Four and counting for 'Solace'


It's Bond again — at least until a new high-profile title enters the overseas market for the holiday season.

For the fourth week in a row, Sony/MGM's "Quantum of Solace," the 22nd installment of the 007 saga, remained king of the international hill with a robust weekend take of $40.2 million from 10,400 screens in 72 territories, lifting its foreign gross to $308.3 million.

The overall offshore business remains surprisingly upbeat despite "Solace's" domination. Warner Bros.' "Body of Lies," the Ridley Scott spy thriller starring Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio, is making a gratifying comeback after a slow start, taking second place with $10.1 million from 2,935 outlets in 35 markets.

Indie upstart Summit Entertainment entered the big time with the takeoff of its teen-slanted vampire entry "Twilight," which sucked up $9.6 million from 1,275 playdates in five countries for a third-place finish during the weekend.

Paramount/DreamWorks' animated "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa," which is slowly building a following in smaller markets before hitting major countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America in December, held on to a top-five position with a weekend score of $7.5 million from 1,335 screens in 12 countries for a cume-to-date of $57.5 million.

Rounding out the weekend's top five, Disney's "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" maintained a solid pace with a $4.9 million weekend from 4,126 locations, hoisting its international gross to $129.9 million.

Other weekend highlights included Fox's "Max Payne," $4.3 million from 1,665 screens in 16 markets (cume: $36.4 million), and Universal's "Changeling," $3.2 million from 702 dates in four territories (second-weekend cume: $8.9 million).

Around the globe, positioning for holiday playing time is under way. Fox International is opening Baz Luhrmann's homegrown epic "Australia" Down Under this weekend and following up with another 57 markets on or close to Christmas Day. Also, Fox will bring out its remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still," which is headed for a massive day-and-date rollout beginning Dec. 10, with about 10,000 prints in some 60 markets set to be working by Dec. 19.

Warners will release the Brad Pitt starrer "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" in Australia day-and-date with the Dec. 25 North American bow under domestic rights holder Paramount. Disney will release Adam Sandler's "Bedtime Stories" in about 30 countries day-and-date with the U.S. bow on Dec. 25, while their 3-D family comedy "Bolt" also has a number of key dates in December.

Sony International expects that "Solace" will be around until January, and it anticipates holding on to a fair number of screens when the new tentpoles arrive. Up to now, 26 markets have outgrossed previous Bond champion "Casino Royale." In four new No. 1 openings, Australia pulled in $8 million from 476 screens; Spain, $5.2 from 534; South Africa, $585.000 from 92; and Peru, $254,000 from 30. Each registered the biggest openings ever for a Bond film.

"Body of Lies" debuted at No. 2 in the U.K. (behind "Solace") with $1.5 million from 400 screens; No. 3 in Italy ($1.4 million from 372); and No. 2 in Germany ($1.4 million from 427 prints.

"Madagascar 2", which has pulled in $39.7 million in three weeks from Russia, is set to open in 12 new markets this weekend, including Spain and several countries in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

"Twilight's" weekend tally came from a No 1 opening in Mexico ($2.3 million from 385); a top-of-the-market bow in Italy ($5.8 million from 601 prints); Russia ($1 million from 251); Sweden ($341,000 from 41); and Italian-speaking Switzerland ($32,000 from three prints).

"High School Musical 3" has reached a market cume of $35.2 million after five weekends in the U.K.

More weekend tallies: "Saw V," $2.1 million (cume: $33 million); "Burn After Reading," $1.7 million (cume: $71 million); "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," $1.1 million (cume: $81 million); "Mamma Mia!" $715,000 (cume: $422.8 million); "Nights in Rodanthe," $1.2 million (cume: $30.3 million); and "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," $1.1 million (cume: 20 million). (partialdiff)