'Alice' seizes No. 1 spot overseas

Film earns $100.5 million, displaces 'Avatar' after 11 weeks

"It is really a big hit," said Chuck Viane, Disney's worldwide theatrical president.

His rosy assessment follows the better-than-expected opening of "Alice in Wonderland" at the global boxoffice.

After the final weekend numbers were totaled on Monday, "Alice's" foreign opening launch grossed $6.5 million more than was estimated on Sunday. Its worldwide gross total was similarly boosted, by $6.3 million.

"Alice" decisively seized the No. 1 spot on the foreign circuit, grossing $100.5 million (up from $94 million previously projected) in its debut round at 6,455 sites in 40 territories for a per-screen average of $15,569. Its worldwide tally came in at $216.6 million (up from $210.3 million).

Director Tim Burton's 3D reimagining of the Lewis Carroll classic dominated all markets played and handily displaced director James Cameron's "Avatar," which had been No. 1 offshore for 11 consecutive weeks.

Viane said he was particularly impressed by the "consistency" of "Alice's" gross action around the world. "There are no weaknesses as you go from territory to territory," he said. He also expects the film will have unusually strong boxoffice staying power although, he adds, "the second weekend will tell the story."

For its part, "Avatar" generated another $22.8 million on the weekend from 5,447 screens in 69 markets, for a record overseas gross total to date of $1.884 billion.

Worldwide, "Avatar" has amassed $2.605 billion. With more than 1,000 3D venues that had been playing the film usurped by "Alice," "Avatar" finished a distant No. 2 on the weekend.

"The Hurt Locker" will undoubtedly receive a substantial foreign boxoffice boost thanks to its six Academy Awards, including best picture and best director (Kathryn Bigelow). So far, overseas returns via releases by a myriad of territorial distributors have been anemic, approximately $6.7 million. But there are unmistakable signs of pickup as more screens will likely be placed at the film's disposal.

The war drama opened in Japan via Broadcast Studio over the weekend on modest run at 47 locations and drew $492,809, or a healthy per-screen average of $10,485. In its third Australia round via Roadshow, "The Hurt Locker" scored $464,411 from 48 sites for a per-screen average of $9,675. Australia cume stands at $1.7 million. The Chile cume over three rounds via BF Distribution is $95,955 from a dozen screens.

According to Disney, "Alice in Wonderland," with Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen and Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, logged the biggest international opening weekend ever for any title launched in the January-April period.

The film's offshore start is the best of any of Burton's films, nearly tripling the opening of his previous best, 2005's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (also co-starring Depp and Bonham Carter).

The "Alice" foreign bow was the second best foreign opening ever for Disney behind that of 2007's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," which grossed $216 million from 102 territories.

"Alice's" opening was also the biggest opening launch of any title this year. (20th Century Fox opened "Avatar" on Dec. 20.) It opened at about 2,500 3D situations, which threw off 70% of the opening weekend revenue.

The international opening weekend was especially impressive in that "Alice" premiered, said Disney, at "only 60% of the international marketplace." Such key territories as France and China won't open the picture until later this month, with debuts in Spain, Japan and Brazil due next month.

The top market for "Alice" was the U.K., where it generated $16 million from 533 screens, the third biggest opening tally for any Disney film released in the territory. In Italy, "Alice" was the second biggest opening of all time (behind 2007's "Spider-Man 3") with $14.5 million drawn from 730 sites for a whopping $19,863 per-screen average.

The Russian opening produced $12.3 million from 575 venues, the biggest opening of any Disney title in the market. Australia contributed $9.4 million from 243 locations, while Mexico served up $7.6 million from 552 situations, again the biggest Disney opening in the market.

No. 3 was director Martin Scorsese's drama "Shutter Island," which grossed $17 million on the weekend from 20 markets being handled by Paramount and other distributors. Overseas cume stands at $57 million. France leads the way, with the Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle taking the No. 1 market spot with $5.15 million drawn from 500 locations for a market cume of $14.9 million.

