WBI's 'Legend' becoming one internationally

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The year concluded in solid if not spectacular fashion as "I Am Legend" and "The Golden Compass" combined with a mix of holiday newcomers to end 2007 with a mini flourish at the international boxoffice.

"Legend" and "Compass" finished 1-2 in the overseas tally for the weekend.

Robust holiday business with school holidays in force in most parts of the world certainly helped. 20th Century Fox International, for example, reported that its family-oriented "Alvin and the Chipmunks" experienced an astounding 92% rise in its second-weekend boxoffice in France. Why? In short, the kids were out.

Still, it was "Legend," starring Will Smith, that market-for-market was the clear winner. In just 25 territories — fewer than half the markets playing "Compass" — the Warner Bros. International release garnered $46 million from 3,400 theaters.

That works out to an average of $13,529 per screen, an extraordinary number. "Legend's" international boxoffice total through Jan. 1 stands at $126 million. The global tally is $331.1 million.

In its No. 1 opening in the U.K., "Legend" took nearly half the market share claimed by the top five boxoffice films, coming away with a jaw-dropping $22 million from 670 locations, or an average of nearly $33,000 per screen. In addition to first-place bows in Denmark and Portugal, the film took in a smashing $7 million in its second France weekend from 623 prints, for a market cume of $18 million.

In Spain, "Legend" generated $3.1 million in its second weekend at 446 locations for a cume of $13.4 million. In its third weekend in Japan, the Smith vehicle grabbed $2.3 million from 424 sites for a market cume of $21.3 million.

Speaking of Smith, the actor certainly is in the running as 2007's international boxoffice man of the year. Combining the overseas results of "Legend" and the star's "The Pursuit of Happyness" — which Sony ranks as its No. 2 foreign release last year — Smith-toplined titles generated $267.7 million in 2007.

"Compass" continued to make its boxoffice bread overseas with a strong opening in Australia, an estimated $5 million over five days at 327 screens. Its overall weekend tally stood at $34 million from 7,600 theaters in 54 markets, hoisting its international cume to $187 million.

The lustiest newcomer joining the international pack was Fox's sci-fi outing "Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem," which generated a nifty $16.4 million from 1,877 sites in 20 markets and ranked in fifth position during the weekend.

It finished No. 1 in at least a half-dozen territories. The biggest in dollar terms was Germany, where the weekend tally was $4.6 million from 553 screens. In Malaysia, "Requiem" drew $1.3 million from 125 locations, Fox's biggest opening in the market and the fourth-biggest ever there from any studio.

Another notable newcomer, though on a more modest level, was Paramount's release in Australia of the Coen brothers' crime drama "No Country for Old Men," which drew $1 million from a mere 53 sites for a per-screen average of $18,868. Universal International opened its comedy "Balls of Fury" in the U.K. for a nifty $1.7 million from 228 screens, enough to qualify as No. 7 in the market.

What would the holiday season be without Disney? The studio claimed the weekend's No. 3 spot with "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," which generated $21 million from 3,000 screens in 25 territories for an overseas cume-to-date of $68.8 million.

The Jerry Bruckheimer production opened strongly in Russia, Mexico and New Zealand while holding solidly in Australia, Spain, Italy, Korea and Taiwan. Bowing on 350 screens in Russia, "Book of Secrets" took in $2.8 million, more than double the comparable market tally for 2004's "National Treasure."

Disney's musical fairy tale "Enchanted" came in No. 4 on the weekend, grossing $20.6 million from 5,304 screens in 43 markets for an overseas cume of $116.4 million. Notable was the film's fourth U.K. weekend, which generated $4.5 million from 420 spots — down a mere 1% from the weekend before — for a market cume of $26.4 million.

DreamWorks Animation/Paramount Pictures International's "Bee Movie" buzzed all the way to $18.7 million from 4,692 screens in 39 markets for a cume through Jan. 1 of $112.5 million. Fox's "Alvin and the Chipmunks" welcomed $14 million from 3,490 screens in 40 territories, hoisting its overseas cume to $38.9 million.

With 27 territories yet to play over the next 60 days, UI's "American Gangster" increased its overseas cume to $65 million thanks to a $7.3 million weekend at 1,431 screens in 25 markets. Fox's Russian-language pickup, "Irony of Fate 2," generated $5.2 million from 905 screens in its second weekend in Russia, lifting the market cume to $17.6 million.

Other overseas cume updates: WBI's "Beowulf," $108.6 million; Fox's "Hitman," ($45.4 million; UI's "Atonement," ($37 million; Fox's "The Darjeeling Limited" $4.2 million; PPI's "Into the Wild," $3.2 million; PPI's "The Kite Runner," $1 million; WBI's "Fred Claus," $25 million; UI's "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," $42.5 million; and PPI's "The Heartbreak Kid," $87.2 million.
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