'Afterlife' knocks 'Inception' to No. 2 overseas

$42.7 mil-earning horror hit on pace to set franchise record

Alice (aka actress Milla Jovovich) is back!

The foreign theatrical circuit's first box office hit of the fall season emerged over the weekend as "Resident Evil: Afterlife" in 3D handily grabbed the No. 1 spot by grossing $42.7 million -- $3.5 million less than Sunday's projection -- from 3,971 screens in 34 markets.

The latest installment of Constantin Film's scifi-action-horror series appears on pace to set an opening franchise record, said Sony, which is distributing the film in most offshore markets.

No. 1 debuts were recorded in at least 10 markets. These include Japan ($15.5 million from 652 locations), Russia ($6.4 million from 583 sites), Spain ($3.3 million derived from 488 venues), Taiwan ($3 million from 189 venues) and the U.K. ($2.6 million from 361 spots).

"Afterlife" has ample box office life ahead with such key markets as Brazil, Korea, Mexico and Sweden set to open this week.

Focus Features/Universal's "The American," starring George Clooney, opened No. 4 in Italy to $662,070 secured from 273 locations. "The Other Guys," Sony's police comedy costarring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, did much better, grossing $2.5 million from 248 locations in five markets. (Early foreign gross cume stands at $2.64 million.)

Second on the weekend was Warner Bros.' "Inception," which had secured the top spot in the prior round as well as in last month's opening three stanzas. Weekend tally for director Christopher Nolan's thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio came in at $16.4 million from some 7,330 situations in 64 markets. Overseas gross total stands at $448.8 million.

China continues to throw off big opening numbers for Hollywood titles with "Inception" maintaining its No. 1 market spot, as per Warners, with $8.55 million generated from 3,392 sites for a territory cume of $30.4 million over 12 days.

Opening in China at some 485 locations, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" generated, as per distributor Disney, $4 million. Weekend overall for the Jerry Bruckheimer production starring Nicolas Cage drew $9.8 million from 3,800 sites in 33 territories, pushing the film's foreign gross total to $128 million. A New Zealand opening comes this week. The title finished No. 3 on the weekend.

No. 4 is Sylvester Stallone's action vehicle "The Expendables," which garnered an estimated $7.5 million from more than 4,000 situations in 39 markets, including China.

Since it opened in China on Aug. 20, the film – being released around the world via myriad local distributors -- has logged a total of $27.9 million in the territory through Sept. 5. Latest weekend action pushed the China cume to about $30 million. Overall overseas cume stands at about $119 million.

Fifth on the weekend was Paramount's "The Last Airbender," which grossed $6.6 million from 2,748 situations in 43 markets. Director M. Night Shyamalan's sci/fi adventure has so far generated $150.6 million in overseas box office.

Picking up steam overseas is "Despicable Me," Universal's 3D animation outing voiced principally by Steve Carell. A first-place Australia opening generated $4.5 million from 177 locations, with the overall weekend take coming to $6.4 million from 1,108 venues in 22 markets. International cume stands at $81.7 million.

School holidays beginning in a week in Australia should boost "Despicable Me's" returns in that market. The animation outing is already Universal's top-grossing title in Latin America. "Me" has 32 territories yet to play, including most of Europe.

Summit International/Universal's "Step Up 3D" drew $5.8 million from 1,851 locations in 37 markets, bumping its overseas gross total to $94 million after six rounds on the foreign theatrical circuit -- making the title the biggest overseas hit of the urban dance film franchise.

Sony's "Salt," the Cold War drama starring Angelina Jolie, drew $5.7 million on the weekend from 3,072 sites in 73 markets, for a foreign cume of $156.2 million.
Keeping pace on the weekend was Sony's "The Karate Kid" remake, which pushed its cume to $161.3 million thanks also to a $5.7 million weekend at 3,094 sites in 74 markets.

Disney said on Sunday that its 2010 overseas box office total is $2.015 billion, the first time that the studio has ever crossed the $2-billion foreign gross mark in a single year.

Winding up a four-month foreign rollout, Pixar/Disney's "Toy Story 3" in 3D generated $5.6 million from 3,473 venues in 34 markets. Total foreign gross stands at $632.1 million, making the animation title the tenth biggest-grossing feature ever released overseas.

"Vampires Suck," the horror movie sendup from 20th Century Fox, drew No.1 opening receptions in Germany ($3.2 million from 503 screens) and in Austria ($536,552 from 76 spots). The weekend as a whole generated $5.4 million from 1,817 situations in 23 territories for an overseas gross total so far of $13.2 million.

In South Korea, N.E.W.'s release of local language romantic drama "Ha-Gyeol-Sa" opened in the top market spot, garnering $4.1 million from 611 screens.

Premiering No. 1 in France was "Des hommes et des dieux" ("Of Gods and Men"), director Xavier Beauvois' drama co-starring Lambert Wilson and Michael Lonsdale about French monks fending off Muslim terrorists in Algeria in the mid-1990s. Currently drawing raves on the North American festival circuit, the Mars Distribution release opened to an estimated $2.8 million from 252 screens.

Other international cumes: Sony's "Grown Ups," $84.2 million (after a $4.2 million weekend from 2,030 screens in 64 markets); Fox's "Nosso Lar," $9.7 million in 10 days in Brazil only; DreamWorks Animation/Paramount's "Shrek Forever After" in 3D, $488 million; Fox's "Knight and Day," $153.3 million; Warner's "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore," $55.7 million; Fox's "Avatar: Special Edition," $2.012 (after a $2.2 million weekend at 913 sites in 21 territories); Universal's "Get Him to the Greek," $27.4 million; Fox's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," $3.8 million; Paramount's "Dinner With Schmucks," $3.7million; Wild Bunch Distribution's "Le bruit des glaces" ("The Noise of Ice"), $4 million in France only; Paramount's "Tomorrow When the War Began," $7 million in two markets; Fox's "Predators," $73.5 million; Universal's "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," $11.2 million; Fox's "The A-Team," $99.5 million; Universal's "Hanni und Nanni," $6.4 million in Germany and Austria only; Fox's "Marmaduke," $45 million; and DreamWorks Animation/Paramount's "How to Train Your Dragon," $275 million.