'Button' continues int'l winning streak

Film at No. 1 for fourth weekend with another $13.4 mil

It may have played second fiddle at the Academy Award ceremony with its three "minor" citations, but Warner Bros.' "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" retained boxoffice strength on the international circuit, grossing an estimated $14 million from 5,230 screens in about 61 territories.

The Brad Pitt vehicle directed by David Fincher has accumulated foreign boxoffice of $177 million since opening overseas Dec. 26. It also has retained its No. 1 foreign spot for a fourth consecutive weekend, albeit in what was a bland stanza overall.

Propelled by its eight Oscar wins, "Slumdog Millionaire" bounced to the No. 2 slot overall, scoring impressive gains in most of the markets it played. The Danny Boyle outing took the 1 spot in the U.K. ($2.4 million from 449 sites) after playing seven frames in the market. It was also No. 1 in Spain, Portugal, Mexico and Argentina.

In a big boost in France, the "Slumdog" tally in the seventh market frame was $1.8 million from 273 sites -- an eye-popping increase of 63% from the previous weekend -- while in India, the weekend bounced up a humongous 216% from the previous frame. (India cume is $6.3 million, as per 20th Century Fox Int'l, which is handling the territory.)

"Slumdog's" 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 $11 million. The international cume to date is an estimated $97 million.

The Weinstein Co.'s "The Reader" opened via Senator Ent. at No. 1 in Germany with $3.6 million from 359 screens. In Nazi war crime drama and best actress Oscar vehicle for Kate Winslet also opened No. 4 in Austria, where it scored $161,790 from 30 spots for a per-screen average of $5,393.

"Reader" 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 $7.34 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 499 sites in 21 markets. Overseas cume stands at $11.2 million since the film about gay activist Harvey Milk began its international run Jan. 9. Universal's "Frost/Nixon" has rolled up an unprepossessing foreign cume of $7.3 million since its overseas opening Dec. 26.

No. 3 on the weekend was Warners' "Gran Torino" with Clint Eastwood, which yielded $9.2 million from 1,113 screens in 10 markets for an early foreign cume of $18.2 million. A No. 1 France opening provided $5.3 million from 422 theaters and a torrid per-screen average of nearly $12,600. Warners said it was the highest opening gross in the market for any Eastwood title.

Tied for No. 4 was United Artists/Fox's "Valkyrie," which grossed $7.6 million from 3,500 screens in 57 markets for a foreign cume of $93.5 million. Noteworthy was a No. 1 opening in China that generated $3.6 million from 800 sites.

Also No. 4 was Disney's "Bolt," grossed $7.6 million from 3,089 screens in 34 markets for an international cume of $166.2 million. France led strong holdover market action with $2.4 million from 702 sites, down a mere 32.5% from the previous frame. Third weekends in Belgium and 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 $1.9 million from 408 screens), Mexico, South Africa and Poland for a weekend tally of $6.1 million from 3,120 locations in 56 markets. It ranked fifth on the weekend overall. Its cume stands at $22 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," Disney said). Overall, the weekend produced $5 million from 1,463 locations in 14 territories for an overseas cume of $17.8 million.

The thriller "The International" opened in the U.K. ($1.1 million from 379 screens, No. 6 in the market), Korea, Russia, United Arab Emirates and the Philippines for a total of $4.5 million on the weekend from 1,831 theaters in 29 territories. The cume is $10.9 million. Sony's "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" came in with $2.5 million from 1,157 screens in 36 markets for a cume of $24 million.

Universal's horror outing "The Unborn" opened in the U.K. (where it finished No. 2), Australia, Italy and Korea, amassing $4.1 million overall from 897 locations in 14 markets for a cume of $11 million. DreamWorks/Paramount's "Hotel For Dogs" registered $3.6 million from 2,071 locations in 25 markets for a cume of $29 million.

Fox's "Bride Wars" came in at $3.5 million from 1,755 screens in 37 terr itories for a cume of $48.2 million. New Line's romantic comedy "He's Just Not That Into You" lifted its overseas cume to $41 million after a $4.9 million weekend at 2,091 screens in 28 markets. Warners' "Yes Man" grabbed $3.1 million from 1,630 sites in 49 markets for a cume of $125.1 million.

Universal's "Changeling" pushed its cume to $67.1 million thanks to a $2.7 million weekend from 1,176 locations in 34 markets. Also, Universal's "Role Models" opened at No. 7 in Germany and No. 5 in Austria, laughing all the way to $1.8 million overall from 947 screens in 20 territories. The cume is $21.7 million.

Miramax/Disney's "Doubt" nudged its cume to $14.8 million on the strength of a $1 million weekend from 690 sites in 33 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 $2 million from 597 screens for a market cume of $5 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 $2.3 million from 340 sites, ranking No. 4 in the market.

Finishing No. 2 in France was "LOL," a mother-daughter drama with Sophie Marceau, which grabbed $2.7 million from 511 screens for a four-frame cume of $19.5 million. At No. 4 was director Daniele Thompson's comedy "Change of Plans," which grossed $2.3 million in its second weekend at 52 3 sites for a cume of $8 million.

Other international cumes: DreamWorks/Paramount's "Revolutionary Road," $48.4 million; Paramount's "Friday the 13th," $18.7 million; "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," $45.3 million; Universal's "Mamma Mia!" $453.1 million; Fox's "Australia," $151.3 million; Sony's "Seven Pounds," $92.3 million; New Line's "Inkheart," $31.7 million; Disney's "Bedtime Stories," $92.3 million; New Line's "Four Christmases," $42.7 million; Fox's "Taken," $70.1 million; Focus/Universal's "Coraline," $6.2 million; New Line's "Pride and Glory," $14.1 million; Universal's "The Tale of Despereaux," $30.4 million; Focus' "Burn After Reading," $94.6 million; New Line's "Appaloosa," $7.3 million; New Line's "Journey to the Center of the Earth," $127.6 million; Fox's "Marley & Me, " $24.2 million; and DreamWorks Animation/Paramount's "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa," $402.1 million.
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