Holiday b.o. appeal moves into Jan.

Carry-overs see action as celebrants continue moviegoing ways

There's no halt to the holiday season at the overseas boxoffice. Forget the conventional back-to-the-grind routine in January. There's still plenty of fun time left with kids still out of school in many parts of Europe and others enjoying summer holidays in Latin America and Australia.

Moviegoers around the globe continued to strongly support the year-end holiday carry-overs, with the Ben Stiller family comedy "Night at the Museum" leading the way with a $30.3 million weekend from 5,148 screens in 38 countries. That total followed a New Year's weekend take of $48.9 million that, combined with Christmas-week openings, brought the 20th Century Fox release to an overseas cume of $119 million.

Sony's "Casino Royale" kept the 007 flag flying high with a robust $18.5 million from 5,550 screens in 60 markets that lifted the cume to $371.8 million.

Fox also had another high scorer in tow in the family fantasy "Eragon," which, mainly due to holdovers after a saturation splash for year-end viewing, reached an international gross of $138.7 million following a weekend tally of $15.9 million.

Offshore movie aficionados also plunked down $13.5 million for the animated dancing-penguins film "Happy Feet," $12 million for the romantic comedy "The Holiday," $10.1 million for the Denzel Washington sci-fi thriller "Deja Vu," and $7.8 million for the CG-animated family film "Flushed Way."

At the same time, a couple of new entries ventured into the market. Warner Bros. unleashed the Leonardo DiCaprio thriller "Blood Diamond' in seven markets, drawing $3.4 million from 485 screens. Australia opened to $1.5 million from 188 prints; Brazil to $615,000 from 100; Taiwan to $556,000 from 76; and Singapore to $339,000 from 30.

In its first overseas foray, Mel Gibson's controversial Mayan-dialect film, "Apocalypto," landed in third place in the U.K. with $2.6 million from 385 screens, arriving behind the "Night of the Museum's" $5.7 million second weekend and "Miss Potter's" $2.7 million opening weekend. According to Icon, Gibson's U.K. distribution company, "Apocalypto" enjoyed "the highest-ever opening weekend boxoffice figure for a foreign-language film in the U.K." The previous recordholder, Icon said, was Yimou Zhang's "Hero" with $2 million.

Also standing by as the new year gets under way are Sylvester Stallone's "Rocky Balboa" from Fox and Will Smith's "The Pursuit of Happyness" from Sony.

As it opened at No. 1 in a batch of small markets -- including Greece ($1.3 million from 66 screens), Portugal ($349,000 from 55), Peru, Bolivia, Bulgaria and Egypt -- "Museum" showed particular strength in holdovers, taking in $27.4 million in two weekends in the U.K., $10.1 million in Australia, $14.2 million in Germany, $12.7 million in Mexico and $2.6 million in three weekends in Korea.

Bond's rise to $371.8 million was triggered by a $4.4 million opening from 425 screens in Italy, bolstered by $99 million (which should hit $100 million by Friday) in eight weeks in the U.K., $46.6 million in seven in Germany, and $20.3 million in five in Australia. Bond's final overseas date is Jan. 30 in China, the first time an Ian Fleming spy thriller will be shown in the country, according to Sony.

"Eragon," also showing a degree of holdover stamina, delivered $18.4 million after three weekends in France, $12.6 million from Italy, and $12.5 million after four in Germany.  The festive season magic of the romantic comedy "The Holiday" prevailed into January as young adults continued to hail Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet with a stunning $12 million from 2,971 screens in 34 countries, hoisting the cume to $91.1 million.

Families are still flocking to animated films, with "Happy Feet" dancing away with $13.5 million in 59 markets (cume: $141.5 million), "Flushed Away" grossing $7.6 million from 33 (cume: $93 million), "Charlotte's Web" snaring $3.5 million from 10 (cume: $15.3 million) and "Open Season" hunting down $2 million from 30 (cume: $99.3 million).

Key market cumes for "Happy Feet" include France, $10.5 million; Spain, $9.3 million; Germany, $7.5 million; Italy, $6.3 million; and Mexico, $5.9 million.

The cume for Martin Scorsese's crime drama "The Departed" increased to $124 million after a weekend take of $3.4 million from 34 markets. "The Prestige" grossed an estimated $3.1 million over the weekend from 725 prints in 27 markets to extend its international gross to $36 million.

Clint Eastwood's "Letters From Iwo Jima," a hot contender for an Oscar nomination, ranked No. 1 for a fifth straight week in Japan, pulling in $2.1 million from 322 prints for a market cume to date of $30.4 million.

Lionsgate's comedy "Employee of the Month," starring Jessica Simpson and Dane Cook, opened a strong No. 4 in the U.K. with a positive $2.1 million from 321 screens.

Cume updates: "Saw III," $61.2 million; "An Inconvenient Truth," $17 million; "Barnyard," $32.3 million; "United 93," $40.3 million; and "You, Me and Dupree," $54.6 million.    

comments powered by Disqus