'Button' still atop o'seas boxoffice

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It might have played second fiddle at the Academy Award ceremonies, but Warner Bros.' "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" retains boxoffice strength on the international circuit, grossing an estimated $13.4 million from 5,140 screens in about 60 territories during the weekend.

The Brad Pitt vehicle directed by David Fincher has accumulated foreign boxoffice of $176.2 million since opening overseas Dec. 26. It has also retained its No. 1 foreign spot for the fourth consecutive weekend, albeit in what was an bland stanza overall.

Propelled by its eight Oscar wins, "Slumdog Millionaire" bounced to the No. 1 spot in the U.K. ($2.3 million from 462 sites) after playing seven frames in the market. In a big boost in France, the tally in its seventh frame was $1.6 million from 240 sites — an increase of 40% from the previous weekend — for a cume of $10.5 million.

The estimated weekend take across 26 markets — excluding another 10 territories for which Fox has not obtained boxoffice data (in many territories, the film is being handled by local distributors)— is at least $5 million. The international cume is an estimated $85 million.

The Weinstein Co.'s "The Reader" opened at No. 1 in Germany with $3.2 million from 361 screens. The best actress Oscar vehicle for Kate Winslet has opened via various local distributors in 15 mostly second-tier markets since Jan. 2, the date it bowed in the U.K., where it has accumulated $7.4 million. Its estimated international total stands at $15.5 million.

The best actor vehicle for Sean Penn, Focus Features/Universal's "Milk," got a much-needed jolt over the weekend, grossing $1.5 million from 575 sites in 26 markets, a 34% increase from the previous frame. Overseas cume stands at $11 million since the film about gay activist Harvey Milk began its international run on Jan. 9. Universal's "Frost/Nixon" has rolled up an unprepossessing foreign cume of $7.3 million since its overseas opening on Dec. 26.

No. 2 on the weekend was Warners' "Gran Torino" with Clint Eastwood, which yielded $8.3 million from 1,115 screens in 10 markets for an early foreign cume of $17.3 million. A No. 1 France opening provided $5 million from 424 situations and a torrid per-screen average of nearly $12,000. Warners said it was the highest opening gross in the market for any Eastwood title.

No. 3 was United Artists/Fox's "Valkyrie," which grossed $7.6 million from 4,500 screens in 57 markets for a foreign cume of $93.2 million. Noteworthy wa s a No. 1 opening in China that generated $3.6 million from 800 sites.

The No. 4 title, Disney's "Bolt," grossed $7.2 million from 3,612 screens in 31 markets for an international cume of $166.5 million. France led strong holdover market action with $2.2 million from 690 sites, down a mere 35% from the previous frame, for a cume of $19.4 million. Third weekends in Belgium and the Holland were up 109% and 22%, respectively, thanks to school holiday business.

MGM/Sony's "The Pink Panther 2" with Steve Martin opened in Spain (at No. 2 with $2.4 million from 377 screens), Mexico, South Africa and Poland for a weekend tally of $6.8 million from 3,150 locations in 56 markets. It ranked fifth on the weekend overall. Its cume stands at $22.7 million.

"Confessions of a Shopaholic," the comedy from producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney, opened No. 1 in Italy with $2 million from 450 locations (triple the comparable market opening of "Bride Wars," said Disney). Overall, the weekend produced $4.9 million from 1,393 locations in 10 territories for an overseas cume of $17.6 million.

The thriller "The International" opened in the U.K. ($1.1 million from 385 screens, No. 5 in the market) and Korea, Russia, United Arab Emirates and the Philippines for a total of $4.4 million on the weekend from 1,765 situations in 29 territories. The cume is $10.8 million. Sony's "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" came in with $4.1 million from 1,180 screens in 36 markets for a cume of $29.4 million.

Universal's horror outing "The Unborn" opened in the U.K. (where it finished No. 2), Australia, Italy and Korea, amassing $4 million overall from 897 loc ations in 14 markets for a cume of $11 million. DreamWorks/Paramount's "Hotel For Dogs" also registered $4 million from 2,231 situations in 31 markets for a cume of $29 million.

Fox's "Bride Wars" came in at $3.3 million from 2,100 screens in 37 territories for a cume of $48.2 million. New Line's romantic comedy "He's Just Not that Into You" lifted its overseas cume to $39.5 million after a $3.4 million weekend at 2,146 screens in 29 markets. Warners' "Yes Man" grabbed $2.8 million from 1,747 sites in 49 markets for a cume of $124.8 million.

Universal's "Changeling" pushed its cume to $66.7 million thanks to a $2.5 million weekend from 1,137 situations in 43 markets. Also, Universal's "Role Models" opened No. 7 in Germany and No. 5 in Austria, laughing all the way to $2.2 million overall from 912 screens in 21 territories. The cume is $22 million.

Miramax/Disney's "Doubt" nudged its cume to $15 million on the strength of a $1.2 million weekend from 1,036 sites in 35 territories. In Germany, Disney's local-language production "Hexe Lilli, der Drache und das Magische Buch," a family fantasy, grabbed the No. 2 spot with $1.6 million from 470 screens for a market cume of $4.2 million in two frames.

In France, Mars Distribution opened "Cyprien" with Catherine Deneuve. The comedy about a 35-year-old virgin who proves irresistible to women following the use of a magic deodorant sniffed out $1.9 million from 400 sites, ranking No. 5 in the market.

Finishing No. 2 in France was "LOL," a mother-daughter drama with Sophie Marceau, which grab bed $2.4 million from 490 screens for a four-frame cume of $19.3 million. No. 4 was director Daniele Thompson's "Change of Plans," which grossed $2 million in its second weekend at 513 sites for a cume of $7.8 million.

Other international cumes: DreamWorks/Paramount's "Revolutionary Road," $48.6 million; Paramount's "Friday the 13th," $18.7 million; "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," $45.3 million; Universal's "Mamma Mia!" $452.1 million; Fox's "Australia," $151.3 million; Sony's "Seven Pounds," $92.2 million; New Line's "Inkheart," $31 million; Disney's "Bedtime Stories," $92.1 million; New Line's "Four Christmases," $43 million; Fox's "Taken," $70.1 million; Focus/Universal's "Coraline," $6.3 million; New Line's "Pride and Glory," $14 million; Universal's "The Tale of Despereaux," $30.4 million; Focus' "Burn After Reading," $94.6 million; New Line's "Appaloosa," $7.4 million; New Line's "Journey to the Center of the Earth," $128 million; and Fox's "Marley & Me, " $24.2 million.
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