'07 int'l boxoffice the stuff of 'Legend'

Smith starrer adds $46.1 mil to cume; 'Compass' 2nd

Related story: 'National Treasure' finds fresh fortune with $35.6 million

By keeping pace with 2006's solid finish internationally, 2007 appears to be a shoo-in for a record overseas year, with a double-digit gross increase looming. "I Am Legend" continued to hold on to the No. 1 spot during the weekend, grossing an estimated $46.1 million at about 3,000 screens in 25 markets.

The strong weekend boosted the totals for the Will Smith starrer to $117 million internationally and $311.6 million worldwide.

"Legend" was followed by No. 2 "The Golden Compass," which maintained its torrid pace internationally with a weekend estimate of $34 million from 7,600 screens in 54 markets, good for an overseas cume of $187 million.

Distributor New Line said "Compass" had a huge bow in Australia -- an estimated $5 million over five days on 327 screens -- while Warner Bros. International touted "Legend's" No. 1 U.K. debut of an estimated $21.8 million (including previews) from 670 screens, claiming "almost half of the top five market share."

Newcomers for the stanza included 20th Century Fox International's "Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem," a sci-fi outing directed by brothers Colin and Greg Strause. It grossed an estimated $15.9 million from 1,784 screens in 20 markets, enough to place fifth overall for the weekend.

"Requiem" had an explosive bow in Germany (an estimated $4.8 million from 553 screens), while the results in Japan ($2.4 million from 392 sites) and Australia ($2.8 million from 181 locations) also were impressive. Fox said the Malaysia result -- $1.2 million from 125 screens -- was the studio's biggest ever in the market and the fourth-highest Malaysia opening from any studio.

Paramount Pictures International released Ethan and Joel Coen's crime drama "No Country for Old Men" in Australia, taking in an estimated $1 million from 52 locations, or a lusty $19,231 per-screen average. Universal International rolled out "Balls of Fury," an action comedy from Spyglass Entertainment, which grossed $1.3 million from 227 screens in the U.K., good for No. 7 in the market.

Paramount also opened a pair of DreamWorks titles, "The Kite Runner" and "Things We Lost in the Fire." The former, a drama about an Afghan emigrant's journey back home, debuted in the U.K. to an estimated $900,000 from 130 spots. "Fire," a domestic drama starring Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro, opened in Mexico to $132,000 from 150 screens.

Also in Mexico, Sony on Christmas Day opened Revolution Studios/Walden Media's "The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep," a family adventure directed by Jay Russell. The weekend tally was an estimated $680,000 -- ranking fifth in the market -- at 400 sites. Its six-day cume is $1.5 million.

Placing third overall during the weekend was Disney's "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," which debuted strongly in Russia, Mexico and New Zealand while holding solidly in Australia, Spain, Italy, Korea and Taiwan. Its overall estimate was $21 million from 3,000 screens in 25 markets, lifting its overseas total to $59.8 million. Its worldwide total is $183.8 million.

Bowing on 350 screens in Russia, "Book of Secrets" took in an estimated $2.8 million, more than double the comparable market tally for 2004's "National Treasure." The Jerry Bruckheimer production ranked No. 1 in New Zealand and in Mexico, where it grabbed $2.7 million from 750 spots.

Disney's "Enchanted," the weekend's No. 4 title overall, has passed the $100 million gross mark overseas, the 67th studio title to do so. Its overall tally was an estimated $20.6 million from 5,304 screens in 43 markets, good for an international total of $110.7 million. The title's biggest opener was in Australia, where the musical fantasy collected $3.3 million from 300 screens. In its fourth U.K. weekend, "Enchanted's" gross was $4.5 million from 420 spots -- off a mere 1% -- for a cume of $26.4 million.

Fox's "Alvin and the Chipmunks" snared an estimated $13.6 million from 3,608 screens in 39 markets for a cume of $37.8 million; the title has collected $180.2 million worldwide. DreamWorks/PPI's "Bee Movie" crossed the $100 million overseas gross threshold thanks to a $13.5 million weekend from 4,904 spots in 59 markets. Its international tally stands at $103 million.

Thanks to strong openings in Spain and Korea, Universal's "American Gangster" rounded up an estimated $6.6 million from 1,935 screens in 25 markets for an overseas cume of $62.6 million. Going strong on the solo-market front is Fox's Russian-language pickup "Irony of Fate 2," which grossed an estimated $5.2 million in its second Russia weekend playing 905 screens. Its market cume is $17.5 million.

Fox's "Hitman" garnered an estimated $2 million during the weekend from 792 screens in 33 markets, hiking its international total to $45 million.

A strong Australia bow propelled Universal's "Atonement" to an estimated $3 million from 294 screens in 11 territories for an overseas cume of $36 million. Universal's "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" snared $2.7 million from 865 locations in 35 markets for an international total of $42.5 million.

Other overseas market cumes: Warners' "Beowulf," $107.5 million; Universal's "We Own the Night," $2.4 million; Warners' "Fred Claus," $25 million; and Fox's "The Darjeeling Limited," $4.1 million.