'Expendables' nabs No. 1 from 'Inception' o'seas

China debut helps Stallone film earn $32.1 mil on weekend

Thanks to hefty opening grosses registered in the U.K. and France -- plus a massive debut in China -- Sylvester Stallone's "The Expendables" decisively muscled its way to the No. 1 spot over the weekend on the foreign theatrical circuit .

With 17 offshore markets reporting, the Milennium Films /Nu Image Films super-octane action vehicle costarring Stallone, Jason Stratham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts and Mickey Rourke has compiled a weekend gross of $32.1 million from about 2,700 screens.

Putting "Expendables" firmly on top was the weekend boxoffice result from China, a huge $10.7 million from an undisclosed number of screens. China is a notoriously difficult market in terms of extracting figures on a timely basis, and the smash weekend result did not surface until Wednesday morning.

(Disclosures of key weekend returns for "Expendables" in general were delayed due to a complicated and not-especially-timely reporting process involving myriad regional film distributors handling the film overseas.)

The action title on the weekend opened via Lionsgate No. 1 in the U.K., commanding an estimated $6.1 million from 453 screens. In France via Metropolitan Filmexport, the first-place gross was $5.3 million from 445 locations. In Korea via Sidus FNH, "Expendables" opened in the No. 5 spot with an estimated $1.55 million elicited from 236 screens.

In Australia, "Expendables," No. 3 in its second round via Roadshow, lured $1.5 million from 224 sites for a market cume of $5.3 million. Universal reports that in Spain, the film drew a second-weekend gross of $773,000 from 337 dates for a 10-day market cume of $3.9 million. In its second Mexico round via Zima, "Expendables" grossed $682,526 from 276 venues for a market cume of $2.28 million.

In its second Russia round (via Central Partnership), "Expendables" generated an estimated $2.1 million, raising its market cume to $9.8 million. In its second stanza in Brazil, the action title grossed $969,000 from 175 locations for a cume of $2.9 million. It also opened No. 1 in Singapore and No. 2 in Poland on the weekend.

Over two rounds on the foreign circuit, "Expendables" has amassed an estimated $56.4 million total gross.

No. 2 on the weekend, playing in was 62 markets, was Warner Bros.' "Inception," which had been the running for its fourth consecutive overseas No. 1. (Director Christopher Nolan's sci-fi thriller starring Leonardo Di Caprio has handily claimed first place in the three prior weekends.) Weekend tally was $21.3 million from 6,645 screens for a foreign boxoffice total so far of $357.5 million.  

Opening overseas in the U.K.'s No. 4 spot (via Entertainment Film Distributors) was the Weinstein Co./Dimension's "Piranha 3D." The horror outing directed by Alexandre Aja and costarring Richard Dreyfuss, Elizabeth Shue and Ving Rhames collected an estimated $2.06 million from 352 situations.

The horror sendup "Vampires Suck," from 20th Century Fox, opened offshore to $748,688 from 174 screens in eight markets.

Premiering at No. 1 in South Korea ($6.5 million from 450 sites) and Germany ($4.8 million from 474 locations), Paramount's "The Last Airbender" looks to finish the weekend with $20.2 million from 3,746 venues in 42 markets for an international cume of $94.9 million. It ranked No. 3 on the weekend.

Director M. Night Shyamalan's 3D adaptation of the Nickelodeon TV series has so far grossed a total of $5.1 million over two rounds in the U.K. and $8.4 million from France. "Airbender" opens this week in Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Peru.

After slightly more than a month playing the foreign circuit, "Salt" -- the weekend's No. 4 title -- crossed the $100-million gross mark on the weekend ($106.2 million, says Sony).

The Cold War thriller starring Angelina Jolie opened No. 1 in at least three markets including Australia ($3.6 million from 365 locations), premiered at No. 2 in the U.K. ($3.4 million from 346 screens) and drew $2 million in its Germany debut at 484 locations. Total weekend registered $17.75 million from 4,368 situations in 61 markets.

