'Mamma' wards off competition overseas

Universal musical takes top spot for fifth frame

Universal's "Mamma Mia!" again reigned over an increasingly scattered international circuit with an estimated $14.1 million from 4,406 screens in 47 markets, hiking its cumulative overseas take to $377.2 million.

The weekend saw a rush of single-market or limited runs launched on behalf of nearly 10 fresh titles. The most popular new Hollywood studio contribution was Disney's "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," which premiered No. 1 at the domestic boxoffice.

The talking-dog comedy opened day-and-date in Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, South Africa and Colombia to an estimated $4.8 million from 810 screens. That was enough to qualify for the No. 5 spot internationally.

The weekend's best solo-market bow was Paramount's U.K. release of FilmFour's "How to Lose Friends & Alienate People." The comedy, based on Toby Young's account of his struggles as a young British writer working in New York for Vanity Fair magazine, opened No. 1 in the market with $2.1 million from 449 screens.

Taking the top spot internationally for a fifth-straight frame, "Mamma Mia!" benefited from a first-place opening in Italy, where it lured $2.8 million from 302 sites for a per-screen average of $9,272. That was quite a feat, Universal noted, because the Italy market usually is resistant to musicals.

Pixar/Disney's "WALL-E" claimed the weekend's second spot internationally with $10.9 million from 3,583 screens in 35 territories, hiking its overseas cume to $230.3 million -- $9.5 million more than the animation title's domestic take. The big contributor was Germany, where "WALL-E" beat its opening weekend by 10% with an estimated $5.4 million from 780 locations.

In third place was DreamWorks/Paramount's "Eagle Eye," which garnered $8.3 million from 2,038 screens in 31 territories during its second weekend, raising its international cume to $15.2 million. The action-thriller opened No. 1 in Singapore and drew $2.1 million during its Russia debut on 438 screens.

Paramount's "Tropic Thunder" placed fourth with $5.2 million from 1,824 screens in 36 markets, raising its overseas cume to $49.2 million. Its big contributor was the U.K., where the Ben Stiller satire ranked No. 3 with $1.8 million from 425 locations.

Sony released "Lakeview Terrace" in France, where the drama, starring Samuel L. Jackson as a racist Los Angeles police officer, ranked fifth with $1.1 million from 189 screens. Paramount premiered "The Duchess," starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes, in Australia, where the period drama drew $880,000 from 181 spots. Disney opened Miramax's "Brideshead Revisited" in the No. 8 spot in the U.K., drawing $710,000 from 255 locations.

New Line's "Appaloosa" opened No. 4 in Paris and its suburbs and garnered $1.5 million from the overall France market. As of late last week, Ed Harris' Western, also starring Jeremy Irons, Viggo Mortensen and Renee Zellweger, had grossed $400,000 overseas.

Sony opened "Righteous Kill," a Robert De Niro-Al Pacino crime drama, in Spain to $1.6 million from 315 locations. In the U.K., "Kill" ranked sixth with $930,000 from 380 screens.

20th Century Fox got solid results from "Mirrors," a horror film starring Kiefer Sutherland, which opened strong in Spain and garnered $4.6 million during the weekend from 1,500 screens in 27 territories, increasing its overseas cume to $18.8 million. Fox's "Taken" scored $4 million from 1,000 sites in 18 markets, upping its international cume to $30.4 million. The crime drama, starring Liam Neeson, was No. 2 in the U.K. during its second weekend in that market, drawing $2.2 million from 398 locations.

Disney's release of Miramax's "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas," set to open Nov. 7 in the U.S., scored $3.1 million from 435 screens in the U.K. and Spain. The period drama's overseas cume stands at $11.5 million, from only those two territories.

Other weekend tallies, plus international cumes, include: Universal's "Death Race," $3.5 million from 1,116 screens, cume $17.2 million; Fox's "Babylon A.D.," $2.5 million from 900 screens, cume $13.4 million; Universal's "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor," $2.7 million from 2,438 sites, cume $286.7 million; Sony's "You Don't Mess With the Zohan," $2.4 million from 1,325 screens, cume $96.9 million; Universal's "Wanted," $2.5 million from 1,455 situations, cume $187.9 million; and Sony's "The House Bunny," $1.4 million from 445 screens, cume $2.7 million.

The top spot in France went to "Go Fast," Olivier Van Hoofstad's local-language action title about drug-running from Spain to North Africa, which debuted by earning $4 million in that market. At No. 3 in France was "Cliente" (Client), starring Nathalie Baye as a middle-aged woman who pays a young male escort for sex. The film's opening tally in that market was $2.5 million.

Other overseas cumes include: Universal's "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," $64.4 million; Sony's "Step Brothers," $21.4 million; Warner Bros.' "The Dark Knight," $461.7 million; Sony's "Hancock," $394.4 million; Warners' "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," $31.2 million; Universal's "Wild Child," $14.6 million; DreamWorks/Paramount's "Kung Fu Panda," $412.5 million; Fox's "Meet Dave," $35.6 million; and Warners' "Nights in Rodanthe," $3.9 million.
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