Another big 'Knight' overseas

Batman on top again in a slow late-summer frame

Batman easily dominated a torpid late-summer stanza on the international circuit as Warner Bros.' "The Dark Knight" grossed $34 million -- nearly three times its closest competitor's take -- from 7,700 screens in 62 markets during the weekend.

A No. 1 Germany opening provided $9.2 million from 955 sites (an average of $9,634 per screen, including previews), with the five-day market tally beating the total taken in Germany by 2005's "Batman Begins" by 10%, the distributor said.

There were strong No. 1 finishes as well in second weekends in France and Russia. The overall international cume for the Batman saga is $381.2 million; worldwide, the total is $870.4 million.

The weekend's top grosser domestically, DreamWorks/Paramount's "Tropic Thunder," opened at No. 1 in Australia, where the Ben Stiller satire comedy drew $2.6 million from 224 sites for a lusty $11,607 per-screen average. Its overall weekend tally was $4.8 million from 803 spots in just eight markets.

"Tropic's" early cume stands at $8.7 million overseas and $74.4 million worldwide.

Universal's demolition derby actioner "Death Race," which finished No. 3 domestically, opened in four second-tier Far East markets, drawing a total of $1.1 million from 173 locations. Its global opening-weekend tally is $13.4 million.

There were two significant newcomers to the France market: "Babylon A.D.," director Mathieu Kassovitz's sci-fi adventure with an international cast (Vin Diesel, Michelle Yeoh, Gerard Depardieu), from Canal Plus and Fox; and "La fille de Monaco," a comedy drama directed by Anne Fontaine, a production of Warner Vision France, Warners' French unit.

"Babylon" opened at No. 2 in Paris and suburbs, grossing an estimated $4.5 million overall in the territory. "Monaco" finished No. 3 in Paris and environs, tallying an estimated $4.3 million in the market as a whole.

Marvel Prods./Universal's "The Incredible Hulk" opened in a China market distracted by the Olympic Games but managed a solid opening-day tally of $692,000 from 800 playdates, Universal's biggest opening-day gross ever there. The full weekend tally is projected at $2.9 million, raising the overseas cume to $119 million (non-Universal territories included).

With an estimated $12.8 million in the weekend till from 6,200 playdates, Universal's "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" sailed past the $200 million overseas gross total (cume: $222.4 million) and ranks No. 2 overall for the weekend. Japan provided a fifth-place market ranking and $2 million from 326 screens for a market cume of $12.6 million.

The largest overseas market for studio films, the U.K., continues to be generous to the weekend's No. 3 title, Universal's "Mamma Mia!" which now stands as the 11th-biggest hit ever to play the territory. The overall international weekend tally for the hit musical is $12.5 million from 2,800 screens, raising the overseas cume to $232.5 million; in its seventh U.K. stanza, "Mamma Mia!" tallied $3 million from 480 screens, ranking No. 2 in the market.

At No. 4 overall was Sony's Adam Sandler comedy "You Don't Mess With the Zohan," which opened in seven territories. The best was in Spain, where it premiered at No. 1 with an estimated $3.4 million from 334 screens, the biggest-grossing Sandler title to bow in the market. Its overall weekend take was $10.5 million from 1,985 situations in 30 territories, pushing its overseas cume to $56.6 million.

Coming in at No. 5 was Pixar/Disney's "WALL-E," which grabbed $8.7 million from 3,905 sites in 31 territories, raising its overseas gross to $163 million; worldwide, the animation title has accumulated $379 million. Just missing the top five was Universal's "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," which generated $7.2 million from 990 situations in 20 markets for a cume of $33 million.

Warners' digitally animated "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" captured $5 million in its second round at 3,955 screens in 31 markets. Its overseas total is $15.3 million, while globally the cume is $40.3 million. The same distributor's "Get Smart" landed $4.3 million on the weekend at 1,445 sites in 52 territories for a cume of $82.8 million.

Solid returns were registered by Universal's "Wanted" ($4 million from 1,630 sites for a cume of $133 million); DreamWorks Animation/Paramount's "Kung Fu Panda" ($3.8 million from 3,285 screens in 61 markets for a cume of $372.1 million); and Disney's "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" ($3.7 million from 2,635 situations in 20 markets for a cume of $269 million, the fifth-biggest international cume of the year).

Fox's "Meet Dave" showed life with an estimated $3 million weekend from 1,550 screens in 26 markets for an overseas cume of $27.3 million. The distributor's "Taken" took another $3 million from 1,096 sites in just four markets for a foreign cume of $10.2 million. Another Fox release, "The X-Files: I Want to Believe," raised its overseas cume to $39.6 million thanks to a $1.2 million weekend from 2,000 screens in 46 markets.

Other international cumes: Universal's "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," $39.1 million; Paramount's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," $465.8 million; Sony's "Pineapple Express," $3 million; Universal's "Baby Mama," $1.7 million; Fox's "What Happens in Vegas," $134.9 million; Universal's "The Strangers," $1.4 million; Sony's "Hancock," $343.1 million (thanks to a $1.9 million weekend at 1,745 screens in 54 markets); and Fox's "Mirrors," $2.6 million.
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