge success the film is enjoying in Japan may have come as a surprise for Disney. Though the Japanese version toned down scenes from the original that showed the Japanese army in a poor light, the film was expected to have a small run there. But Japanese reviewers were reportedly ecstatic about the film.
Besides, Disney has succeeded in selling to the audience the concept that Pearl Harbor is essentially a romantic film that happens to unfold against the background of World War II.
The film is also expected to do excellent business in China. It opened last weekend to approximately 225 screens and garnered $2.4 million as per the trade publication Variety. The publication said that the Chinese were not only roused by the film's action shots and moved by its romance, but they were also pleased by the sympathetic portrayal of Chinese in some key sequences.
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