'Knight' scales o'seas heights

Strong opening puts Batman No. 2 behind the wider run of 'Hancock'

Opening in just 20 foreign markets on 4,500 screens, "The Dark Knight" grossed an estimated $40 million during the weekend, pushing distributor Warner Bros.' overseas boxoffice this year past the $1 billion mark.

"Dark Knight" scored a solid $8,889 per-screen average but still came in second overall to Sony's "Hancock," which played in nearly four times the overseas markets. "Dark Knight's" early worldwide cume is $195.3 million.

"Hancock" — No. 1 for the third consecutive frame — grossed an estimated $44.8 million in its third weekend overseas, playing 8,286 screens in 71 territories. Its international total so far is $253.5 million, tracking 32% ahead of the Will Smith super-hero vehicle's domestic boxoffice pace. Worldwide cume stands at $445 million.

"Dark Knight's" biggest single territory was Australia, where it scored the fifth-biggest market opening for a Warners title and largest opening weekend of any superhero title, the distributor said. The five-day tally was $13.1 million from 473 sites for a mighty per-screen average of nearly $28,000. In Mexico, the Batman title grossed $6.6 million from 1,433 screens. Its Brazil bow generated $4.3 million from 548 sites. "Dark Knight" openings this week are scheduled in the U.K., Italy and Holland.

Finishing third was DreamWorks Animation/Paramount's "Kung Fu Panda"; No. 4 was Universal's "Mamma Mia!" which held remarkably well from its opening weekend; and Pixar/Disney's "WALL-E" wound up No. 5. (partialdiff)