As we all know by know, Blades of Glory skated to gold at the domestic box office last weekend, earning $33 million and solidifying the status of Will Ferrell (pictured, right, with Jon Heder) among comedy’s heaviest hitters. Yay for him! But that outcome was in stark contrast to the results in the rest of the world, where Blades has yet to bow: Last weekend, the top-grossing movie overseas was the latest Rowan Atkinson farce, Mr. Bean’s Holiday, which made about $36 million in 26 countries.
Now this is interesting. Here we have two broad comedies, each bringing in almost the same amount of money, neither of which has opened yet in the other’s stronghold… and you can bet that neither of them will succeed when they do. After all, it’s a hard-and-fast rule that American comedy just doesn’t work abroad (with exceptions usually limited to action-heavy funny pics like Night at the Museum ). Take Ferrell’s Talladega Nights (please!). It earned a whopping 91 percent of its $163 mil global box office in the U.S., with just 9 percent coming from elsewhere. Meanwhile, I’m pretty confident that Mr. Bean’s Holiday isn’t going to blow the covers off the record books when it premieres here in August, since 1997’s Bean made $45.3 mil in the U.S. and Canada. And, yep, you guessed it, that sum was a mere 18 percent of its total worldwide take.
So let’s discuss. Why is it this way? Does it have to be this way? They say that nobody’s born a Democrat or a Republican, and in that way I’m certain that nobody’s born with a specific sense of humor; we develop our tastes based on our upbringings and surroundings. But why such a disparity? Can’t we all just get along?!