No. 5 was Pixar/Disney's "Toy Story 3" in 3D, which continued to chug along after two-and-a-half months on the overseas circuit, grossing $12.2 million from 5,148 screens in 40 territories. Foreign cume stands at $581.3 million, making the animation threequel the fifteenth biggest offshore grosser of all time.

"Step Up 3D" is being handled overseas by Summit and Universal. From 23 territories, the third installment of the urban dance franchise collected on the weekend $11.1 million from 2,467 situations. Seven openings are in the offing this week, including in Germany.

The five markets handled by Universal generated on the weekend $5.3 million from about 1,042 sites, including 293 screens in France, which threw off $2.1 million, placing "Step Up 3D's" debut in the market's No. 4 spot. Total grossed overseas to date is an estimated $53.2 million.

Still pumping after about three months on the foreign theatrical circuit, DreamWorks Animation/Paramount's "Shrek Forever After" in 3D opened in China, and generated an estimated $8.1 million from 923 situations. Weekend overall produced $10.7 million from 3,843 locations in 42 markets for a foreign gross total so far of $455.5 million. Openings in Greece and Italy are on tap this week.

"The Karate Kid" has delivered a foreign gross total of $124.3 million since it opened on the overseas circuit on June 9. Weekend boxoffice for Sony's update costarring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith came to $10.3 million from 3,102 screens in 39 territories. A No. 2 France opening delivered $3.2 million from 530 screens.

Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" drew $10.4 million from 3,571 sites in 38 markets with a No. 1 Italy debut helping considerably with an estimated weekend tally of $3.4 million. The Jerry Bruckheimer production starring Nicolas Cage pushed its overseas gross total to $91.7 million.

Ranking No. 1 in its Poland opening was Universal's "Despicable Me," which generated $5.4 million on the weekend from a total of 1,665 sites in 25 territories. With more than 30 markets yet to play the 3D animation title voiced principally by Steve Carell has accumulated a foreign gross of $65.4 million.

No. 1 in Japan is Tokyo Broadcasting System/Toho's "Hana Mizuki – May Your Love Bloom for a Hundred Years," a romantic melodrama directed by Nobuhiro Doi about teenagers in love. Opener yielded $4.66 million from 310 situations.

Fox's "The A-Team" generated an action-packed $2.29 million from 358 locations in its Japan debut, and drew $4.4 million overall on the weekend at 1,981 spots in 14 territories. Overseas cume for the screen adaptation of the 1980s NBC-TV series is $89.9 million.

Top local-language necomer in the Paris area was UGC Distribution's "Crime d'amour" (Love Crime), director Alain Corneau's psychological thriller. The tale of a beleaguered female employee (Ludvine Sagnier) seeking to even the score with her abusive boss (Kristin Scott-Thomas) opened No. 7 with $1 million derived from 257 screens.

Opening No. 2 in Sweden was "Grown Ups," which tallied $4.8 million on the weekend overall from 2,095 screens in 42 territories. Cume for Sony's comedy starring Adam Sandler stands at $59.3 million.

Other international cumes: Fox's "Knight and Day," $147.1 million (after a $3.1 million weekend at 2,100 screens in 34 markets); Universal's "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," $2.5 million (after a $1 million weekend playing 497 dates in three markets); and Fox's "Marmaduke," $36.4 million (after a $3.3 million weekend at 1,857 screens in 12 territories).

Also, Warner's "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore," $35 million (thanks to a $7.5 million weekend at 4,600 screens in 42 markets); Universal's "Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang," $63.1 million; DreamWorks Animation/Paramount's "How to Train Your Dragon," $272.7 million; Fox's "Predators," $64.6 million; Universal's "Get Him to the Greek," $22.7 million; and Lionsgate's "Killers," estimated $38.5 million.

And, Fuji TV/Toho's "Bayside Shakedown 3: Set the Guys Loose," $78 million in Japan only; Universal's 'Repo Men," $4.6 million; Universal and several foreign distributors' "Sammy's Adventures: The Secret Passage," $5.9 million from France and The Netherlands; Universal's "Robin Hood," $205.6 million; and Universal's "Hanni und Nanni," $5.9 million in Germany and Austria.