'Avatar' scores 10th week overseas victory

'Lightning Thief' steals No. 2 spot

Showing modest boxoffice fatigue after more than two months dominating the foreign circuit, 20th Century Fox's "Avatar" landed in its 10th consecutive round the No. 1 film overseas, generating $48.5 million -- down 18% from the prior weekend -- from 7,247 screens in 71 markets.

Overseas gross total for director James Cameron's record-setting blockbuster was $1.780 billion with its worldwide tally weighing in at $2.468 billion. In addition to its worldwide record in current dollars, "Avatar" has now beaten 1997's "Titanic's" global boxoffice milestone on an inflation-adjusted basis as well.

Top market remains France where "Avatar" claimed $5.1 million on the weekend from 529 locations, raising its market cume to $164 million. It became on the weekend the biggest-grossing title ever to play Mexico, where the market cume stands at $42.5 million.

Director Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island," which opened No. 1 in the U.S. and Canada, premiered in nine overseas markets via Paramount and other distributors for an opening boxoffice gross of $9.1 million.

The seven "Island" markets Paramount handled (Australia, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden) generated $4.6 million of the weekend total from 478 locations.

Biggest foreign territories for the drama co-starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo as federal marshals investigating a prisoner disappearance on a remote island were Spain ($3.2 million on the weekend at 419 screens via local distributor Manga Films), Australia ($2.5 million from 250 screens) and Russia ($1.3 million on the weekend via Cascade Film).

Director Kathryn Bigelow's awards-laden "The Hurt Locker" (the film won six British Academy of Film and Television Arts citations last night, including best picture and best director) opened No. 8 in Australia via Village Roadshow for $354,939 from 46 locations for a per-screen average of $7,716. In Chile, "Locker" also opened at No. 8, drawing $32,158 from 16 screens.

"The Ghost Writer," which won for Roman Polanski a Silver Bear best director citation at the 60th Berlin International Film festival, opened commercially in Germany via Kinowelt in the No. 10 market spot with $870,960 drawn from 261 spots for a $3,337 per-screen average. (The film will open domestically via Summit Entertainment in the first half of this year.)

No. 2 on the weekend was "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief," Fox's adventure fantasy which generated in its second weekend abroad $23.5 million from 6,689 spots in 52 markets, lifting its overseas cume to $68.2 million.

Third was Warner Bros./New Line's romantic comedy, "Valentine's Day," which seduced $21.3 million from 5,188 screens in 62 territories for a foreign cume of $70 million in just two rounds. A No. 2 France opening generated $4.8 million from 408 locations.

No. 4 was Universal's "The Wolfman," director Joe Johnston's update of the classic 1941 horror classic, which scared up $15.6 million on its second round on the foreign circuit from 4,617 sites in 50 territories of which 15 were new. A No. 2 second weekend produced $2 million from 479 sites for a market cume of $7 million.

"The Wolfman's" overseas cume totals $46.7 million while the domestic take so far is $50.3 million. In Italy, the Benicio Del Toro-Anthony Hopkins-Emily Blunt vehicle opened No. 2 with $2.4 million from 271 spots. A No. 1 Portugal bow resulted in $382,095 grossed from 65 screens.

No. 5 was Disney Animation's "The Princess and the Frog," which cashed in on school holidays in France and the U.K. and grossed $12.1 million from 3,078 screens in 40 territories. Overseas cume stands at $131.3 million. France, with about two-thirds of the country observing school vacations, generated $4.95 million from 700 locations for a No. 1 market ranking on the weekend and a one-month market cume of $25.4 million.

Opening in 15 new markets was DreamWorks/Paramount's "The Lovely Bones," which generated $6.8 million on the weekend from a total of 2,383 situations in 19 territories. Director Peter Jackson's fantasy thriller opened No. 3 in the U.K. ($2.5 million from 420 spots) for an international cume to date of $25.1 million.

Warner's "Sherlock Holmes" generated $6.1 million on the weekend from 2,790 screens in 53 markets for an international cume of $267 million. Same distributor's "Invictus" raised its overseas gross total to $63.2 million thanks to a $5.1 million weekend from 2,125 locations in 33 territories.

A fillip to the weekend returns is the presence of various foreign production ventures from the Hollywood major studios. Concluding its Italy run on Feb. 18 was "Io, loro e Lara" ("I, They and Lara"), director-star Carlo Verdone's comedy about a missionary priest and his family, which was wholly produced by Warner Bros. Entertainment Italia S.P.A. Market cume finished at $23.6 million.

Fox's newly-formed local filmmaking venture, Fox International Productions, is behind "My Name Is Khan," costarring Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, which opened over the weekend in five Middle East territories. The 9/11-related drama -- about a Mumbai Muslim with Asperger syndrome detained at LAX airport after acting suspiciously -- grossed $5.7 million overall in its second weekend overseas from 1,472 screens in 12 markets. Foreign cume so far is $25.3 million.

