New entries can't stop Homer

'Simpsons' dominates overseas for third weekend in a row

As the tentpoles of a highly successful overseas summer season slowly start to taper off, a select batch of new entries, via scattered bookings around the globe, are entering the market to take advantage of the waning vacation days of August.

For the third weekend in a row, however, Fox's animated "The Simpsons Movie" dominated the market with a weekend tally of $24.1 million, followed by $21 million for Warner Bros. Pictures' "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," $19 million for Disney International's "Ratatouille," $15.8 million for Paramount/DreamWorks' "Transformers" and $11.9 million for Fox's "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer."

Top newcomer in a still exceptionally friendly international market was another sequel in a harvest year of repeats: "Rush Hour 3," which debuted with a solid $8.7 million from 605 screens in six countries. Universal's "Evan Almighty," which has been waiting for openings as earlier tentpoles slow down, took in $5.7 million from seven markets as its main overseas drive gets under way. Universal's "The Bourne Ultimatum," the third film in the franchise, is also expanding its run and brought in $4.1 million from 357 screens from 10 small markets. Paramount fantasy adventure "Stardust" took in almost $3 million from its single bow in Russia. Warners' "Ocean's Thirteen," dormant for some time, had a $6 million weekend thanks to a $5 million opening in Japan. And Sony's animated "Surf's Up," which is advancing into major markets for the first time, took in $5 million over the weekend.

For 20th Century Fox International, it was a particularly satisfactory weekend, as "The Simpsons" ($24.1 million) and "Fantastic Four" ($11.9 million) made the weekend's top five international grossing films and "Die Hard 4.0" came close, with $7.2 million (cume: $204.7 million).

"The Simpsons" reached a cume of $232 million in its third weekend of international release. Most of the weekend business came from strong holdovers. The U.K., at its third weekend, delivered $4.4 million from 506 screens for a market cume of $60.6 million. Other third-weekend tallies include France, with $2.6 million for a market total of $19.6 million; Germany, with $3 million for a total of $19.6 million; and Australia, $2.2 million for a total of $22.2 million. Mexico provided $1.9 million in its second weekend for a market cume of $11.6 million.

The Harry Potter train is moving forward at full speed as "Phoenix" lifted its cume to an eye-catching $550 million after grossing $21 million over the weekend from almost 8,200 prints in 61 territories. Warner Bros. said it represents a drop of 34% for the holdover territories. Key market updates show a cume of $89.2 million from the U.K., $56 million from Germany, $51.8 million from Japan, $44.6 million from France and $28.5 million from Australia.

As it slowly makes its way around the globe, the animated "Ratatouille" hoisted its cume to $118.9 million as it took in $19 million over the weekend from 3,245 screens in 26 markets. Disney said that the French rat who fancies himself a chef dropped off only 15% in food-conscious France, holding the No. 1 spot for a second weekend with $8.8 million from 725 screens for a market cume of $24.8 million. During the Oban holiday weekend in Japan, the Disney/Pixar offering fell only 10%, taking in $2.1 million from 323 screens for a market cume to date of $15.8 million. "Ratatouille" has reservations in key European markets for September and October.

"Transformers" shot up to $328.9 million after its weekend haul of $15.8 million from 4,821 screens in 43 markets. Opening in only Iceland and East Africa over the weekend, the toy-based sci-fi actioner depended mainly on holdover action. A total of $36.5 million has come from the U.K. in 17 days, $50.5 million from Korea in six weeks, $10.2 million from Germany in 12 days, $13.5 million from Japan in nine days and $16.7 million from Mexico in three weeks.

"Fantastic Four" moved up to a cume of $122.9 million after its $11.9 million weekend in 10 markets, marked by a No. 1 bow in Spain ($3.4 million from 506 screens), a No. 2 arrival in France ($4.6 million from 750) and a No. 3 opening in South Korea ($2.8 million from 320).

"Rush Hour 3's" $8.8 million entry into the overseas market was sparked by its No. 1 greeting from the U.K., which delivered $5.6 million from 358 screens. All in all, it played at 605 screens in six markets and has six dates for this coming weekend, including Germany and Hong Kong.

"Evan Almighty," picking up wind as it reaches larger markets, hit a cume of $22.6 million after a weekend take of $5.7 million. Germany came through with a No. 4 welcome of $1.3 million in four days from 346 screens. "Evan" spreads out to France and Belgium, among other markets, this coming weekend.

"The Bourne Ultimatum" makes a major step forward this coming weekend as it's set to open in the U.K.

Cume updates: "Ocean's Thirteen," $169 million; "Shrek the Third," $412.1 million; "Knocked Up," $16.8 million; "Hot Fuzz," $54.1 million; "Hairspray," $20.5 million; "The Number 23," $39.3 million; and "Next," $27.8 million.
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