'Avatar' nears 'Titanic's' overseas boxoffice

Sci-fi epic adds $128.9 mil from int'l markets during weekend

Vying to overtake "Titanic" this week as the biggest-grossing title in motion picture history, "Avatar" earned another $171.7 million on the weekend, with foreign boxoffice accounting for $128.9 million of the total derived from 14,575 offshore screens in 112 markets.
 
Overseas cume for director James Cameron's mega-budget 3D adventure stands at $1.120 billion, just $122 million shy of the $1.242 billion record foreign gross set 13 years ago by Cameron's "Titanic."
 
Since "Avatar" is grossing an average of at least $20 million overseas daily, it should surpass "Titanic's" foreign record by the end of this week. Helping things along are “Avatar’s” two Golden Globe citations Sunday for best motion picture (drama) and best director for Cameron. 
 
"Avatar's" gross worldwide is $1.613 billion, $230 million behind "Titanic's" global record of $1.843 billion.
 
In its fifth round overseas, "Avatar" remained dominant just about everywhere, dropping a relatively benign 15% from the prior weekend's foreign tally. A record Italy opening generated $15.2 million from 925 locations. China weighed in with a $17.9 million weekend from 2,509 screens for an industry record market cume of $75.6 million rolled up in just 13 days.
 
The biggest market cumes have been registered in France ($115.3 million), Russia ($89.3 million), Germany ($85.8 million) and the U.K. ($80.7 million). Boxoffice from 81 Imax screens was $4.6 million, pushing the foreign take from Imax locations to $39.4 million, the company said.
 
Summit International released "The Book of Eli" in the U.K. (where it opened at No. 6 in the market with $2 million from 385 screens), Russia and Greece for an estimated $4.5 million from a total of 895 situations. The post-apocalyptic drama starring Denzel Washington opened at No. 2 in the U.S. and Canada.
 
Warner Bros.' "Sherlock Holmes" maintained its second-place spot overall with a weekend tally of $26.3 million from 5,514 screens in 53 territories.
 
The overseas cume for director Guy Ritchie's adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's classic detective character, with Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson, totals $168.6 million. (Downey won a Golden Globe for best performance by an actor in a musical or comedy.)

"Holmes" opened at No. 2 behind "Avatar" in Spain to $5.2 million from 469 screens.
 
Finishing at No. 3 on the weekend was Fox's "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel," which generated $15.6 million from 5,491 screens in 58 markets. Overseas cume stands at $159.8 million.
 
Coming in fourth was "It's Complicated," writer-director Nancy Meyers' romantic comedy starring Meryl Streep, which lured $9 million from 2,100 sites in 24 territories, an increase of 16% from the prior weekend's tally, as per distributor Universal. International cume, with 40 overseas territories yet to play, stands at $36.4 million. "Complicated" finished third in its second U.K. weekend with $2.3 million from 440 screens.
 
No. 5 was the Clint Eastwood-directed drama from Warner Bros. "Invictus," which produced $7 million from 631 screens in seven markets. Early cume is $8.4 million. Almost all of the action came from France, where "Invictus" scored an outstanding $6.3 million from 469 screens, making the title No. 1 in Paris and environs. The opening was the biggest opening weekend ever for an Eastwood picture in France.
 
Holding well in German-speaking markets was Sony's "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" which grabbed $5.8 million on the weekend from 2,100 screens in 25 territories. International cume stands at $23.6 million.
 
The best territory for the romantic comedy co-starring Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker was Germany, where the second-weekend tally was $1.5 million from 496 spots for a market cume of $4.2 million.
 
"Up in the Air" kicked off its overseas run in nine markets for a weekend tally of $5.8 million from 936 locations. The comedy-drama from director Jason Reitman, co-starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, bowed at No. 5 in the U.K., drawing $2.1 million from 325 spots.

Reitman and co-writer Sheldon Turner won a best motion picture screenplay Golden Globe.
 


Fox opened "Tooth Fairy," a comic fantasy about Dwayne Johnson as jaw-jarring hockey player-turned-tooth fairy, in six markets where the weekend score was $5.4 million, with the overall take from seven territories (Chile opened last week) coming to $5.6 million from 1,089 screens. A No. 2 Mexico bow furnished $1.9 million from 395 sites.
 
A powerhouse in Italy remains Warner's local-language production "Io loro e Lara" (I, They and Lara), director Carlo Verdone's comedy about a missionary priest and his family. The second-weekend tally was $3.9 million from 662 screens for a market cume of $18.1 million.
 
Opening at No. 2 in Germany is "Friendship," Sony's local-language production via Deutsche Columbia Pictures. The drama, directed by Markus Goller, about a young East German man's pilgrimage to the U.S. to locate his missing father, drew $3.48 million from 371 Germany locations. It also opened at No. 6 in Austria. Total weekend tally from both markets was $3.7 million from 418 screens.
 
Disney Animation's "The Princess and the Frog" grossed $3.5 million from 3,074 situations in 30 markets, raising its overseas cume to $62.3 million. Turkey and Korea open this week, with a France debut launching Jan. 27.

In Japan, Warner Bros. registered a No. 3 opening of “Where the Wild Things Are.” Director Spike Jonze’s adaptation of the Maurice Sendak children's classic drew $1.54 million from 537 locations.

The top local-language title in Japan was Toho’s release of “Bendeiji” (Bandage), a drama with music about the vicissitudes of your youths in Japan’s indie rock world of the 1990s. The opening-weekend tally was $1.48 million from 214 screens, enough for a No. 4 ranking.
 
The top-grossing newcomer in France is UGC Distribution's "Un petit zone de turbulences" (A Spot of Bother), director Alfred Lot's comedy starring Miou-Miou. The opening round generated $1.6 million from 350 sites, sufficient for a No. 3 market ranking.
 
Premiering at No. 7 in France was Pathe's release of "Mr. Nobody," an independently produced fantasy/drama in English and French co-starring Jared Leto, Diane Kruger and Sarah Polley. The opening produced $650,000 from 150 locations.
 
Other international cumes: Disney's "Old Dogs," $33.2 million; Universal's "Black Lightning," $21.5 million; "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus," $33 million via various distributors; Disney's "Surrogates," $74.2 million; Universal's "Couples Retreat," $56.4 million; Pixar/Disney's "Up," $434.1 million; Universal's "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant," $14.2 million; Lionsgate's "The Men Who Stare at Goats," $15.8 million; Universal's "Public Enemies," $117.8 million; EuropaCorp.'s "Le Siffleur," $2.8 million over two rounds in France only; Globalfilm's "Paranormal Activity," estimated $62 million; and Paramount’s “Imagine That,” $6.9 million.
 
Also, Paramount’s “An Education,” $2 million; Sony's "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," $87.6 million; DreamWorks/Paramount's "The Lovely Bones," $7 million from Australia and New Zealand only; Paramount's "Celda 211," $15.4 million from Spain only; Paramount’s “Capitalism: A Love Story,” $1.54 million; Toei’s “One Piece Film: Strong World,” $48 million over six rounds in Japan only); Partamount’s “Case 39,” $11.6 million; and Paramount’s “Law Abiding Citizen,” $10.3 million.
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