Family-oriented animation trumped horror on the foreign circuit over the Halloween weekend as Despicable Me reclaimed the No. 1 box office spot, snaring $21.8 million from 4,546 venues in 44 markets and pushing its offshore gross total to $234.4 million.
The 3D title voiced principally by Steve Carell was the top title overseas two weekends ago, before being edged out of the No. 1 spot last round by Paramount’s Paranormal Activity 2, which finished in third place this time. School holidays in key markets significantly benefited Despicable Me.
What put the animated title back on top was a No. 2 opening in Japan ($3.1 million from 225 spots) plus a No. 1 Belgium bow ($1.1 million from 125 venues for a per-screen average of $8,800). Backstopping was a No. 2 holdover round in the U.K. ($4.1 million from at 549 locations) plus a powerful fourth round hold in France where the weekend produced $5.2 million from 659 sites, an increase of 64% from the prior stanza thanks to increase school holidays business.
The weekend’s other Halloween-timed entry, Saw 3D, opened day-and-date with its No. 1 domestic debut, drawin an estimated $11.5 million from an unspecified number of screens in some 25 territories. That was sufficient for a No. 4 spot on the foreign circuit.
In the U.K., Saw 3D premiered No. 1 at 382 screens for a tally of $5.77 million. The record weekend action, said Lionsgate — which is distributing the seventh installment in the lucrative horror franchise overseas along with other regional distributors – was easily an opening record in the market of any of the Saw titles. No. 1 Saw 3D openings were also recorded in Poland and Hungary.
Among the weekend’s newcomers to the foreign circuit was DreamWorks Animation’s Megamind, which opened a week before its U.S. and Canada bow in Russia and Ukraine, two markets where piracy is a big concern. The comedy/fantasy, voiced by Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt and Tina Fey among others, premiered No. 1 in each territory for a total of $7.68 million from 787 locales.
Paramount also opened Jackass 3D at 452 venues in six markets for a weekend total of $4.6 million. No. 1 debuts for the docu-action-comedy costarring Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O were recorded in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands with opening grosses in each territory exceeding those registered by each of the two previous Jackass films.
In Japan, the reigning No. 1 opener was Fuji TV/Toho’s Security Police: The Motion Picture, which bowed at 394 locations for a muscular $6.6 million. The police drama directed by Takafumi Hatano costars Japanese pop star Junichi Okada.
In Spain, Universal opened Los ojos de Julia (Julia’s Eyes) produced by Guillermo de Toro and directed by Guillen Morales. The horror thriller about a young woman going blind while investigating the murder of her twin sister finished No. 1 in the market with $2.1 million drawn from 365 screens.
Racking up a weekend tally of $14.1 million (from 2,990 situations in 50 territories) was Sony’s The Social Network, which is No. 2 on the weekend. Openings in more than 20 markets were highlighted by No. 1 introductions in Australia ($2.6 million drawn from 285 screens), Singapore and Israel. A No. 2 Russia debut generated $1.68 million from 265 locales.
Since opening on the foreign circuit on Sept. 30, director David Fincher‘s drama starring Jesse Eisenberg as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has grossed a total of $51.2 million.
Meanwhile, Paranormal Activity 2 dipped 32% from its No. 1 opening round last stanza to $15.1 million from 2,894 sites in 27 markets and the weekend’s No. 2 spot. Openings in six territories were outpaced by holdovers in the U.K. ($3 million from 393 spots; market cume $13.3 million) and in Mexico (No. 1 with $1.56 million drawn from 436 locations; market cume $4.4 million). Overseas gross total for the horror sequel over two rounds stands at $47.5 million.
No. 5 on the weekend was Summit Int’l’s RED, which bagged $9.8 million from 2,263 locations in 27 territories. No. 2 openings in Germany and Austria produced a total of $3.8 million from 739 spots. Foreign cume for the spy action vehicle costarring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren stands at $29.4 million after three weekends.
No. 1 in France on the weekend overall was Let Petits Muchoirs (Little White Lies), which collected an estimated $9.5 million in its second round at 555 locations — an increase of 10% from the opening weekend. The EuropaCorp. Distribution release, a French variation starring Marion Cotillard of the 1983 American title The Big Chill, has racked up $21.8 million since opening in France on Oct. 20.
Warner Bros.’ Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole also drew $8.9 million from some 4,625 screens in 58 markets. A France opening propelled by school holidays provided $2.6 million (including sneak previews) from 519 locales. Cume for director Zack Snyder‘s animation fantasy is $66.1 million.
No. 2 in France and another big beneficiary of school holidays was producer-director Luc Besson‘s Arthur 3: La Guerre des Deux Mondes (Arthur 3: The War of Two Worlds), an English-language animation title which grossed an estimated $6.1 million in its third weekend at 778 situations. Market cume stands at $19.4 million.
The Town, Warner’s bank heist drama starring Ben Affleck, grossed $6.1 million from 2,240 screens in 40 territories, pushing its overseas take to $42.6 million. Romantic comedy Life As We Know It costarring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel picked up $6 million from 2,110 screens in 27 markets. The Warner’s release has grossed $27.1 million so far overseas.
Eat Pray Love, Sony’s romantic drama starring Julia Roberts, grossed $5.16 million from 2,610 screens in 70 territories for an overseas cume of $109 million. Fox’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps pushed its foreign cume to $70 million thanks to a $4.5 million weekend at 3,526 screens in 48 markets.
Opening No. 4 in France was Gaumont’s Il Reste du Jambon (The Rest of the Ham), director Anne Depetrini’s romantic comedy about a French TV reporter and an Arabic surgeon. Weekend generated an estimated $4.1 million from 450 situations.
Other international cumes: Sony Animation’s Open Season 3, $3.95 million since Oct. 21; Pixar/Disney’s Toy Story 3, $646.8 million (eighth biggest title ever released overseas); Sony’s Easy A, $7.2 million; The Weinstein Co.’s Piranha 3D, $52.3 million; Fox’s The A-Team, $100.4 million; Lionsgate’s Alpha and Omega, estimated $8 million; Sony and other distributors’ Resident Evil: Afterlife, $216.9 million; Universal’s Charlie St. Cloud, $12.9 million; and Fox’s Vampires Suck, $40 million.
Also, Warner’s Inception, $527.1 million; Sony’s The Other Guys, $41.7 million (after a $3.3 million weekend at 1,198 screens in 39 markets); Fox’s Knight and Day, $181 million; Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, $152 million; Universal’s Senna, $968,547 for this docu over four weeks in Japan only; Paramount’s The Last Airbender, $185.3 million; Touchstone/Disney’s You Again, $4 million; Focus Features/Universal’s The Kids Are All Right, $658,570 opener at 205 screens in U.K. only; and Sony’s Salt, $173.2 million.
And, Fox’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid, $11.4 million; DreamWorks/Paramount’s Dinner For Schmucks, $12.9 million; Universal’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, $14.4 million; Paramount’s Extreme Happiness, $389,974 in Brazil only; Universal’s Devil, $13 million; Focus Features/Universal’s The American, $19.9 million; Paramount’s Made in Dagenham, $5.7 million in three markets; Fuji TV/Toho’s Umizaru 3: The Last Message, $91.8 million in Japan only; Focus Features’ Biutiful, $2.5 million in Mexico only; and Universal’s 13, $1.45 million in Russia only.