No. 4 was Fox's adventure fantasy "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief," which grabbed $9.4 million from 5,544 screens in 66 markets for an overseas cume of $110 million. Finishing fifth was Disney's "The Princess and the Frog," which grabbed $5.1 million on the weekend from 3,081 situations in 35 markets for an international cume of $149.5 million.

Warner Bros.' comedy "Valentine's Day" romanced $4.9 million from 3,350 sites in 61 markets for a foreign gross total to date of $96.8 million.

The Clint Eastwood-directed drama "Invictus" pushed its foreign cume to $79.4 million thanks to a $4.8 million weekend playing 2,375 screens in 43 markets. Also from Warner Bros., "Sherlock Holmes" hoisted its cume to $282.4 million due to a $3.2 million weekend at 2,030 sites in 38 territories.

Universal's "The Wolfman," with five territories yet to play, grossed an estimated $3.8 million on the weekend from 3,257 locations in 51 territories, pushing its overseas cume to $70.5 million.

Drawing a total of $3.9 million was the BBC Films co-production "The Men Who Stare at Goats," co-starring George Clooney, which opened in Spain and Australia via Sony ($2.3 million from 284 screens) and premiered No. 4 in Germany via Kinowelt ($1.6 million from 302 situations). International cume stands at $$20.4 million.

DreamWorks/Paramount's "The Lovely Bones" from director Peter Jackson shoved its overseas gross total to $40.9 million thanks to a $2.9 million weekend from 2,359 situations in 30 markets.

Paramount's "Up in the Air" with Clooney has grossed $72.6 million on the foreign circuit so far thanks to a $2.4 million weekend from 1,354 locations in 44 territories.

Grossing $2.4 million from 1,370 situations in 28 markets was Universal's romantic comedy "It's Complicated." With a dozen more markets still to play, the Meryl Streep vehicle has rolled up a foreign cume of $94.3 million to date.

Fox opened "Crazy Heart," which won Jeff Bridges a best actor Oscar, in a dozen territories over the weekend, grossing $1.13 million overall from 457 screens in 19 markets. Early cume stands at $2.3 million.

In France, Pathe opened Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer" in the No. 2 market slot with an estimated $2.46 million drawn from 292 screens. The market's No. 3 was SND's release of the Weinstein Co.'s "Nine," which drew 1.7 million from 301 locations in its opener. Overseas gross total is $26.5 million.

Making its debut outside the top 10 was La Fabrique de Films' release "Thelma, Louise and Chantal," director-writer Benoit Petre's comedy co-starring Janes Birkin about three middle-aged women swapping tales while on the road (not to be confused with Ridley Scott's 1991 title co-starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis). Weekend gross was an estimated $850,000 from 240 locations.

Other international cumes: Fox's "My Name Is Khan," $30.9 million from a dozen markets; Sony's "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," $114.6 million; Fox's "Tooth Fairy," $38 million; ARP Distributions "Le Mac" ("The Pimp"), $10.5 million in France only; Paramount's "The Crazies," $3.8 million over two rounds in the U.K. only; Fox's "Hot Summer Days," $18.3 million; Sony's "Did You Hear about the Morgans?," $49.5 million; Fox's "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel," $221.3 million; Warner's "The Blind Side," $7.1 million from eight markets; and Fox's "Fantastic Mr. Fox," $22.7 million.

Also, Paramount's "Capitalism: A Love Story," $1.65 million; Focus Features/Universal's "A Serious Man," $20.5 million; Paramount's "Celda 211," $18.5 million from Spain only; Focus Features' "Love Happens," $11.2 million; Universal's "Couples Retreat," $61.4 million; Paramount's "Case 39," $12.6 million; and Universal's "Serge Gainsbourg, vie heroique," $9.4 million over seven frames in France only.
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