The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn has been out for a few weeks in various countries and has already made US$234 million. If it takes off in the U.S., it could easily double that number worldwide. The production budget is posted at US$130 million before marketing and other costs. All things being equal, the movie will be considered a substantial box office success which will fuel the fire for putting a hefty budget into the sequels.
Just for comparison purposes, another childhood favorite, Asterix, had a much smaller impact at the box office with the French big-budget Asterix et Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (2002). It only grossed US$111 million worldwide and was barely even on screens in the U.S. From what we can tell, it wasn’t really intended for U.S. consumption like Tintin is. Too bad. As you can see from one of our reviews of Asterix and Cleopatra, we really like the story.
Tintin has international appeal. Unlike Asterix, Tintin doesn’t have a significant historical element so we think that makes it more accessible. We don’t suppose we’re too far off base in saying that too few Americans know much about ancient Gaul, Rome, and Egypt. Tintin on the other hand is based generally in the 1930s-1950s but that isn’t too significant. In other words, there aren’t many story background roadblocks for audiences to “get” the story and its characters.
Asterix et Obelix does look pretty funny, even with the terrible casting and costuming for Asterix and Obelix so we’d like to watch a dubbed version of this film (pardon, nous non understandez Frenchie). We’re not really interested in the predecessor Astérix et Obélix contre César. Doesn’t look that good. We have watched the animated versions of several of the books and they’re passable. The same can’t be said for the Tintin et le mystère de la Toison d’Or (haven’t seen it hasn’t been reviewed with aplomb by those that have) and Tintin & the Lake of Sharks (we have seen this and it’s horrible). Thank goodness for Monsieurs Spielburg et Jackson. Once again, we eagerly await the North American release of Tintin!
Just for fun, here’s the trailer for Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra.