Animals still rule the world

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DreamWorks Animation/ Paramount's "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" maintained its No. 1 ranking on the international circuit during the weekend, snaring an estimated $15.8 million from 6,893 screens in 61 markets for a foreign cume of $366 million.

Frigid, snowy weather in Europe and the end of the Christmas holiday season had the effect of suppressing theatrical turnout during the frame.

A potential challenge for the top spot from an expanded run of Sony's "Seven Pounds" came up short as the dark drama banked $13.4 million from 2,025 situations in 15 territories, good for a No. 2 ranking.

The Will Smith vehicle from Italian director Gabriele Muccino had a No. 1 opening in Italy, grossing an estimated $5.6 million from 588 locations. "Pounds" also had No. 2 debuts in Germany ($3.6 million from 452 screens) Australia ($1.4 million from 261 spots) and Mexico ($1 million from 300 situations).

20th Century Fox International's "Australia" finished No. 3 with an estimated $12.3 million from 4,900 screens in 57 markets, pushing the Baz Luhrmann epic past the $100 million mark overseas (cume of $103.5 million).

Warner Bros.' "Yes Man" finished fourth with an estimated $12 million from 2,489 situations in 35 territories, raising its international cume to $50 million. The Jim Carrey vehicle opened No. 1 in Holland, Greece and Thailand and finished in the No. 2 spot in Italy with an estimated market gross of $3.1 million.

Summit Entertainment's vampire hit "Twilight" finished fifth with an $11.1 million weekend at 2,150 screens in 43 markets, including a No. 1 opening in Paris. Its international cume is an estimated $116 million.
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