Same old song and dance

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Universal's musical phenom "Mamma Mia!" kept up an amazing beat as it held the No. 1 place for a third straight week in the overseas market, taking in $14.5 million from 4,056 screens in 42 countries. Astounding boxoffice results continued to emerge: Korea held at No. 1 for a third week; it was the biggest opening ever for a musical in Singapore; it became the highest-grossing film of all time in Iceland; it held at No. 2 in the U.K. in its 11th weekend for a 73-day total $118.8 million. Combined with the domestic gross of $141.2 million, the worldwide gross has reached $476.1 million.

"Mamma Mia!" aside, foreign moviegoing is experiencing a relatively quiet period, allowing summer blockbusters to continue to attract attention without the presence of any new high-profile releases.

"Wanted," the comic book adaptation from Universal, landed in the No. 2 spot with $11.7 million from 25 territories, thanks mainly to a $7.7 million (from 504 screens) top-of-the-market bow in Japan.

DreamWorks/Paramount's "Tropic Thunder" entered the top 5 for the first time, highlighted by No. 1 openings in the U.K. ($4.5 million from 458 screens) and Germany ($1.5 million from 346). Its total weekend take came to $8.2 million from 1,584 screens in 23 countries for an international gross to date of $29.3 million.

Disney/Pixar's "WALL-E," as part of its fall expansion, took in $6.7 million over the weekend from 2,635 screens in 32 countries. The critics' favorite became the 28th film in Disney history to top $200 million overseas.

Recent holdovers, especially from Italy and Japan, brought Sony's Will Smith starrer "Hancock" to a $386.7 million foreign gross after a weekend score of $5.8 million from 1,515 screens in 29 markets.

Warner Bros.' "The Dark Knight," meanwhile, reached an international cume of $456 million after pulling in $4.2 million over the weekend from 3,110 screens in 62 territories.

Next weekend will seen an effort by DreamWorks/Paramount to perk up a tiring marketplace as Paramount Pictures International unleashes the action thriller "Eagle Eye" in some 13 countries day-and-date with Friday's U.S. bow. It's the picture to watch, say foreign distribution execs, who note that a picture of that caliber can emerge as the big fish in a small pond.

In the meantime, distribution companies are finding dates for new specialized films before the deluge of holiday blockbusters.

Woody Allen's Spain-filmed "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" found a rousing welcome from the Spanish audience, which shelled out $3.2 million (from 331 screenings) for a No. 1 finish under the guidance of Warner Bros. Spain.

Disney steered stablemate Miramax's "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" to $2.4 million (from 108 screens) in 10 days.

Focus Features' first overseas date for the Coen brothers' "Burn After Reading" came in Italy via Medusa Film where it opened at No. 2 to $2.9 million from 401 dates.

Local entry "Arrancame La Vida," under Fox International, stayed No. 1 in for a second weekend Mexico with $1,5 million from 537 screens.

In France, homegrown "Let's Talk About the Rain"(Studio Canal) topped the market with $2.9 million from 443 screens.

Local title "Cape No. 7," with weekend score of $1.1 million from 143 screens, dominated the Taiwan market in its fifth weekend (market cume: $4.1 million).

Sony's Adam Sandler comedy "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" climbed to $90.5 million after taking $3.6 million from 1,940 screens in 40 markets.

Another Sony comedy, the Will Ferrell starrer "Step Brothers," took in $3 million from 750 screens in 15 markets for a cume to date of $15.6 million.

And Warners' "Get Smart" reached a gross of $95.8 million after earning $1.4 million from 1,100 screens in 36 markets. (partialdiff)
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