'HSM3' packs aisles o'seas


The theatrical debut of Disney's "High School Musical" franchise kicked off the international circuit's holiday season in melodic No. 1 fashion, garnering weekend boxoffice of $40 million from 3,050 screens in 22 markets.

At the opposite end of the franchise spectrum and finishing at No. 5 was Lionsgate/Mandate International's "Saw V," which premiered via various distributors in the U.K., Australia, Panama, Venezuela, Poland, Slovenia, Taiwan, West Indies and Turkey. The weekend tally was an estimated $6.1 million from 940 screens, with a No. 2 U.K. finish providing $3.8 million from 367 screens.

The biggest single overseas territory by far for "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" was the U.K., where the weekend tally was $13.5 million from 500 situations, or a mighty $27,000 per screen. Advance ticket sales in the market — the largest overseas for Hollywood studio films — had set a record a full three weeks before its Friday opening, Disney said.