'Bean' edges '300' for o'seas lead

Comedy opens to $34.2 mil as market readies for Easter biz

As overseas distributors scramble to corral the family trade for the Easter holidays, "Mr. Bean's Holiday," the bumbling character created by British comedian Rowan Atkinson, took over the international market with a weekend gross of $34.2 million from 3,085 screens in 26 countries.

The Working Title-Studio Canal entry via Universal Pictures International edged out Warner Bros. Pictures' ancient Greece blood fest "300," which reached a cume of $128.2 million after taking in $31.7 million from 5,500 prints in 52 markets.

Buena Vista International's 3-D CGI offering "Meet the Robinsons" opened for Easter business with $9.3 million from 3,500 screens in 22 markets, while Summit Entertainment's family fantasy "Bridge to Terabithia" captured $4.5 million over the weekend from 1,521 screens in 19 markets. The long-running romantic comedy "Music and Lyrics" took in another $4.3 million from 2,400 prints in 51 markets, raising its foreign cume to $73.8 million. Another holdover with Easter potential, the Eddie Murphy starrer "Norbit" from Paramount Pictures International, lifted its cume to $48.9 million after picking up $3.7 million from 2,122 screens in 34 territories.

In the run-up to the tentpole barrage starting in May, one of the keys to success in the current offshore marketplace appears to be the ability to book as many dates as possible, especially in leading moviegoing markets.

"Mr. Bean's" home country, the U.K., where he made his last appearance in 1997, captured 41% of the U.K. and Ireland with an eye-catching $12.6 million from 511 screens, hailed by UPI as the biggest opening of the year there and as the company's fifth-biggest bow of all time in the market.

"Mr. Bean" also opened No. 1 in Germany ($5.5 million from 834) and Australia ($3.1 million from 258). It was No. 2 in Spain with $3.5 million from 397 screens, and came in No. 1 and set new company records in most of the new openings. The coming week includes bows in 18 more countries. It's not set for a U.S. bow until the end of August.

In the meanwhile, "300," which is sure to be around for the more action-prone audience during Easter, achieved a cume of $128.2 million after generating $31.7 million from 5,200 prints in 52 markets at its fourth weekend in the international market. According to Warner Bros., the Zach Snyder-directed depiction of a 5th century B.C. battle, ranked No. 1 in most all new openings and at many holdovers.

Brazil opened No. 1 to $2.7 million from 522 locations, the second-biggest opening for a Warners film after "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," and Argentina, also No. 1, collected $650,000 from 91 prints for a 51% share of the top five films in the market. Second-weekend holdovers saw the U.K. with a total of $17.6 million, Spain ($12.1 million), Italy ($10 million) and France ($8.5 million).

"Meet the Robinsons," setting up for the Easter parade starting today in Latin America and the coming week in the U.K. and Australia, opened No. 1 in Mexico with $1.9 million from 595 screens, No. 3 in the U.K. ($1.9 million from 458) and No. 3 in Spain ($1.6 million from 435). Australia, however, was only good for $746,000 from 246 locations.

"Bridge to Terabithia," which reached a cume of $19.4 million after a $4.5 million weekend, entered both France ($2.2 million from 568 screens) and Italy ($1.6 million from 315) in the No. 3 position, beating out new openers in both markets, according to Summit.

"Music and Lyrics" reached a high note of $73.8 million after carrying its melody for another $4.3 million from 2,400 prints in 51 markets. Four weekends in Germany registered $9.4 million, and three in France delivered $4.5 million.

Another surprise long-runner, "Norbit," hit the $48.9 million mark after taking in $3.7 million from 2,122 screens in 34 territories.

"Ghost Rider" edged over the $100 million milestone ($100.3 million) by delivering $2.7 million, depending mainly on holdovers. To date, the U.K. has come up with $9.1 million and Russia with $7.8 million.

"Night at the Museum" keeps rolling along, hitting a remarkable offshore cume of $310.2 million. The Ben Stiller-starring family comedy has remained No. 1 in Japan for three weeks in a row, reaching a cume of $19.9 million after scoring $3 million over the weekend from 564 screens. According to Fox, it has taken in $2 million in China in seven weeks. Vietnam, on Aug. 6, is "Museum's" last overseas stop.

"The Hills Have Eyes II" opened overseas to $2.9 million from 860 screens in six markets, entering the U.K. at No. 4 with $1.5 million from 451 screens. "Hills" arrived in Germany in the No. 2 spot with a mild $917,700 from 364 screens, with most of the country's moviegoers turning out for "Mr. Bean."

Other weekend tallies: "Wild Hogs," $1.9 million (cume: $14.6 million); "Epic Movie," $1.8 million (cume: $31.1 million); "Notes on a Scandal," $1.2 million (cume: $26.2 million) and "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer," $1.6 million (cume: $128.6 million).

"TMNT," the animated version of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," opened No. 1 in Taiwan with $163,430 from 16 screens. It ranks No. 6 in the U.K. after a second weekend with a market total to date of $3.1 million from 369 screens.

New Line's "The Last Mimzy" made the No. 10 spot in the U.K. with $371,298 from 28 screens, while the company's "The Number 23" took in $796,698 from 949 screens to lift its foreign gross to $18.1 million.