Also from Fox International Productions is a Chinese romantic comedy, "Chuen sing yit luen – yit lat lat" ("Hot Summer Days"), which opened in China last round and in Hong Kong on Feb. 18. The Star TV and Huayi Brothers co-production generated $2.4 on the weekend from a total of 1,292 screens, pushing its China-Hong Kong cume to $10.3 million.

Sony's Deutsche Columbia Pictures Film Produktion unit's co-production of "Friendship!," director Markus Goller's drama about a young East German's search for his missing father, has rolled up a two-market cume (Germany and Austria) of $14.2 million to date.

Universal, via its link with Focus Features International and a number of French concerns, has "Serge Gainsbourg" ("Vie heroique"), a biopic of the French singer-songwriter, running currently in France. Market cume after 33 days stands at $9 million.

Disney has produced seven titles expressly geared to Russia, China, India, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. Latest was "Kinga Masterov" ("Book of Masters"), a live-action family-oriented outing which opened in Russia last October, running five weeks in the territory and grossing a total of $11.3 million. Next up for Disney will be an India production, "Zokkoman," due in May, followed in summer by a Chinese version of the studio's "High School Musical" series.

Paramount's pickup in Spain, prison drama "Celda 211" ("Cell 211") -- which won eight Goya awards (Spain's version of the Oscars) last weekend - has grossed $17.6 million in Spain only, and remains in the market's top 10 after 16 weeks. Among Paramount's upcoming foreign co-productions are "Tomorrow When the War Began" with Australia's Omnilab and "Supreme Happiness" with various production concerns in Brazil.

In France, director Pascal Bourdiaux's comedy "Le Mac" ("The Pimp") opened No. 3 nationwide with $4.5 million drawn from 465 screens.

Paramount's "Up in the Air" starring George Clooney (which copped Sunday a best adapted screenplay award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts) pushed its overseas gross total to $64.6 million thanks to a $3.9 million weekend from 1,668 sites in 39 markets.

Fox's "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" hoisted it overseas cume to $215.7 million thanks to a $3.9 million weekend at 2,921 screens in 30 markets.

Grossing $3.7 million from a total of 969 screens in France and Japan was Pathe/Gaga's "Oceans," the ecological docu-drama from co-directors Jacques Cluzaud and Jacques Perrin, which has rolled up a two-market cume of $40.7 million. Also drawing $3.7 million was Sony's family-oriented "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs," which played at 1,461 screens in 21 markets for an international cume (collected since last Sept. 16) of $108.4 million.

"It's Complicated," Universal's romantic comedy with Meryl Streep opened No. 3 in Japan ($1.2 million from 286 spots) and garnered $3.2 million on the weekend overall from 1,696 locations in 36 markets, for a foreign cume of $84.3 million.

"From Paris With Love," the Luc Besson-inspired actioner from EuropaCorp. Distribution (Lionsgate in the U.S.) opened No. 10 in France with $1.48 million elicited from 437 screens. The film costarring John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers -- as CIA agents taking on terrorists in the City of Light -- also premiered via Hoyts in Australia at No. 6. with $488,295 drawn from 153 locations.

"Did You Hear About the Morgans?," Sony's romantic comedy with Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker, opened No. 5 in Italy with $1.2 million registered at 232 screens. Weekend overall furnished $1.8 million from 876 screens in 48 markets for a cume of $47.2 million.

Finishing No. 3 in its second Italy round is Medusa Film's release of director Federico Moccia's romantic comedy, "Scusa ma ti voglio sposare" starring Raoul Bova, which generated an estimated $1.6 million from 436 situations.

Italy's only new local language title in the top five was director-scripter Pupi Avati's "Il Figlio Piu Piccolo" ("Youngest Son"). The latest installment of Avati's "father trilogy" stars Christian DeSica as an unscrupulous businessman with tangled family ties. Opening round produced $1.25 million from 297 situations, enough for a No. 4 ranking.

Other international cumes: the Weinstein Co./Sony's "Nine," $21.6 million; Focus Features/Universal's "A Serious Man," $19.3 million; Fox's "The Tooth Fairy," $36.5 million; Disney's "When in Rome," $1.3 million; Pathe/Gaga's "Oceans," $40.7 million (in France and Japan only); Summit/Sony's "Book of Eli," $25.7 million; Dimension/Paramount's "Youth in Revolt," $3 million; Paramount's "An Education," $2.1 million; Sony's "Armored," $3.7 million; and Hoyt's "Precious" ($289, 729 over three rounds in New Zealand only).

Also, Disney's "Old Dogs," $43.5 million; Universal's "Couples Retreat," $60.3 million; Focus Features' "Love Happens," $10.3 million; Fox's "Fantastic Mr. Fox," $21.1 million; Disney's "Rock It" (a local German acquisition), $1.2 million from two markets; Paramount's "Case 39," $12.3 million; and Showbox's "The Secret Reunion," estimated $17 million over three rounds in South Korea only.