'Angels' has heavenly overseas bow

Film notched 10th biggest international launch ever

Sony's "Angels & Demons" owned the international circuit during the weekend, claiming the No. 1 spot in all of its 96 debut markets with a heavenly $102.1 million from 10,274 screens for a powerful $9,934 per-screen average.

An adaptation of Dan Brown's novel written before Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" -- the film version of which Sony skillfully exploited offshore in 2006 -- "Angels" registered the 10th biggest international launch ever, and easily the biggest foreign opening of 2009.

"Angels' " opening weekend was also the biggest overseas since the May 21, 2008, launch of Paramount's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," which drew $147 million playing 8,399 screens in 55 territories. "Angels' " worldwide opening gross was $148.1 million.

Created by the same team responsible for "Da Vinci" -- co-producer Imagine Entertainment and director Ron Howard, with Tom Hanks reprising as Harvard symbologist Dr. Robert Langdon -- the summer's latest tentpole failed to match "Da Vinci's" $155 million opening weekend tally (from 12,213 screens in some 80 markets).

Nonetheless, "Angels" is off to a very strong foreign start, critical for such an adult-oriented title.

"Da Vinci" grossed $539.7 million over the course of its overseas run, enough to become the 15th biggest offshore hit ever. A full 71% of "Da Vinci's" worldwide boxoffice revenue ($757.2 million) came from outside North America. (Sony, as it did with "Da Vinci," opened "Angels" simultaneously with its domestic debut.)

Sony said that on a local currency basis, nine of the territories "Angels" played actually beat the comparable market launches of "Da Vinci." The strongest individual markets for "Angels" were Germany ($11.8 million from 792 screens) and Italy ($8 million from 818 sites).

The $104.3 million weekend tally does not include proceeds from several significant markets. Mexico and India openings are scheduled for May 22 and May 29, respectively. A Norway debut is set for May 20, and a Vietnam opening is due May 29. "Angels" has been approved for China, but the opening date is not yet set.

"The way I look at it is that if you extract those opening grosses (from the markets where 'Angels' has not yet premiered) from 'The Da Vinci Code's' $155 million (opening weekend), you would be comparing 'Angels' ' $104.3 million against $142 million," said Mark Zucker, president of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Last week's No. 1 title, Paramount's "Star Trek," opened Friday in China to an estimated $1.8 million from 723 screens. The overall weekend gross was $19.3 million from 5,587 screens in 50 territories, raising the rejuvenated space adventure's foreign cume to $67.7 million (worldwide, $215.3 million).

That makes the latest "Star Trek" screen version the biggest foreign grosser of the 11-title series thus far, besting 1996's "Star Trek: First Contact," which tallied $57.4 million overseas.

No. 3 was Fox's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," which in its third weekend extracted $13.9 million from 7,695 situations in 68 territories. Its cume stands at a lofty $145 million. Notable on the weekend was its No. 4 ranking in its third U.K. weekend with $1.8 million from 452 screens and a market cume of $21 million.

Finishing fourth was the New Line comedy "17 Again" with Zac Efron, which raised its overseas cume to $48.7 million thanks to a $5.6 million weekend from 2,498 situations in 38 markets. Launches in Germany, Italy, Japan and Austria contributed $2.9 million from a combined 776 screens.

No. 5 was Disney's "Hannah Montana: The Movie," which grossed $4.7 million from 1,814 screens in 16 markets. The cume stands at $26.1 million. The biggest contributor was Spain, where the Miley Cyrus vehicle finished No. 2 with $1.9 million from 383 locations for a market cume of $6.1 million.

Universal opened "Fighting" in the U.K. and Spain for a combined $1.8 million from 472 situations. U.K. tally for the film finished No. 6 in the U.K. with $1.2 million (including previews) from 295 situations. Universal's "Coraline" grabbed $2.7 million on the weekend from 1,423 sites in 20 markets for a cume of $18.5 million.

After five and a half months on the international circuit (it opened in Italy on Dec. 5), "Slumdog Millionaire" is winding down its theatrical overseas run with impressive boxoffice totals. As of Friday, the accumulated overseas tally was $219.5 million, $78.6 million more than "Slumdog's" domestic cume. Worldwide boxoffice total as of Friday was $360.4 million.

Besides the U.K., its home territory (where the market cume stands at $45.5 million over 16 frames), Danny Boyle's Oscar winner registered strongest in France (cume $19.3 million), Germany (where it ranked No. 5 on the weekend; cume is $15.2 million), Spain ($13.5 million), Australia ($13.4 million), Japan (where it ranked No. 10 on the weekend, cume is $10.2 million), Italy ($8 million), China ($7.6 million), India ($7.4 million), Mexico ($5.7 million) and Brazil ($5.5 million).

In France, the No. 2 market opener was UGC's release of Danish director Niels Arden Oplev's "The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo," based on a detective novel by Swedish author Stieg Larsson about a journalist and computer hacker investigating the disappearance of a 16-year-old girl. Weekend take was $2.9 million from 552 screens.

Other international cumes: New Line's "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," $8.9 million; Warner's "Gran Torino," $112.5 million; DreamWorks Animation/Paramount's "Monsters vs. Aliens," $161.3 million; Universal's "Fast & Furious," $191.4 million over seven frames; Summit Int'l.'s "Knowing," $77.1 million; Fox's "12 Rounds," $3.6 million; Universal's "State of Play," $18.6 million; Focus Features/C.J. Ent.'s "Thirst," $10.7 million; New Line's "He's Just Not That Into You," $71.1 million (versus $93.8 million domestic); Sony's "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," $33.9 million; Fox's "Australia," $158 million; New Line's "Inkheart," $38.8 million (versus $16.2 million domestic); Fox's "Dragonball: Evolution," $48 million; Universal's "Duplicity," $33 million; DreamWorks/Paramount's "I Love You, Man," $9.7 million; Fox's "Marley & Me," $99.6 million; Universal's "The Last House on the Left," $1.4 million; Fox's "Taken," $75 million; Universal's "The Boat That Rocked," $20.4 million; and United Artists/Fox's "Valkyrie," $115.5 million.