'Eragon' soars atop o'seas b.o.


Capitalizing on holiday business worldwide, 20th Century Fox International opened "Eragon" in 76 markets overseas for an estimated $30.3 million from 6,128 screens, propelling the youth-slanted fantasy-adventure to the weekend's No. 1 boxoffice title.

"Eragon," the directorial debut of special effects ace Stefen Fangmeier, finished No. 1 in at least 22 of its territories, displacing "Casino Royale" from the overall top spot. The latest James Bond adventure, which had been the top international title for the last four weeks.

The total worldwide gross for "Eragon," which opened day-and-date with its bow in the U.S. (where it finished No. 2), stands at an estimated $53.8 million. In the saturation style of its releasing pattern, it resembles but underperformed Fox's previous family audience hit, "Ice Age: The Meltdown," which bowed overseas in April and yielded $43.4 million in its opening weekend at 5,000 screens.

Fox said that "Eragon," based on the novel by Christopher Paolini, finished first in Germany (an estimated $4.1 million from 862 screens); Spain ($4.2 million from 500 sites); in all of Latin America, particularly Mexico ($2.3 million from 797 locations); and in Thailand ($1.1 million from 220 screens).

In Japan, "Eragon" finished No. 2 with an estimated $2.2 million from 561 screens, while in the U.K. it wound up fourth in the market with $2.7 million from 429 locales. In Austria, it ranked No. 2 with an estimated $1.7 million from 321 screens. In Russia, the weekend estimate is $2.2 million from 490 spots.

Belgium, France, Italy, Brazil and Poland are on "Eragon's" overseas schedule this weekend. South Korea looms next month.

For its part, "Casino" finished No. 2 overall for the weekend with an estimated $21 million from 7,090 screens in 64 markets. The take pushed the latest Agent 007 adventure's international gross to $280.3 million, making "Casino" the biggest grosser of the 21 Bond films overseas. The previous record-holder in the series, 2002's "Die Another Day," accumulated total international boxoffice of $271 million.

Worldwide, "Casino" is just $13.4 million shy of breaking the $431.3 million all-time best Bond boxoffice mark set by "Die Another Day."

The most notable of "Casino's" two new markets is Brazil, where it ranked No. 1, racking up an estimated $1.3 million from 361 screens. The biggest of the holdover markets are Germany (ranking No. 2 with an estimated $3.2 million in its fourth frame from 1,070 screens for a cume of $35.8 million), the U.K. (ranking No. 3 in its fifth weekend with $2.95 million from 793 sites for a market total of $85.3 million) and Australia (still No. 1 in its second weekend with $2.9 million from 401 sites, for a market cume of $10.5 million).

No. 3 on the weekend is Universal/United International Pictures' "The Holiday," which gifted itself an estimated $14 million from 2,450 screens in 28 territories, raising its overseas boxoffice total in two weekends to $28.5 million. Its worldwide boxoffice cume is $53.8 million.

Writer-director Nancy Meyers' romantic comedy, with Cameron Diaz, bowed in Germany (for an estimated $2.7 million from 541 screens) and in Korea ($2.6 million from 230 sites), with the U.K. the strongest holdover market (an estimated $3.1 million from 430 screens for a market total of $11.6 million).

Placing fourth is Warner Bros. International's "Happy Feet," which danced its way to an estimated $12.8 million from about 5,800 screens in 39 territories. The total international gross for the animation title is $59.7 million; the worldwide total is $209.1 million.

In addition to a No. 1 bow in Israel and a strong Greece opening, "Happy Feet" had strong holdover frames in the U.K., ranking No. 1 in its second weekend with an estimated $4 million from 469 situations, for a market cume of $13.1 million; and Spain, finishing No. 2 in its second weekend with $1 million from 470 screens, for a market cume of $5.8 million.

In the fifth spot is Buena Vista International's "Deja Vu," which yielded an estimated $8.9 million for the weekend from 2,890 screens in 16 territories, lifting its overseas cume to $22.5 million.

The Denzel Washington actioner opened in six significant markets: the U.K., placing No. 5 with an estimated $2.1 million from 485 screens; France, No. 2 with $2 million from 500 sites; Italy, No. 2 with $1.3 million from 400 spots; Russia, $750,000 from 250 screens; Belgium, ranking No. 1 with $425,000 from 50 sites; and Holland, $300,000 from 90 spots. This weekend for "Deja Vu" sees openings in Sweden, South Africa, Finland, Portugal and Venezuela.

DreamWorks Animation/UIP's "Flushed Away" finished just out of the top five with an estimated $8.2 million for the weekend from 4,674 screens in 44 markets, raising its international total to $46.8 million. It bowed in nine new markets, mostly in Latin America, with Mexico the standout, ranking No. 2 with an estimated $1.1 million from 673 screens.

Martin Scorsese's gritty crime drama "The Departed" continues to chug along overseas, grossing an estimated $4.2 million from about 2,600 screens in 40 markets for an international cume of $108.4 million.

The notable single-market performer remains Clint Eastwood's "Letters From Iwo Jima," presenting the Japanese view of the World War II battle. The Warner Bros. release, with a Japanese cast speaking Japanese, finished No. 1 in Japan for the second consecutive weekend with an estimated $2.9 million from 401 screens; the estimated cume for the Japan market is $11.9 million. Meanwhile, Eastwood's companion film, "Flags of Our Fathers," has underperformed internationally, garnering an overall overseas total of just $22.7 million.

British comic Sacha Baron Cohen's "Borat" from Fox is winding down internationally with an estimated $2.4 million on the weekend from 24 markets, the best of which is Australia (an estimated $712,000 from 266 screens). Its overseas cume stands at an estimated $108.9 million.

Sony's animation title "Open Season" collected an estimated $2.2 million for the weekend at 2,420 screens in 43 markets, raising its overseas gross to $90.6 million. UIP's "Charlotte's Web," which bowed in Australia a week before its U.S. opening, grabbed an estimated $915,000 from 253 screens in its second frame Down Under, lifting its overseas cume to $2.4 million.

Other cume updates: Lionsgate's "Saw III," $58.5 million (thanks to a $1.4 million weekend in 32 territories); Universal/UIP's "Children of Men," $27.2 million, and "Seven Dwarfs 2," $30.2 million.