'Casino' keeps winning o'seas

Bond pic scores $66.2 mil at int'l b.o.; 'Borat' 2nd

Sony Pictures Releasing International's "Casino Royale" solidified its position as the hottest holiday attraction internationally during the weekend, snaring an estimated $66.2 million from 6,600 screens in 50 markets -- the sixth-biggest weekend boxoffice gross of the year -- and propelling the distributor to a new overseas boxoffice record.

The latest James Bond offering, starring British actor Daniel Craig as Agent 007, stormed Europe with No. 1 openings in 18 markets from Norway to Spain, yielding an estimated $40.4 million from these new territories.

That figure tops by 44% the comparable boxoffice total accumulated in the same 18 markets by 2002's "Die Another Day," the Pierce Brosnan starrer that went on to gross $432 million worldwide, more than any previous Bond title.

In all, "Casino" finished No. 1 in at least 40 of the 50 markets it played for the weekend and moved its international boxoffice total to $128.2 million; the worldwide total stands at $222.4 million.

The biggest of the overseas markets was the U.K., where "Casino" grabbed an estimated $16.6 million in its second weekend -- a relatively benign 24% drop from the opening stanza -- from 991 screens. The U.K. market total to date is $53.6 million, just $3.7 million shy of "Die Another Day's" total over the course of its entire U.K. run.

The best result of the new markets came from Germany, where the weekend tally is an estimated $12 million from 1,180 screens. In France, "Casino" won an estimated $8.4 million from 823 screens. In Spain, the weekend estimate is $4 million from 500 prints.

The per-screen averages were especially impressive in Denmark ($25,000, or an estimated $2.5 million from 101 locations), Switzerland (nearly $19,000, or $3 million from 161 screens) and Sweden ($16,000, or $2.1 million from 133 prints).

"Casino" bows Friday in the key market of Japan, then Dec. 7 in Australia.

Thanks to a strong roster of international hits this year, including "The Da Vinci Code," "Open Season" and "Casino," Sony films have tallied an annual overseas gross of $1.385 billion, SPRI distribution president Mark Zucker said. The previous overseas gross record was $1.305 billion, set in 2002.

Finishing in the No. 2 spot for the weekend is 20th Century Fox International's "Borat," which finagled an estimated $15 million from 2,117 screens in 46 territories. The international gross for British comic Sacha Baron Cohen's comic road movie is $86 million. The worldwide gross for "Borat," which by most industry reports cost less than $20 million to make, comes to $195.3 million.

The strongest of "Borat's" five new markets was Australia, where the film garnered an estimated $4.5 million from 291 screens, or a per-screen average of nearly $15,500. Gross totals in Germany and France are $10.9 million and $4 million, respectively.

In third place for the frame is Warner Bros. International's "The Departed," which scored an estimated $7 million from 2,100 screens in 42 markets. The international cume for the Martin Scorsese-directed crime drama is $79.1 million.

Lionsgate International's grisly horror item "Saw III" is No. 4 for the weekend, screaming its way to an estimated $5.6 million from 1,840 screens in 24 territories, including Latin American and Spain, which are handled by Buena Vista International. Its overseas cume is $42 million.

At No. 5 is SPRI's animation outing "Open Season," which pushed its international total to $76.5 million based upon an estimated $4 million weekend from 3,400 screens in 49 markets. The notable No. 1 opening was in South Africa, with an estimated $267,000 from 77 situations.

Warners' "Happy Feet," which finished its second week at No. 1 in the U.S., grossed an estimated $3.4 million from 750 screens in eight overseas markets for an international cume of $4.7 million. In Japan, Warners' release of the local-language "Death Note: The Last Name" continued to rank No. 1 with an estimated $2.6 million from 334 screens for a market total of $32.8 million.

Fox's "The Devil Wears Prada" is starting to taper off a highly successful overseas run. The weekend estimate is $2.5 million from 2,496 screens in 32 markets, lifting its formidable overseas cume to $180 million.

Warners' "The Prestige" pulled an estimated $2.4 million for the weekend at 1,170 screens in 22 territories, raising its overseas total to $22.4 million.

An eclectic collection of limited openings this weekend included Buena Vista International's "Deja Vu," the Tony Scott actioner starring Denzel Washington, which bowed in Mexico to an estimated $1.1 million from 400 screens.

Also, Universal International's "Catch a Fire," a drama about terrorism in apartheid-era South Africa starring Tim Robbins, bowed at No. 10 in Australia with an estimated $160,000 from 123 screens. Fox's "Deck the Halls," a comedy starring Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick, played seven territories for a mere $700,000 from 280 screens. Fox's "The Fountain," with Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, nabbed an estimated $200,000 from 90 screens in Taiwan and Brazil.

"The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause," a seasonal comedy from BVI, pulled an estimated $3.7 million from 1,000 screens in six territories. The big mover was the title's U.K. bow, which generated an estimated $2.7 million from 400 sites. Its international cume is $5.8 million.

Paramount/United International Pictures' gross-out comedy "Jackass Number Two" pulled an estimated $1.5 million in its U.K. debut at 351 screens. Overall, the weekend tally was $1.9 million from 631 locations in 11 territories for an overseas cume of $8.8 million. Universal's "Seven Dwarfs 2" yielded an estimated $1.5 million for the weekend from 825 screens in four markets for an international cume of $28.6 million.

UIP's "Barnyard" also pulled an estimated $1.5 million from 1,329 spots in 25 markets, raising its overseas cume to $28.5 million. Universal's "Children of Men" came in with an estimated $1.4 million from 950 screens in 25 territories for a total overseas cume of $24 million.
Thanks to a final run in China, where it has been grossing an estimated $1 million per week, Universal's "Miami Vice" has achieved an international cume of $100.2 million.

Other overseas cume updates: Warners' "Flags of Our Fathers," $19.2 million; UIP's "Flushed Away," $8.4 million; Summit Entertainment/Universal's "Step Up," $17 million (Universal territories only); Paramount/UIP's "World Trade Center," $89.9 million; Universal's "You, Me and Dupree," $53.3 million, and "Babel," $5.1 million.