'Earth' has a gravitational pull

Fox sci-fi remake grabs No. 1 spot in 35 markets

After this weekend, 20th Century Fox's "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and Paramount/DreamWorks' "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" are the strongly positioned favorites that will draw the most moviegoers to overseas multiplexes during the holidays.

While nowhere near record proportions for a wide 90-territory kickoff, "Earth" grabbed the No. 1 slot in 35 of those markets, tallying a sturdy $39.2 million from 7,715 screens. The U.K., Russia, Spain, Italy, Taiwan, Belgium, Holland and Sweden were among the key countries that welcomed the remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic at the top of the boxoffice charts. Russia was the film's top backer with $5.9 million from 721 screens, followed by the U.K. ($4.1 million from 466), France ($3.3 million from 606) and Spain ($3 million from 464).

"Earth" came in second to "Madagascar 2" in France, Germany ($2.8 million from 804 screens) and Mexico ($2.9 million from 1,121).

"Madagascar," the animated offering about zoo animals returning to their jungle habitat, grossed $32.4 million from 5,028 screens in 38 territories. Weekend results included 11 new openings, highlighted by Brazil's $4 million bow at No. 1. The family-friendly toon, which started a slow rollout in late October in Russia, is gearing up for the start of school holidays in many markets this week. The film, whose international gross has reached $172 million, still has 13 territories to play, with Italy and Australia opening this weekend, Korea coming aboard in early January and Japan signing on in March.

"Twilight," Summit Entertainment's vampire film, drew an estimated $10.7 million from 2,540 playdates in 24 markets, lifting its international cume to $50.1 million. It took the No. 1 slot in Australia with $3.6 million, and holdover tallies included $9.2 million from Spain, $14.9 million from Italy and $7.8 million from Mexico.

"Quantum of Solace" pulled in $5.1 million over the weekend from 4,200 screens in 70 markets. The 22nd James Bond saga, which was No. 1 in each of the previous five weekends, raked in $78.4 million from the U.K., $38.2 million from Germany and $30.9 million from France. Its cume is $367 million.

Two Disney toons are prominent in the overseas mix. Animated canine "Bolt" barked to $4.8 million from 1,907 screens in 10 markets for a cume of $28.4 million. In three weeks in Russia, "Bolt" has recorded $10.6 million, hailed as the biggest take ever for a Disney animated film. "Bolt," which has eight small-market dates before the end of the year, will have its biggest overseas splash during January and February.

Disney/Pixar's "WALL-E, in its final overseas engagement in Japan, has scored $12.4 million in nine days in the market, holding the No. 1 position for a second straight weekend with $4.4 million from 58 screens. Its international cume is at $277.5 million.

New Line's "Four Christmases" brought in $4.2 million from 1,130 screens in 18 markets, holding at No. 3 in the U.K. with $1.7 million from 420 screens for a market cume of $9.9 million. Its international gross is $15.8 million.

At the same time, New Line's "Inkheart" debuted to 3.1 million from 992 screens in four markets. It bowed at No. 3 in the U.K. with $1.1 million from 407 screens.

The Coen brothers' "Burn After Reading" picked up another $3.8 million from 819 sites in 22 markets to raise its foreign gross to $78.5 million. A split overseas release between Universal Pictures International and Focus Features, UPI claims $35.1 million to date from nine territories.

Buz Luhrmann's homegrown western epic "Australia" registered $3.9 million from 1,085 screens in five markets, with Korea opening at No. 3 with almost $2 million from 426 screens. In Australia, the Fox release has picked up $12.7 million in three weeks. It's set for a wide release on or close to Dec. 25.

Disney's "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" raised its international cume to $145 million after a weekend tally of $2.8 million from 2,080 screens in 30 markets. Seven weeks in the U.K. has brought in $36 million.

Warner Bros.' "Body of Lies," still holding on to 2,200 screens in 56 markets, picked up another $2.7 million to hoist its international gross to $57.8 million.