The 'Museum' of global popularity

Comedy No. 1 o'seas for 5th week, nears $200 mil

With nary an Oscar nomination to its name, 20th Century Fox International's "Night at the Museum" continued to lead the pack internationally, finishing No. 1 for the fifth consecutive weekend with an estimated $14.6 million from about 2,500 screens in 48 markets.

"Museum's" international total gross is $193.7 million ($410.4 million including North America). Fox is shooting for an overseas cume of $200 million for the Ben Stiller comedy.

No. 1 debuts for the weekend netted "Museum" an estimated $5.6 million from 483 screens in Spain and $800,000 from 96 sites — for a meaty per-screen average of $8,333 — in the Philippines.

The biggest holdover territory was the U.K., where "Museum" garnered an estimated $2.4 million in its fourth weekend at 453 sites, for a market total of $39.4 million. Upcoming this weekend are bows in Italy and Sweden.

Thanks to a powerful Japan bow, plus a best actor Oscar nomination for Will Smith, Sony Pictures Releasing International's "The Pursuit of Happyness" finished No. 2 on the weekend, racking up an estimated $12.5 million from about 2,000 screens in 15 territories including Italy (where Medusa Distribuzione has releasing rights). Overseas gross total to date stands at $48 million.

"Happyness" finished second in the all-important Japan market — behind local-language "Dororo," a samurai action-adventure co-produced by Toho Co. and Tokyo Broadcasting System — snaring an estimated $3.1 million from 274 screens. Key holdover markets included the U.K., where the title finished No. 3 with an estimated $2.4 million from 404 situations for a third-weekend cume of $14.1 million.

The film took top spots in Germany (an estimated $2.1 million from 520 sites for a cume over two weekends of $5.9 million) and New Zealand ($270,000 from 51 screens). It held well in Australia at $1.3 million from 222 locales, down a mere 21% from last weekend, for a market cume of $7.9 million. Next weekend's openings for "Happyness" include France, Spain, Mexico, Brazil and Holland.

Cracking the top five for the first time at No. 3 is Warner Bros. International's "Blood Diamond," which nabbed five Oscar noms, including best actor for Leonardo DiCaprio. Weekend estimate is $11.6 million from 2,450 screens, raising "Diamond's" international gross total to $26.4 million.

Biggest of the market bows were the U.K. (ranking No. 2 with an estimated $2.9 million from 371 screens), Germany ($1.5 million from 503 sites) and Italy ($1.5 million from 280 locations). WBI said "Diamond" is expected" to finish No. 1 in Austria, Israel, Norway, Switzerland, South Africa and Hong Kong.

Placing No. 4 is Fox's release of MGM's "Rocky Balboa," which tallied an estimated $10.2 million from about 2,000 screens in 11 markets. Overseas total to date stands at $38.2 million.

Finishing in the No. 5 slot is "Babel." The recipient of seven Oscar nominations, including best picture, the Summit Entertainment/Paramount Pictures International-Vantage release scored an estimated $5.4 million on the weekend from 1,089 screens, lifting its overseas total to $54.9 million. The best individual market result was logged in Spain, where "Babel" bagged an estimated $1.2 million from 213 screens, lifting the territorial cume to $9.4 million.

Flying past the $400 million plus mark internationally is SPRI's "Casino Royale," which is now the 23rd biggest overseas grosser ever at $405.1 million. It earned an estimated $3.2 million from about 2,000 screens in 48 markets.

Worldwide gross for the James Bond actioner stands at $570.5 million. Up next is its debut in China, the first 007 title to play the market.

With its five Oscar nominations including best picture and director, Martin Scorsese's crime drama "The Departed" grossed an estimated $2.8 million on the weekend from 1,250 screens in 33 markets. International total now stands at $138.7 million.

UI's "Smokin' Aces," which bowed at No. 2 domestically, is off to a rousing start in Russia, where it debuted No. 1 this weekend with an estimated $1.7 million from 326 screens. In the U.K., the weekend estimated is $575,000 in its third weekend for a 17-day market cume of $5.3 million. Overall, the crime actioner grossed an estimated $2.3 million from the U.K. and Russia. Up next weekend are openings in the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.

Fox released the satirical comedy "Epic Movie," the No. 1 title in the U.S., in four international markets, earning an estimated $2.2 million from 267 screens.

Other Oscar-related titles include PPI's "Dreamgirls," with eight nominations, which pulled an estimated $2 million from 595 screens in five territories; Fox's "The Last King of Scotland," with a best actor nomination for Forest Whitaker, which yielded $1.2 million from 272 spots in five markets; BVI's "Venus," which netted Peter O'Toole a best actor Oscar nomination, $675,000 from 195 screens in its U.K. opening; Clint Eastwood's "Letters From Iwo Jima," the WBI release with four nominations, $838,000 in its eighth week in Japan at 307 screens, for a market cume of $37.6 million; WBI's "The Prestige," with a pair of nominations, $1.9 million from 1,150 locations in 39 markets; and Fox's "Borat," with one nomination for its adapted screenplay, $155,000 from 200 screens, for an overseas cume of $118.9 million.
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