'300' edges 'Bean' to regain No. 1
Both films lead robust Easter holiday b.o. weekend overseasIn an Easter weekend battle for the children and family audiences, two diverse choices had the most appeal with overseas moviegoers, as the super-violent "300" and the slapstick comedy "Mr. Bean's Holiday" ran almost neck-and neck in collecting a combined total of more than $60 million at the boxoffice.
Warner Bros. International's tale of the ancient Greek battle of Thermopylae, No. 1 for two weekends in row until it was edged out by "Bean" last week, returned to the driver's seat with an estimated $32 million from 6,500 screens to lift its cume to about $173 million.
At the same time, the Mr. Bean character developed by British comedian Rowan Atkinson continued to draw family crowds, adding another $31 million from 4,294 screens in 44 markets. With "Bean's" international cume now at $87 million, distributor Universal Pictures International expects the comedy to top $100 million by Tuesday thanks to today's holiday in many countries.
Because of the Easter holiday, most overseas offices collecting boxoffice data were closed Monday and many of the results reported here are labeled as estimates.
Other top finishers among the Easter weekend offerings were Buena Vista International's 3-D animated "Meet the Robinsons," which took in $8.8 million from 3,698 sites in 33 markets, raising it cume to $25.2 million, and horror-thriller "The Reaping," which Warner Bros. launched in 17 markets to $7.1 million from 1,256 screens.
Newcomers joining the Easter parade included 20th Century Fox's sci-fi adventure "Sunshine," which brought in an estimated $3 million from 652 screens in eight markets, and Paramount Pictures International's Will Ferrell ice skating comedy "Blades of Glory," which bowed in the U.K. at No. 3 (following "Bean" and "300") with $2 million from 362 screens. Sony's Ice Cube starrer "Are We Done Yet?" appeared to melt in openings in Mexico (No. 7) and Australia (No. 8).
Long-running Eddie Murphy comedy "Norbit" captured some of the holiday crowd with $3 million, including $900,000 from France, to take its foreign cume to $54 million. BVI's buddy comedy "Wild Hogs" romped to $3.5 million from 817 screens in 11 countries to hoist its cume to $18.5 million.
"300's" recovery of the No. 1 international spot was fueled by a $6.3 million top-of-the-market opening in Germany (from 543 locations) and a $4.6 million opening in Australia from 337 prints, hailed by Warners as the industry's biggest April opening of all time. In key holdovers, Spain delivered $13.5 million in three weekends; the U.K., $23.2 million; and France, $10.8 million. Historically associated Greece has shelled out $10.8 million in five weekends.
Universal reported its biggest opening of the year in Italy as "Bean" grabbed the No. 1 position in Italy with $2.7 million from 339 locations. The distributor estimates that the comedy came in No. 1 in 12 of its 18 new openings over the weekend. It remained No. 1 in the U.K. for a second weekend, taking in $4.8 million from 512 screens for a market cume of $27.2 million. In Germany, it also clung to the No.1 post for a second session, earning $4.5 million from 840 for a market total of $13.3 million.
BVI points out that "Robinsons," which has reached a cume to date of $25.2 million in two weekends from 33 markets, has thus far been in release in only 50% of potential markets, with Korea and Taiwan coming later this month, Italy and Eastern Europe in June, Scandinavia in August, and Japan in December.
Spain appeared to be doing especially well over the Easter weekend, with five pictures topping $1 million at the boxoffice: "300" ($2.2 million); "Bean" ($2.1 million); "Reaping" ($1.7 million); "The Good Shepherd" ($1.6 million); and "Robinsons" ($1.5 million). In the U.K., the order of finish was "Bean" ($4.8 million); "300" ($2 million); "Blades of Glory" ($2 million); "Sunshine" ($1.7 million); and "Robinsons" ($886,000).
Other weekend action saw long-running "Ghost Rider," still playing in 58 markets, add $1.4 million for a cume of $103 million; "Hot Fuzz" sizzled to $1.3 million and a cume of $46 million; "Eragon" opened in China to $1.3 million, lifting its cume to $170 million; "Shepherd" went up to $20 million after a $1.7 million weekend; and "The Hills Have Eyes 2" took in $1.6 million for an early gross of $5 million.
Cume updates: "Saw III," $82.1 million; "The Number 23," $22 million; "Little Children," $7.7 million; "The Last Mimzy," $985,326.
This weekend, Sony's "Perfect Stranger," a dramatic thriller starring Bruce Willis and Halle Berry, opens day and date with the U.S. in 37 overseas markets, including such key outlets as the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil and Taiwan, in a stab to corral the market before the coming tentpole barrage in May.