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… But 'Puss' Is Huge in Russia

DreamWorks Animation SKG/Paramount Pictures

When Fox studio chairman Jim Gianopulos ran into DreamWorks Animation's Jeffrey Katzenberg at the Academy's recent Governors Awards, he wanted to talk about only one thing: the success of DWA's Puss in Boots in Russia. The Shrek spinoff has become one of the top-grossing pics of all time there, earning $50.2 million since its Oct. 27 debut. The only 2011 title to earn more in Russia is Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ($63.7 million). Box-office observers believe Puss, with a foreign cume of $142.3 million, will top $300 million internationally, doubling the $141.9 million earned in North America. "The movie is well positioned for the school holidays, and I think we have a long way to go," says Paramount International chief Anthony Marcoly. As the domestic box office continues to flounder, it's no wonder studio chiefs would rather focus on overseas growth fueled by Russia, China and Brazil, where emerging middle classes turn out in droves for Hollywood tentpoles. Some say Puss is being helped by a French fairy tale also titled Puss in Boots, which remains popular in Europe. The toon also is appealing to Latin markets with help from lead voices Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek. ¡Que bueno!