'Jumper' leaps to overseas peak

Sci-fi thriller hits No. 1 in 20 countries for $29.4 mil take

"It's a year-round business if you've got the right movie," said 20th Century Fox International co-president Paul Hanneman, extolling the blue-ribbon opening of the sci-fi thriller "Jumper," which entered the overseas market during the weekend with an impressive $29.4 million from 2,800 screens in 30 markets.

As part of a day-and-date rollout with domestic, the Doug Liman-directed adventure about the ability to transport oneself anywhere, played well everywhere, opening No. 1 in 20 out of the 30 debut markets. At the same time, "Jumper's" kickoff kept foreign boxoffices humming during the early part of the moviegoing season, helped to some extent by half-term school holidays in some markets.

The best-picture Oscar nominees moved ahead steadily, though they were unable to corral the large number of screens that go to mainstream attractions.

Top openings for "Jumper" included the U.K. ($6.1 million from 406 screens), Korea ($4.8 million from 343), Russia ($3.7 million from 422), Spain ($3.7 million from 447), Australia ($3.1 million from 273) and Taiwan ($1.3 million from 132).

In addition to anticipated holdover business despite lukewarm reviews, "Jumper" is counting on 10 new openings this coming weekend, including France, Belgium, Sweden and Denmark.

The theory behind the offshore releases of this year's Oscar hopefuls is that they are of the kind of films that attract a more sophisticated audience. These films, say the distribution experts, are capable of playing to capacity at smaller theaters and can settle down for long runs.

"There Will Be Blood," under the guidance of Disney International, took in $3.5 million over the weekend from 617 screens in 16 markets for a just-getting-started cume of $5 million. Expanding in the U.K. from 24 to 121 screens, the multi-nominated film took in $1.1 million from 121 screens for a market cume to date of $1.9 million. Spain opened to $545,000 from 103 screens; Italy, $530,000 from 103; Germany, $296,000 from 62; and Brazil, $252,000 from 50.

"Juno," which has tallied $125 million in the domestic market, is doing comparatively well overseas but is not expected to come close to the homefront totals. Fox International — which has most of Western Europe and Asia, including Japan and Australia through its split-rights pact with Mandate International — brought in $6.1 million over the weekend from 1,140 screens in 15 markets, raising the cume to date to $27.5 million. France was up 1% in its second weekend, with $1.3 million from 166 screens for a market cume of $2.9 million. The U.K. declined 16%, with $2.7 million from 366 screens for a current market take of $9.6 million, while Spain dropped 26% ($771,000 from 170) and a cume of $3.4 million.

"No Country For Old Men," which started out in late December via Paramount Pictures International, picked up $4.1 million over the weekend from 1,277 screens in 25 countries, lifting its cume to $30.8 million. About $6.3 million came from France in almost four weeks, $10.3 million from the U.K. in a little over four, and $4.1 million from Australia in almost eight weeks.

"Atonement," which started last September via Universal Pictures International, grossed $1.6 million over the weekend from 1,048 dates in 40 territories to reach an international total of $66.6 million. It has been running in Australia for nine weeks and has a market take of $8.9 million. The film still has 11 markets to go, including Korea and China.

"Michael Clayton," also an early starter under Summit Entertainment, has reached a foreign cume of $33.9 million.

Among the mainstream entries, the European co-production "Asterix at the Olympic Games" went up to $85 million after taking in $14.2 million from 26 markets, all in Europe or Eastern Europe. Though the Gallic comedy has held strong in France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Belgium, it has had rough sailing in the U.K. and Holland, collecting only $39,000 from three screens in the U.K. in three weeks and opening No. 16 in Holland to $45,000 from 3,300 screens.

"National Treasure: Book of Secrets" held steady, hitting a cume of $12.7 million from 2,946 screens after a $12.7 weekend. It became the 26th Disney film to cross the $200 million mark in the overseas market.

There's still life in Sylvester Stallone's "Rambo," known as "John Rambo" overseas, as it pulled in an estimated $7.2 million from about 1,900 screens in 23 markets, with the cume reaching $21.5 million.

A crowded market saw "27 Dresses" tally $6.9 million (cume: $22.6 million); "Sweeney Todd" cut up $6.8 million (cume: $70 million); "Cloverfield" scare up $6.1 million (cume: $67.8 million) and "Definitely Maybe" take in $1.3 million (cume: $5.8 million).