'Museum' top ticket at int'l b.o.

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With no significant new competition, 20th Century Fox International's "Night at the Museum" continued to lead the pack internationally, taking the No. 1 spot for the second consecutive weekend with an estimated $29.8 million from about 5,000 screens in 38 markets.

The weekend saw an eclectic mix of smaller titles opening on a limited basis in select markets, notable among these Warner Bros. International's "Blood Diamond," starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto."

"Diamond" nailed down an estimated $3.4 million from about 514 screens, mostly in Australia, Brazil, Taiwan and Singapore. "Apocalypto" dipped its toes (via Gibson's Icon Film Distribution concern) in overseas waters with a No. 2 bow -- after "Museum" -- in the U.K., nabbing an estimated $2.7 million from 385 screens.

In the U.K., "Museum" finished first in the market with an estimated $5.9 million from 486 screens for a market total of $27.5 million. Its international gross is $116.7 million, and $280.8 million worldwide.

The Ben Stiller comedy also finished at No. 1 in Germany (an estimated $5.5 million, up 8% from the previous weekend, from 860 screens for a market total of $14.7 million), Mexico ($2 million from 876 locations, for a cume of $12 million), Taiwan ($719,000 from 162 sites, for a cume of $4.3 million), Korea ($2.5 million in its third weekend from 344 locations, for a strong $20.2 million cume) and Peru (an estimated $471,000 from 82 situations, an exceptionally strong bow for the market).

In Russia, Fox said that "Museum's" gain from last weekend was a whopping 129%, with an estimated $3.7 million from 456 screens for a market total of $8.5 million. In Australia, the weekend take was an estimated $2.7 million from 363 sites for a territorial total of $10.1 million.

Thanks to a surge in several holdover markets, Sony Pictures Releasing International's "Casino Royale" finished second for the weekend with an estimated $19.2 million -- up 16% from last weekend -- from 5,045 screens in 60 markets. A No. 1 bow in Italy for an estimated $4.6 million from 425 screens nearly doubled the market's previous best Bond launch, that of 2002's "Die Another Day."

In the U.K., "Casino" is expected to pass the $100 million market total by Friday, which would make the Agent 007 sequel the third-biggest title (after 1997's "Titanic" at $114 million and 2003's "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" at $106 million) to play this key market.

Finishing at No. 3 for the weekend is Fox's family fantasy adventure "Eragon," which garnered an estimated $15.4 million from about 7,200 screens in 55 markets, hiking its international gross to $139.3 million.

In fourth place is WBI's "Happy Feet," the animation title about singing and dancing penguins, which grossed an estimated $13.4 million from about 5,600 sites in 59 markets. Its international total is $141.1 million.

Universal International's "The Holiday" finished fifth, drawing an estimated $12 million from 3,188 screens in 43 markets, raising its international gross to a festive $91 million. UI expects the film to reach the $100 million mark by the weekend.

Writer-director Nancy Meyers' romantic comedy, co-starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, finished No. 3 in France and in the No. 4 spots in the U.K., Australia, Brazil and Germany -- the latter being the biggest of the holdover territories, with an estimated $2.1 million in its fourth weekend from 519 screens, up 3% from last weekend, for a market total of $12.1 million. "Holiday" has 14 more markets to play, with Mexico and Argentina up next.

Buena Vista International's "Deja Vu," the action title starring Denzel Washington, slugged its way to an estimated $8.1 million from 3,048 situations in 30 territories, lifting its overseas gross to $68.7 million -- $6.5 million more than its domestic take.

A pair of animation titles from Paramount Pictures International -- "Flushed Away" and "Charlotte's Web" -- continue respectably. "Flushed" nabbed an estimated $7.2 million from 4,041 screens in 56 territories, raising its overseas cume to $92.2 million. "Web" spun an estimated $3.4 million from 1,881 sites in 16 markets, good for an international cume of $15.2 million.

A pair of WBI titles, "The Departed" and "The Prestige," also are plugging along. "Departed," the Martin Scorsese crime drama, yielded an estimated $2.2 million from 2,600 screens in 34 markets for an overseas total of $119.7 million. "Prestige" garnered an estimated $2.8 million from 4,490 locations in 26 territories, and its international total is $35.6 million.

Clint Eastwood's companion films from WBI, "Letters From Iwo Jima" and "Flags of Our Fathers," continue to have differing receptions. "Letters" is performing like gangbusters in a single market, Japan, where it is No. 1 in its fifth weekend with an estimated $2 million from 322 screens for a cume of $30.3 million. "Flags," meanwhile, has played much longer and on a bigger theatrical basis but managed just $927,000 during the weekend from 313 screens in 11 markets. Its international total stands at a mild-mannered $25.1 million.

Among the international newcomers during the weekend is Lionsgate's "Employee of the Month," with Jessica Simpson and Dane Cook. The comedy bowed in the U.K. to an estimated $2 million from 320 sites. Also in the U.K., Momentum Releasing debuted "Miss Potter," with Renee Zellweger, to an estimated $2.5 million from 338 situations (the Weinstein Co. opened the film domestically).

Sony bowed "Marie Antoinette," with Kirsten Dunst, in Spain to an estimated $800,000 at 110 sites, enough to qualify for the market's No. 3 spot. In France and Spain, BVI opened "Hollywoodland," with Ben Affleck, at a combined 185 screens, pulling in an estimated $700,000 from both markets.

Other cume updates: Fox's "A Good Year," $22.8 million; Lionsgate's "Saw III," $60 million (after an estimated $550,00 during the weekend in 35 markets); UI's "Children of Men," $32 million ($43.9 million worldwide); Fox's "Deck the Halls, $10.9 million; and PPI's "Babel," $12.4 million.
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