'Button' wins int'l b.o. crown for third weekend

Brad Pitt film adds another $21 mil to overseas gross

Although eclipsed at the Academy Awards, Warners' "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" remained atop the international boxoffice for a third straight weekend, garnering $21 million from 5,636 screens in 61 markets and reinforcing its status as the biggest overseas grosser of the multiple-Oscar nominees.
 
With a foreign-gross total of $153 million gathered since its Dec. 26 opening in Australia, the David Fincher-directed film starring Brad Pitt -- which copped three "minor" awards Sunday night in contrast to "Slumdog Millionaire's" eight, which took best picture and best director wins -- easily leads other multi-Oscar-contending titles at the boxoffice.
 
Nonetheless, "Millionaire" is on a roll internationally.
 
Playing over the weekend via various distributors in 22 markets, the Danny Boyle-directed title has tallied nearly $70 million overseas over three months of total playing time. Most of the international cume has come from six territories: the U.K. (nearly $30 million so far), Australia ($8.5 million), France ($8.4 million), Italy ($4.5 million), Spain ($3 million) and India ($5.6 million). Global tally stands at nearly $170 million.
 
Director Gus Van Sant's "Milk," which won Sean Penn a best actor Oscar, has managed a foreign boxoffice total of $9.2 million since it opened in Spain  on Jan 9. Universal, which is distributing the Focus Features title overseas, predicts the "Oscar wins will be great for the run of the film."
 
"The Wrestler," denied an acting award for Mickey Rourke, hasn't gained much foreign traction at the boxoffice. Since its initial Jan. 9 overseas opening, it has grossed a total of about $5.3 million. Its Spain premiere over the weekend via Universal produced $466,00 from 155 screens. "The Wrestler" debuted in France at No. 10 with $858,949 recorded from 107 locales for a per-screen average of $7,934.
 
"The Reader" -- which won Kate Winslet a best acress Oscar -- has tallied over two months on the international circuit an estimated $10 million, with about $6.8 million from just the U.K., where it ranked No. 15 over the weekend.
 
"Frost/Nixon" entered the international arena Dec. 26 in Australia and has rolled up a total of $7 million since then. Over the weekend, the Oscar-nominated film from director Ron Howard played 400 locations in 38 markets and drew $384,000.
 
"Revolutionary Road" began its overseas foray Jan. 15 in Germany, Switzerland and Greece and has grossed a total of $46.4 million to date. The weekend provided the domestic drama with a total of $1.8 million from 1,521 screens in 42 territories.
 
Miramax/Disney's "Doubt" -- sporting five bids, including a best actress nomination for Meryl Streep -- has accumulated $13 million since its mid-January overseas debut and earned $1.5 million on the weekend on 1,005 screens in 35 territories.
 
The Clint Eastwood-directed "Changeling" has achieved a cume of $61.5 million, but it opened relatively early, on Nov. 12 in France. The Angelina Jolie vehicle had a solid $3.3 million weekend on 1,063 screens in 41 markets, most notably in Japan, where it opened at No. 1 with $2.5 million from 301 sites. (At the beginning of its foreign run, Warners' "Gran Torino," starring Eastwood, has grossed $8.1 million largely from Australia over five frames.)
 
Of the foreign-language contenders, director Laurent Cantet's "The Class," from France, played about 20 frames in Paris before landing in the U.S. on Jan. 22. So far, the international cume for the Sony Pictures Classics release is $20 million vs. $930,000 domestically.
 


Almost oblivious to prospective boxoffice benefits from an Academy Award win are the best animated film contenders. DreamWorks Animation/Paramount's "Kung Fu Panda" concluded its 25-week overseas run in November with a foreign cume of $416.5 million. With a Japan engagement, Pixar/Disney's "WALL-E" is winding down its foreign run, which began June 26. Its cume stands at $308.6 million. Nonetheless, its best animated feature Oscar could spell additional boxoffice traction on reissues.
 
"Bolt" is still running, and the weekend for this Disney Animation title provided a strong $11.7 million -- making it the No. 2 overseas title -- from 3,332 screens in 42 markets, for an international total of $154.8 million. It remained the No. 1
title in the U.K., Holland, Belgium, Sweden and Norway and was the top American title in France (No. 3 in Paris).
 
