What becomes a 'Legend' most?

WBI release No. 1 o'seas, beating 'Compass,' 'Secret'

While family-oriented fare flourished amid the school holidays overseas, "I Am Legend" proved strong enough to snatch the No. 1 spot internationally, grossing an estimated $25.3 million by drawing more than 3 million admissions in 15 markets for the three-day frame ending Sunday.

"Legend's" cume is $54.3 million overseas and $191.8 million worldwide.

Disney's "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" opened internationally day-and-date with its domestic debut, grabbing the third spot for the weekend. Its tally was a lusty $10,852 per location from 2,055 screens in 17 markets, good for an opening overseas gross estimate of $22.3 million.

New Line's "The Golden Compass," which ranked No. 1 for two consecutive weekends, finished second in the stanza with an estimated $23.9 million from 6,776 screens in 49 markets, lifting its international total to $130 million. An opening in Korea produced an estimated $8 million over a five-day period at about 400 spots.

Warner Bros. International's release of "Legend" finished first in each of its seven opening territories. France produced an estimated $7.6 million from 607 sites for a $12,521 per-screen average. Spain came up with $5.8 million from 442 situations, or an average of $13,122. Holdovers in Japan and Korea also were strong, with the former territory providing an estimated $3.2 million from 424 screens, down just 37% from the previous weekend's torrid market bow.

"Secrets," the latest in the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced series starring Nicolas Cage as treasure hunter Ben Gates, opened No. 1 in all of its markets except Italy and Spain, as per early estimates. The biggest bows were in Japan, which produced $3.6 million from 450 screens, and Korea, which totaled $3.5 million from 250 sites.

Disney calculated that "Secrets' " opening tally internationally tracks more than 30% ahead of the comparable figure for 2004's "National Treasure," which went on to gross $175 million overseas.

Asian openings for "Secrets" were particularly strong, with Taiwan providing a per-screen average of an astounding $42,373 (an estimated $2.5 million from 59 sites) and Hong Kong throwing off a per-screen average of $21,333 (an estimated $640,000 from just 30 situations). Openings in Russia and Mexico loom this weekend.

Disney's "Enchanted" finished No. 4 during the weekend, grossing an estimated $15.8 million from about 4,700 screens in 41 countries and lifting its international cume to $77.7 million. With an estimated $4.7 million from 471 screens, the musical fairy tale dominated the U.K., grossing $13.3 million in that key market in 10 days.

A vibrant opening in Germany produced an estimated $2 million from 400 locations. In its first month in France, the market cume is $10.7 million.

"Enchanted" has another 35% of the international market yet to play.

Another beneficiary of the school holiday period was the fifth-place finisher, 20th Century Fox International's "Alvin and the Chipmunks," which played 38 markets — 28 new — at about 3,500 screens for an estimated $13 million.

The family-oriented film finished No. 4 in the U.K. with an estimated $2.8 million from 380 sites, and it grabbed the No. 1 spot in Mexico with $1.7 million from 500 screens. "Alvin's" global cume is $100.4 million, with $15.5 million of that coming from the international side.

DreamWorks/Paramount Pictures International's "Bee Movie" had No. 5 openings in Italy and Hong Kong among its 11 new markets, grossing an estimated $12.1 million overall from 4,748 screens in 55 markets. Its overseas cume stands at $78 million.

In the U.K., the Jerry Seinfeld-led animation title grabbed $2 million in its second weekend at 437 locations, good for a market cume of $8.3 million.

The surprise solo-market grosser of the weekend was "Ironiya Sudby. Prodolzhenia," director/co-writer Timur Bekmambetov's adventure comedy acquired by Fox. The local-language Russian entry, co-produced by Bazeleus Prods. and Channel One Russia, drew an estimated $7.2 million in its Russia bow at 903 screens.

Fox's "Hitman" drew an estimated $3.7 million during the weekend from 1,100 screens in 44 markets, lifting its overseas cume to $41.3 million. The Christmas comedy "Fred Claus" grossed $2.4 million from 1,500 screens in 28 markets, pushing its international total to $22.8 million.

Warners' "Beowulf" hiked its international gross to $105 million on the strength of an estimated $2.2 million weekend at 2,100 screens in 58 markets. Universal International's "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" drew $2.1 million from 836 screens in 35 territories, boosting its overseas cume to $38.3 million. The same distributor's "American Gangster" claimed $1.8 million from 1,411 screens in 20 markets, lifting its overseas take to $55.1 million.

Other overseas cume updates: Fox's "Lions for Lambs," $33.1 million; Universal's Atonement," $33 million; and DreamWorks/ PPI's "The Heartbreak Kid," $85.8 million.
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