Nightly News | September 05, 2010
>>> a national past time keeping track of which movie wins the box office sweeps stakes. so for this labor day weekend "the american" is on top. for hollywood these days the bottom line is increasingly measured how a movie does overseas. we get the story tonight from hollywood .
>> reporter: george clooney 's new film may be called "the american" but most of the cast and director is from overseas. they're banking on foreign audiences to bring home big box offices.
>> it's good to know.
>> we're going to think about the casting, we're going to think about the setting and the story on how it's going to play from a global level.
>> reporter: the president of international universal pictures , a division of nbc universal , says unlike a decade ago nowadays most movies must be a hit outside of the united states to be considered a real success.
>> you're not in kansas anymore.
>> reporter: take the american-made "avatar" it made an impress $700 million domestically but a fraction of the $2 billion made worldwide. in recent years foreign ticket sales have doubled those in north america . in 2009 international ticket sales accounted for 64% of the staggering $30 billion movie industr industry. sanford is the president of fox international.
>> india, russia, brazil. these are significant markets that weren't participating in the overall market share until recently.
>> reporter: the global influence is clear even in the most american-themed movies. when " g.i. joe " was casted it got a foreign makeover. they gave supporting roles to international stars hoping to draw a big international audience.
>> we're running out of time .
>> reporter: it worked. in the end it grossed more broad than at home.
>> i think the world is getting smaller. i think young people especially are more aware of so many things, filmmakers, actors from other countries.
>> reporter: one reason the foreign film market is booming, the explosion of new screens. in china, for example, 35,000 new movie screens open there over the next five years.
>> a lot of that growth is the emerging market from eastern europe and russia. china is a huge part of that. it was due primarily to those economies improving and expanding.
>> reporter: old hollywood taking note of the new scripts even as