Other strong weekend finishers include 20th Century Fox International's "Valkyrie" from United Artists, which claimed the No. 3 spot with $7.5 million from 4,350 screens in 57 markets and lifted its cume to $83 million. New Line's romantic comedy "He's Just Not That Into You" finished fourth and tallied $7.8 million from 2,217 sites in 25 territories for a cume of $32.8 million.
 
At No. 5 was Disney's "Confessions of a Shopaholic," the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced comedy based on a pair of Sophie Kinsella books, which opened at No. 2 in the U.K. and garnered $6 million on the weekend overall from 1,365 screens in 10 markets. Its early overseas cume stands at $10 million in 10 days.
 
Sony's release of MGM's "The Pink Panther 2," starring Steve Martin, nabbed $6.1 million from 2,334 screens in 46 markets for a cume of $13 million.

DreamWorks/Paramount's "Hotel for Dogs," boosted by openings in 12 territories, grossed $4.6 million from 2,229 sites in 23 markets. Cume is $22.4 million so far.
 
Warners' "Yes Man," starring Jim Carrey, laughed all the way to $4.7 million from 2,086 screens in 53 territories for cume of $119.6 million. Paramount's "Friday the 13th" screamed its way to $2.7 million from 1,727 spots in 26 territories for a cume of $14.8 million.
 
Fox's "Bride Wars" came up with $3.5 million from 2,500 screens in 43 markets for a cume of $43.5 million. Sony's "The International" banked $2.4 million from 885 sites in seven territories for an early cume of $5.5 million. The same distributor's "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans" lifted its cume to $21 million thanks to a $1.5 million weekend from 793 theaters in 39 territories.
 
Summit International's "Twilight" raised its overseas cume to $181.1 million (worldwide, $370 million) thanks to a $2.5 million weekend from 1,894 screens in 31 markets. Same distrib's "Push" (co-distributed by Icon) opened at No. 7 in the U.K. and at No. 3 in Spain for an overall $2.3 million from 736 sites in seven markets.
 
Disney's local-language co-production "Hexe Lilli, der Drache und das Magische Buch," a family fantasy, opened at No. 2 in Germany with $1.9 million drawn from 454 screens. In France, local-language productions dominated the weekend. Veteran director Daniele Thompson's "Le code a change" (Change of Plans), a comedy with Dany Boon and Emmanuelle Seigner, opened at No. 1 with $4.8 million from 523 screens.
 
At No. 2 in France in its third frame was Pathe's "LOL," a mother-daughter drama with Sophie Marceau, which grossed $3.4 million from 506 locations for a market cume of $15.2 million. Opening at No. 3 was the Luc Besson-scripted "Banlieue 13 -- Ultimatum," the sequel to 2004's "Banlieue 13," an action title set in Paris' ethnic ghettos. The EuroCorp. Distribution release clocked $3.4 million from 410 locations.
 
Other international cumes: DreamWorks Animation/Paramount's "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, $401.4 million; Fox's "Taken," $39.7 million (from Fox territories only); Disney's "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," $159.8 million ($250 million worldwide); Universal's "Mamma Mia!" $450.1 million (the highest-grossing musical title ever overseas); Sony's "Seven Pounds," $87.6 million; New Line's "Inkheart," $29.9 million; Universal's "Role Models," $19.7 million; Fox's "Australia," $148.8 million; Focus Features/Universal's "Coraline," $4.9 million; New Line's "Four Christmases," $42.6 million; Universal's "The Tale of Despereaux," $28.5 million; New Line's "Appaloosa," $7.2 million; Fox's "Marley and Me," $23 million; Disney's "Bedtime Stories," $89 million; New Line's "Pride and Glory," $13.7 million; Fox's "Notorious," $3.2 million (from the U.K. and South Africa); Disney's "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," $43.7 million (thanks to a $1.3 million weekend from 871 sites in 14 markets); New Line's "Journey to the Center of the Earth," $127.4 million; and DreamWorks/Paramount's "Ghost Town," $12.4 million.
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