According to The Hollywood Reporter, Buena Vista Pictures' resurrected lion and Universal Pictures' giant ape battled it out once more over the New Year's Day weekend. But while King Kong prevailed over the previous Christmas frame, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe claimed a narrow victory this time around. The seesaw battle saw Andrew Adamson's Narnia outgross Peter Jackson's Kong on Friday and Saturday and Kong climb above Narnia on Sunday. Then, according to estimates, Narnia bested Kong again Monday. As the dust began to settle, Narnia had grabbed an estimated $32.8 million, while Kong picked up an estimated $31.6 million. The figures put Narnia's total gross to date at $224.8 million; produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Walden Media, it crossed the $200 million mark Friday, its 22nd day of release.
The 2005 overseas market, which lagged seriously in the first six months of the year, came to a close on the final weekend with a flourish worthy of a Times Square New Year's Eve celebration. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe roared to $41.4 million, hitting an offshore cume of $225.5 million; King Kong climbed to $29 million, reaching $222.5 million; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire conjured up another $17 million, magnifying to an astronomical $535 million; and Chicken Little, with a $7.6 million weekend, advanced to $91.4 million. At the conclusion of the New Year's weekend, unofficial estimates indicate that Warner Bros. Pictures International will be the international market's highest-grossing major studio, with about $1.9 billion, its second-highest performance ever after $2.2 billion in 2004; 20th Century Fox International is heading for second place with an estimated $1.6 billion, fueled mostly by the $467.5 million from Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith; and Buena Vista International, the Disney foreign distribution division, is approaching its third-best year ever, topping $1 billion for 11 straight years as 2005's No. 3 achiever (estimated $1.3 billion), with Narnia setting new records. Sony Pictures Releasing International, which took in more than $1 billion in 2004, failed to reach the benchmark in 2005, settling for an estimated $817 million.
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