Bel Ami‘s box-office performance has been surprisingly sturdy since theRobert Pattinson film opened in late Feb./early March, in a handful of territories. Up to the end of April, in only nine countries — of which only three are major markets — the Bel Ami film version of Guy de Maupassant’s novel has taken in $6.12m. That’s not bad at all for a movie budgeted at $11.8m.
Major correction: the $6.12m Bel Ami box-office figure is $5.4m lower than my previously reported figure of $11.52m. My initial error was an utterly absurd one: I added Bel Ami‘s overall box-office total to the film’s total for each individual country as found at Box Office Mojo. Hence the extra $5.3m. My very embarrassed apologies.
Now, although Bel Ami‘s corrected figure is considerably more modest than the one originally reported, that doesn’t change the fact that Robert Pattinson’s movie has mostly been performing surprisingly well, especially for a period piece that received mixed reviews and no major studio / distributor marketing push. I’ve added a few comparisons in the ensuing paragraphs.
Robert Pattinson’s Twilight popularity surely helped Bel Ami gross a solid $3.14m in Russia. For comparison’s sake: Tarsem Singh’s Mirror Mirror, starring an established star like Julia Roberts and costing $85m — about eight times Bel Ami‘s budget — collected $9.73m in that country.
At no. 44, Bel Ami earned a not inconsiderable $1.39m in Italy, where it opened in mid-April. The Robert Pattinson movie is already only slightly behind Emma Stone / Viola Davis’ The Help ($1.56m) and War Horse ($1.43m), and ahead ofDaniel Radcliffe’s The Woman in Black, Reese Witherspoon’s This Means War,Brad Pitt’s Moneyball, Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill, the kiddie flick Dolphin Tale, and The Phantom Menace. Bel Ami opened in Italy with $868k at 254 theaters.
Another comparison: Zac Efron’s The Lucky One, with a reported $25m budget and distributed by Hollywood major Warner Bros., opened two weeks later with $997k at 281 locations.
In the United Kingdom, the home country of Robert Pattinson and much of the Bel Ami cast and behind-the-scenes talent, Pattinson’s movie scored $1.14m. It’s no. 50 on the UK box-office chart.
Relatively speaking, Bel Ami was a more modest performer in the UK, especially compared to Hollywood movies, e.g., War Horse grossed $29.57m, the Fox-distributed The Iron Lady $15.71m, Mirror Mirror $10.78m, and The Phantom Menace $8.23m as per Box Office Mojo. A handful of independent releases fared much better as well, particularly the aforementioned Daniel Radcliffe movie The Woman in Black, which took in a whopping $34.55m. Having said that, one must take into account that Bel Ami, unlike the vast majority of the more successful movies at the UK box office, has an “adult” theme.
In fact, the Robert Pattinson film earned a “15″ certificate in the UK — no one under 15 allowed in theaters. The Woman in Black, on the other hand, had a “12A” rating — not recommended for those under 12, though children could watch the movie if accompanied by an adult. Steve McQueen / Michael Fassbender’s Shame, which received an “18″ rating and became a cause celèbrebecause of its theme and sex scenes, grossed $3.2m.
Bel Ami became available on VOD in the US on May 4, the same day The Avengers dominated movie news in North America. Bel Ami opens in select US and Canadian theaters on June 8. Note: the "Bel Ami Video on Demand" site refers to the gay Bel Ami, a highly popular explicit-sex site that has nothing to do with the Robert Pattinson movie.