'Casino' still cashing in overseas

No. 1 with $44.7 mil; int'l b.o. cume near $200 mil

Thanks to popular holdover dates in the U.K., German- speaking markets and Scandinavia, "Casino Royale" easily emerged as the No. 1 title internationally for the third weekend in a row with an estimated box- office of $44.7 million from 6,770 screens in 54 territories.

"Casino's" overseas boxoffice total is $196.5 million, with the $200 million mark likely to be passed today.

Still, the Sony Pictures Releasing International release of the latest Bond offering, with British actor Daniel Craig as Agent 007, opened during the weekend in Japan — the second-largest overseas territory (after the U.K.) for Hollywood studio films — in unspectacular fashion. The first-weekend gross estimate in Japan is $3.4 million from 458 screens, less than one-third of what "Casino" tallied in its third U.K. weekend.

SPRI considered the result typical of the market's overall reception to recent films in the Bond series.

"The previous few Bonds did about $19 million-$20 million lifetime (in the Japan market)," SPRI distribution president Mark Zucker said. "I think we are in a better position than (2002's) "Die Another Day" because ("Casino") is playing into the (New Year) holiday season," which runs from Dec. 23 until early 2007, one of Japan's two busiest boxoffice periods.

But there is no doubting "Casino's" strength in Europe, where it finished No. 1 on the weekend in the U.K. (an estimated $10.4 million in its third weekend from 992 screens, for a market total of $71 million), Germany ($8.6 million in its second weekend at 1,190 spots, with a cume of $24.7 million) and France ($5.3 million in its second weekend from 790 sites, for a market total of $15.6 million).

In Denmark, "Casino" pulled in an estimated $1.7 million from 101 situations in its second weekend for a formidable $16,000 per-screen average. Boxoffice grosses dropped just 32% in Sweden, 18% in Finland and 38% in Norway compared with last weekend.

This weekend, "Casino" bows in the Bond-friendly markets of Australia and New Zealand as well as in seven Latin American territories, including Mexico.

Finishing in the No. 2 spot for the weekend is DreamWorks Animation/United International Pictures' "Flushed Away," an animated comedy about a rat who accidentally gets flushed into the sewers of London. "Flushed" played 23 territories, grossing an estimated $14 million from 2,591 screens, raising its international total to $21.5 million.

The best of the family film's 17 new territories was the U.K., where it ranked No. 2 in the market, nabbing an estimated $6.2 million from 468 screens. In France, it ranked No. 3 with an estimated $2.7 million from 608 locations. In Spain, where it placed No. 3, "Flushed" pulled an estimated $1.6 million from 419 screens.

In third place for the weekend is Warner Bros. International's "The Departed," which is showing boxoffice durability overseas with an estimated $8.7 million from 2,500 sites in 44 markets, raising its international total to $90.4 million. The Martin Scorsese crime drama logged a strong opening in France with an estimated $4.2 million from 629 situations.

At No. 4 is 20th Century Fox International's "Borat," which laughed all the way to an estimated $8.6 million from 2,200 screens in 36 territories. The satirical road comedy, starring British comic Sacha Baron Cohen, raised its international total to $96.8 million.; Fox expects to pass the $100 million overseas mark this week.

The best of the "Borat" markets are Australia (an estimated $2.3 million in its second weekend at 292 screens, for a market cume of $8.5 million) and the U.K. (an estimated $1.5 million in its fifth weekend at 390 situations, for a market total of $43.1 million).

No. 5 for the weekend is WBI's "Happy Feet," which collected an estimated $8.1 million from 2,500 screens in 17 markets. The international total for the George Miller-directed musical animation title about singing penguins stands at $13.7 million.

"Happy Feet" opened strongly in Italy, with an estimated $2 million from 550 screens. In Germany, it bowed at No. 2 with an estimated $1.9 million from 859 sites. Up next: Spain on Tuesday, Holland on Wednesday and Mexico and the U.K. on Friday.

Buena Vista International's "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" yielded an estimated $4.1 million for the weekend from 1,200 screens in nine territories. The biggest response came from Mexico, where the seasonal comedy bowed at No. 1 with an estimated $1.4 million from 350 screens. It also ranked No. 3 in its second U.K. weekend ($1.9 million from 375 screens) and No. 4 in its third Australia weekend ($550,000 from 220 sites).

BVI's "Deja Vu," an action drama staring Denzel Washington, drew an estimated $3.8 million during the weekend from 870 screens in four territories, pushing its overseas cume to $5.2 million. It finished No. 1 in Spain (an estimated $2.4 million from 400 screens), Taiwan and Malaysia. In Mexico, it finished No. 2 with an estimated $1.1 million from 400 screens, an 4% increase from its opening weekend; the market cume is $2.7 million.

Lionsgate's horror sequel "Saw III" screamed its way to an estimated $3.3 million for the weekend in 29 territories, raising its international cume to $50 million. SPRI's animation title "Open Season" came away with an estimated $3.2 million from 2,970 screens in 52 markets for an overseas total of $81.2 million.

Fox's "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Turistas" had limited openings. "Sunshine" nabbed an estimated $395,000 from 104 screens in its Germany bow; its overall weekend estimate is $923,000 from 400 sites, lifting "Sunshine's" overseas cume to $24.9 million. "Turistas," a horror item about comely backpackers adrift in the Brazilian jungle, bowed at No. 1 in the Puerto Rico market with an estimated $119,000 from 33 screens.

Fox's "The Devil Wears Prada" lifted its international cume to $186.2 million with a $2.3 million weekend estimate from 1,500 screens, while the same distributor's holiday comedy "Deck the Halls" yielded the same estimate from 845 screens in 26 markets, increasing its international total to $3.2 million. Fox's "A Good Year," starring Russell Crowe, lifted its overseas total to $19.1 million with an estimated $1.9 million weekend playing 2,000 screens in 38 markets.

Other cume updates: WBI's "Flags of Our Fathers," $20.9 million; BVI's "The Guardian," $27.1 million; WBI's "Death Note: The Last Name," $36.8 million; UIP's "Jackass Number Two," $10.8 million; Paramount/UIP's "World Trade Center," $90.6 million; WBI's "The Prestige," $25 million; Universal's "You, Me and Dupree," $53.7 million; BVI's "The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D," $1.4 million; Universal's "Seven Dwarfs 2," $29.4 million, and "Children of Men," $25.7 million.