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It was a merry Christmas indeed for the overseas movie biz as holiday revelers turned out in droves to applaud a diverse group of films.

Paramount/DreamWorks' "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" led the way with an estimated $31 million from 6,221 locations in 58 territories, raising its international gross to $278 million.

Two Fox offerings also delivered a stocking full of boxoffice gifts: Baz Luhrmann's Western epic "Australia," backed by 45 new openings, lassoed a hefty $26.1 million from 4,500 screens in 51 markets, raising its overseas cume to $46.2 million, and the sci-fi sequel "The Day the Earth Stood Still" crossed the $100 million mark overseas as it pulled in $20.3 million from 6,500 playdates in 62 markets.

Among Disney-branded family attractions, the Adam Sandler starrer "Bedtime Stories" aroused $13.5 million as it opened at 2,003 sites in 15 territories, the animated "Bolt" latched on to $6.5 million from 2,300 screens in 24 markets to lift its foreign gross to $45.5 million, and Disney/Pixar's long-running "WALL-E" saw its overseas cume rise to $282.2 million as it held the No. 1 spot in Japan for a fourth consecutive week ($2.1 million, for a market cume of $24 million).

Comedy paid off for Warner Bros. as the Jim Carrey starrer "Yes Man" laughed to $9.1 million from 1,385 screens in 14 markets. The film ranked No. 1 in the U.K., followed by "Bedtime Stories" and "Australia."

Limited Christmas Day openings saw "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," for which Warner Bros. has foreign rights, arrive at No. 1 in Australia with $2.3 million from 251 screens. Also, Fox's "Marley & Me" took the No. 1 spot in Brazil with $1.4 million from 174 screens, while Sony's Will Smith starrer "Seven Pounds" came in third in the territory with $1.3 million from 200 screens. (partialdiff)
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