'Eye' on the overseas prize

Shia LaBeouf thriller takes top spot

As a batch of less-than-blockbuster titles vie for attention during the postsummer downswing at the overseas boxoffice, Paramount's "Eagle Eye," Universal's "Burn After Reading" and Fox's "Max Payne" were among newcomers displaying moderate promise in early dates.

"Eagle Eye," the action thriller starring Shia LaBeouf, took command of the international market with a weekend score of $11.1 million from 3,483 screens in 42 markets, its advance largely due to seven new openings led by a pair of No. 2 bows in Japan ($2.5 million from 306 screens) and the U.K. ($1.9 million from 361).

The Coen brothers' crime comedy "Burn," a split-rights overseas release involving Universal and territorial distributors, took in $8.7 million over the weekend, with Uni markets accounting for $6.6 million from 943 screens, chiefly from No. 1 openings in the U.K. ($3.5 million from 396) and Australia ($1.3 million from 215).

"Payne," the video game turned into a crime drama, opened in 32 mostly smaller markets, racking up $6.9 million from 1,389 screens. Spain and Australia each greeted the Mark Wahlberg starrer at No. 3, with $1.2 million (301 screens) and $996,000 (194 screens), respectively.

Last week's No. 1, the Russian-language "Koltchak," released by Fox International in Russia and Ukraine, dropped to No. 2 for the weekend as it pulled in $9.3 million from 1,225 screens for an impressive two-market cume of $28.7 million.

Disney/Pixar's animated hit "WALL-E" finished in fourth, pulling in $7.3 million from 2,946 screens in 24 countries to lift its international gross to $247.1 million. The weekend take was fueled by a No. 1 opening in Italy ($3.8 million from 653) and a fourth-week hold in Germany ($1.8 million from 770 for a market cume of $19.4 million). According to Disney International, Latin America as a whole has delivered $44 million in a month, while the U.K. has chalked up $44.2 million in 12 weeks and France has come through with $27.3 million in 11 weeks. The film's overseas run concludes Dec. 5 in Japan.

Another weekend highlight saw Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," released by Warner Bros., hold on to the No. 1 box-office spot in France for a second session in a row, grossing $2.4 million from 431 screens, a drop of only 29% from its opening weekend and raising its cume to $7.4 million. "Vicky" maintained its hold in a market in which eight of the top 10 films were local-language productions. In 10th place was Universal's "Death Race," which opened to $688,617 from 148 screens as part of its overall weekend score of $2.1 million from 25 markets (cume: $23.4 million).

During the weekend, several long-distance runners reached new heights. "Mamma Mia!," with a weekend tally of $6.3 million from 3,246 screens in 46 markets, crossed the $400 million mark ($400.6 million) to become the fourth-biggest international release of 2008 behind "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" ($466 million), "The Dark Knight" ($464 million) and "Kung Fu Panda" ($418 million).

Universal's "Wanted" edged past $200 million ($201 million) as it tallied $2.8 million from 1,138 sites in 15 territories, with China contributing $6.6 million in 11 days and Japan $223 million in 30 days.

Sony's "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" became the second Adam Sandler film to cross $100 million ($100.8 million) internationally after it picked up $740,000 from 655 screens in 28 markets.

A usually crowded market saw Warners' romantic drama "Nights in Rodanthe" take in $4.2 million from 1,720 screens in 22 markets (cume: $12.5 million), with Germany welcoming the Richard Gere/Diane Lane starrer at No. 2 with $2 million from 382 screens.

Sony's "The House Bunny" earned $3.2 million from 1,375 screens in 31 markets, lifting its early international cume to $13.7 million.

Disney's talking-dog comedy "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" is charming Latin America, where it has remained in the No. 1 spot in Mexico for three weeks, taking in $1.1 million from 404 screens during the weekend for a market cume of $7.1 million. Overall, its weekend total came to $1.7 million from 915 screens in nine markets, good for a foreign cume of $15.1 million.

More weekend tallies: "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," $3 million (cume: $68.8 million); "Mirrors," $3.5 million (cume: $31 million); "Tropic Thunder," $3.7 million (cume: $60 million); "Body of Lies," $1.8 million (cume: $6.2 million).