'Dark Knight' in cruise control


"The Dark Knight" proved again over the weekend that it is a major force overseas, finishing with a mighty $34.7 million from 7,754 screens in 62 markets to lift its foreign gross to $382.1 million, more than double the take for any previous Batman entry.

The Warner Bros. release maintained its hold on first place and — without serious immediate competition — is expected to stay on top for a few more weeks.

With the market slowing down as the summer comes to a close, the big movies of the busy season are making final rounds before getting ready for their DVD release. Universal's musical hit "Mamma Mia!" raised its weekend voice by $12.8 million for a cume of $234.1 million, while the same studio's "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" reached an offshore gross of $220 million as it registered $12.5 million from 6,000 playdates in 50 countries.

Sony's "You Don't Mess With the Zohan," muscling its way into major overseas markets, brought in $10.4 million from 1,985 screens in 30 territories to raise its gross to $56.4 million, while Disney/Pixar's "WALL-E" kept up its pace as a major contender with a weekend take of $8.5 million from 3,193 screens in 29 markets for a gross to date of $162.2 million.

Germany brought the Caped Crusader to new heights, welcoming the Warner Bros./DC Comics franchise at No. 1 with $9.9 million (including previews) from 955 screens. It took in a 59% share of the top five films in the territory and exceeded the entire boxoffice take of "Batman Begins" by 17%, Warners said.

In second-weekend "Dark Knight" holds, France ranked No. 1 again with $4.7 million nationwide from 820 screens for a market cume of $16.7 million; Spain slipped to No. 2 with $1.9 million for a market total of $11.7 million; and Russia held on to the No. 1 spot with $1.7 million for a market score of $6.6 million. Five weeks in the U.K. has delivered $86.1 million; four in Australia, $40 million; five in Mexico, $24.8 million; four in Brazil, $19.3 million; and three in Korea, $18.6 million.

"Mamma Mia!" had another great weekend in the U.K., according to Universal Pictures International, holding at No. 2 in its seventh weekend and taking in $3.4 million from 501 dates for a market tally of $98.6 million. Meanwhile, "The Mummy" has brought in $12.9 million from Japan; $13.6 million from Germany; and $10.1 million from France. The film is scheduled to open in China, Australia, New Zealand and Italy in September.

"Zohan" opened at No. 1, Spain ($3.4 million from 334 screens) for the biggest Adam Sandler opening ever in the market. It was 65% better than his previous best, "Click," and knocked "Dark Knight" out of the No. 1 spot, Sony said.

"WALL-E," which still has 50% of the international market to go, has taken in $20.2 million from France in four weeks, $12.1 million from Spain in three and $6.9 million from Korea, also in three. This weekend's openings include India and Denmark.

Among recent newcomers, Ben Stiller's "Tropic Thunder" burst forth with $5 million from eight markets, opening No. 1 in Australia with $2.7 million from 224 screens. Fox's "Taken" took in $3.1 million from 1,069 screens in four markets for a cume of $10.4 million, and "Mirrors" reflected $1.8 million from 426 screens in 14 territories.

In a typically crowded market, "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" grossed $6.8 million (cume: $32.6 million); "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," $5.1 million (cume: $15.4 million); "Get Smart," $4 million (cume: $82.6 million); "Kung Fu Panda," $4 million (cume: $372 million); "Wanted," $4 million (cume: $133.2 million); "Meet Dave," $3.7 million (cume: $27.9 million); "The Chro-nicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," $3.6 million (cume: $269 million); "The Incredible Hulk," $3.4 million (cume: $119.7 million); and "Hancock," $1.9 million (cume: $343.1 million). (partialdiff)