Doesn't surprise me. I've noticed no correlation between content of a movie and the domestic/foreign BO take. Cap's 50/50 split is very characteristic of big-budget summer blockbuster movies. I wouldn't say it's an unusually good foreign take, but it certainly doesn't indicate that skittishness about the "Captain America" name was justified either.
Here are the correlations I have noticed: big names like Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp and Keanu Reeves amps the foreign BO; more action/splosions and less dependence on dialogue (which might need to be subtitled) also amps the foreign BO; and conversely, the more complication and backstory you have, the more it lowers foreign BO. (see www.boxofficemojo.com
for all stats)
So Star Trek XI
, with no big names and a complicated backstory, didn't do so hot overseas, proportionate to domestic: 67%/33% domestic/foreign.
Contrast that with The Tourist
- no backstory, big stars in Depp and Jolie, plenty of action. 26%/76% split.
slots into the midrange. No big name stars, some backstory (the first half is almost all talking!), solid action in the second half. The "underdog triumphs" theme has universal appeal. I was actually predicting that it wouldn't do quite as well overseas as it did, maybe more like 55%/45%, so a 50%/50% split is surprisingly good considering its drawbacks that have nothing to do with the movie content.
Domestic/foreign split doesn't mean anything about the quality of a movie, just how well it's calibrated to the global market with the stuff that Hollywood knows works well. When something like Star Trek XI
gets made, I'm always kind of surprised, because everyone must realize it's handicapped. But Abrams did a good job overcoming the handicaps as much as possible (it wasn't Star Wars
-ized, it was globalized).
I enjoyed the talky first half of Captain America
and got kind of restless in the second half - haven't we all seen all the action tropes before? - but I knew that it had to be there for the sake of the overseas take, and I don't begrudge them the need to make a buck.