'300' defends No. 1 spot
$48 mil dominates overseas rivalsExceptionally strong No. 1 openings in 20 key markets during the weekend propelled "300" to its second consecutive stanza as the top boxoffice draw overseas, resulting in an estimated gross of $48 million from about 5,000 screens in 33 territories.
The super-violent military epic about Spartan warriors battling the Persian forces at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. dwarfed the competition in a generally bland weekend on the foreign circuit, more than doubling the combined gross of the second- through fifth-place titles.
"300's" international boxoffice total is $79 million. Worldwide, director Zack Snyder's interpretation of Frank Miller's graphic novel has accumulated $241.4 million.
Notable among the new territories was Russia, where "300" yielded an estimated $5.6 million from 432 situations, averaging $12,963 per screen. The film is on track to be "the biggest opening of all time" in the territory for Warner Bros., according to the distributor, "topping (2003's) 'The Matrix Revolutions' by 9%."
A France opening produced an estimated $5.6 million from 485 locations for a per-screen average of $11,546. In Italy, the tally was an estimated $5.3 million from 486 screens, while Mexico provided $2.6 million from 520 locations.
"300's" biggest holdover market was South Korea, where it continued to rank first with an estimated $3.4 million in the second weekend at 231 spots — down just 29% from the opening frame — for a market cume of $12 million.
In Greece, where "300" has performed well given its subject, the weekend tally dropped 52% from the previous stanza largely because of Saturday's Euro 2008 soccer qualifier between Greece and Turkey. Still, the gross came in at an estimated $1.3 million in the third weekend, raising the Greek market cume to $9.4 million.
The biggest of the new overseas entries for the week is Universal International's release of "Mr. Bean's Holiday," which laughed all the way to No. 1 openings in Singapore and Malaysia, totaling an estimated $1.7 million from 92 screens.
The latest Rowan Atkinson comedy — a co-production of Universal, Britain's Working Title Films and France's StudioCanal — grossed an estimated $1.1 million from 43 spots for a $25,581 per-screen average in Singapore, making "Holiday" the No. 1 comedy of all time in that market. In Malaysia, the debut produced an estimated $680,000 from 49 locates for a per-screen average of $13,878, making "Holiday" the biggest comedy ever to play that territory.
"Holiday" won't open in the U.S. until Aug. 31. It rolls out internationally during the next two months, bowing in 21 markets this weekend, including the U.K. and Australia.
Sony Pictures Releasing International opened "Reign Over Me" in Australia at the same time as the film's domestic bow. The Aussie estimate for the drama, which stars Adam Sandler as a man who lost his family in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, is $230,000 from 56 screens, ranking No. 8 in the market.
Paramount Pictures International bowed day-and-date with its domestic release the Mark Wahlberg thriller "Shooter," which scored in Brazil with an estimated $285,000 from 105 screens. In the U.K., Sony opened "Catch and Release," a romantic comedy with Jennifer Garner, for an estimated $50,000 from about 70 screens.
This weekend's overall No. 2 title is "Norbit," which bowed in seven territories including Italy and Belgium and garnered an estimated $8.3 million from 2,513 screens in 40 markets. The overseas total for the PPI release is $43.2 million.
The Eddie Murphy comedy took the No. 3 spot in Italy, opening to an estimated $1.6 million from 241 spots, while the Belgium bow produced $479,000 from just 33 spots for a solid per-screen average of $14,515. The biggest of the holdover markets was the U.K., where "Norbit" drew an estimated $1.3 million from 374 screens, lifting its market cume to $9 million.
In the No. 3 spot overall is another Warner Bros. International title, "Music and Lyrics," the romantic comedy pairing Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. The film drew an estimated $7 million from about 3,500 screens in 54 markets; its Turkey debut provided an estimated $336,000 from 67 locations for a per-screen average of $5,000. Its overseas cume stands at $68 million.
Ranking fourth for the weekend is Sony's "Ghost Rider," which opened at No. 1 in Thailand (an estimated $885,000 from 120 screens) and in New Zealand ($290,000 from 53 locations). Overall, the Marvel Comics-based action fantasy with Nicolas Cage finished with an estimated $5.4 million from about 3,500 screens in 58 markets, hiking its international cume to $95.4 million.
The fifth position for the weekend goes to 20th Century Fox International's "Night at the Museum," which is winding down its overseas run with a strong Japan showing, exhibiting an estimated $2.9 million in its second weekend from 568 spots — only a 19% drop from the opening weekend — for a market cume of $11.8 million. The overall tally for the Ben Stiller comedy was an estimated $3 million from about 1,000 screens in two markets (Japan and France), enough to push "Museum" past the $300 million mark internationally at $300.1 million.
Buena Vista International's "Wild Hogs" continues to be a strong No. 1 in Australia with an estimated $1.7 million in its third weekend at 300 screens, down just 19% from the week before. Overall, the suburban biker comedy snared an estimated $2.6 million from 590 locations in a half-dozen markets. The film's international cume is $11.1 million ($134.9 million worldwide), of which $8 million comes from Australia.
BVI's "Deja Vu" looks on track to pass the $115 million mark internationally as the Denzel Washington action film drew an estimated $2.1 million for the weekend from 650 screens in China and Japan. The Chinese tally was an estimated $1.3 million from 200 situations; the film's international gross is $111 million.
WBI's local-language production "Ho Voglia di Te" continued strongly in Italy with an estimated $1.7 million from about 500 screens for a market cume of $18.2 million. PPI bowed "Freedom Writers," starring Hilary Swank, in Australia and recorded an estimated $352,000 from 153 sites; the film tallied an overall weekend estimate of $1 million from 526 screens in 10 territories, raising its overseas cume to $3.8 million.
Other overseas cume updates: Lionsgate International's "Saw III," $81.4 million; Universal's "Hot Fuzz," $42.5 million; DreamWorks/PPI's "Dreamgirls," $49.3 million (thanks to a $1 million weekend at 997 screens in 57 markets); Universal's "The Holiday," $131 million; PPI's "Charlotte's Web," $59.6 million; WBI's "Happy Feet," $177.5 million; Fox's "The Devil Wears Prada," $199.7 million; Fox's "The Last King of Scotland," $25 million; Universal's "Smokin' Aces," $18.1 million; Fox's "Epic Movie," $27 million; Universal's "The Good Shepherd," $12.5 million (Universal territories only); Fox's "Rocky Balboa," $74 million (excluding Scandinavia territories handled by other distributors); and Fox's "Notes on a Scandal," $24.1 million.