The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn

Paramount Pictures

The Adventures of Tintin grossed an estimated $55.8 million in its international debut this weekend, Sony Pictures said Sunday. 

In countries like France and the United Kingdom, Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson's much-anticipated motion-capture epic, which won't be seen here until Christmastime, was big, but not as big as the final Harry Potter.

So, what does that mean?  

Not much, according to box-office expert Paul Dergarabedian.

"Harry Potter [and the Deathy Hallows Part 2] was a sequel [to] the biggest franchise of all time," the analyst said. "This is a new movie."

As such, Tintin's debut was "really strong," Dergarabedian said, and also "really smart."

"This is a character who is much more well-known internationally," Dergarbedian said, "so i think it was really smart to get the buzz built over there."

And "over there" responded.

In France, where the film's titular reporter-slash-detective was born in comic books in the 1920s, Tintin enjoyed its biggest take of the weekend: $21.5 million. It picked up another $10.5 million in the UK.

All told, The Adventures of Tintin, which was directed by Spielberg and produced by Jackson, is already more than one-third of the way to meeting its reputed $130 million-ish budget. Critically, it's also fast-starter, having compiled an 84 percent favorable rating to date at Rotten Tomatoes.

For fun and giggles and, of course, more money, it'll open in the United States, finally, in about eight weeks, on Dec. 21.

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