'Legend' shows legs at int'l b.o.

No. 1 for fifth week in row with $28.7 mil weekend

Another strong weekend overseas saw "I Am Legend" take the top spot for the fifth consecutive stanza with an estimated $28.7 million from about 6,200 locations in 54 territories, raising its international gross to $262.4 million.

Powered largely by the Will Smith vehicle's mighty legs, the cumulative gross of the weekend's top five films beat last year's top five during the comparable stanza by more than 40%, continuing 2008's strong early performance.

"Legend" had outstanding No. 1 holdover frames in Germany and Italy and a solid No. 3 fourth weekend in the U.K. First-place debuts in Mexico and Brazil were impressive, with Mexico providing an estimated $4.1 million from 506 sites and Brazil $3.1 million from 400 screens.

Distributor Warner Bros. International said the Mexico opening was the sixth-highest in the market for any of its films, adding that the Brazil bow was the studio's third-highest opening and 11th-highest industrywide.

The biggest newcomer to the international field was DreamWorks/Warners' "Sweeney Todd," which drew an estimated $6.6 million from 739 sites in four markets. The recipient of two Golden Globes, director Tim Burton's rendering of the Broadway musical premiered at No. 1 in Japan and Korea.

"Sweeney" collected an estimated $3.7 million from 398 spots in Japan for a per-screen average of $9,297. In Korea, the estimated gross was $2.2 million from 207 situations, or $10,628 per screen. Openings in the U.K., France and Australia are due this week.

Also notable was "Cloverfield," the No. 1 domestic opener that Paramount Pictures International premiered in six foreign territories for an estimated $4.3 million from 432 screens. Its early worldwide cume is $45.3 million.

The sci-fi thriller from TV director Matt Reeves finished at No. 2 in New Zealand but No. 1 in Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. The latter territory generated the highest return, an estimated $2.2 million from 209 sites.

20th Century Fox International opened Fox Searchlight's sleeper hit "Juno" in Australia for an estimated $1.6 million from 167 locations, averaging $9,581 per-screen. Worldwide, "Juno" has grossed $87 million.

Paramount's "No Country for Old Men" made its U.K. debut with an estimated $2.3 million from 164 situations for a solid per-screen average of $14,024. In all, 213 situations produced an estimated $2.5 million for the Coen brothers crime drama from the U.K. and Australia, raising its international total to $5.1 million.

Also in the U.K., Sony opened "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story," the rock star biopic parody starring John C. Reilly, to a dismal $450,000 from 300 screens, ranking 14th in the market.

No. 2 overall for the weekend was Fox's "Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem," which collected an estimated $11.7 million from about 4,600 screens in 47 markets, lifting its overseas cume to $69.8 million. The same distributor's "Alvin and the Chipmunks" finished at No. 3 with $9.4 million from about 4,400 sites in 53 markets. Its overseas cume stands at $95.1 million.

New Line's "The Golden Compass" was expected to pass the $250 million mark overseas during the weekend. The distributor declined to provide weekend estimates after a 45% overstatement of the fantasy adventure's weekend take during the previous stanza. As of Dec. 17, "Compass" had grossed $242.4 million overseas vs. $67.7 million domestically.

Fox's "27 Dresses" remained No. 1 for the second Australia weekend and tallied an estimated $2.5 million overall from 276 screens in four markets for a cume of $7.8 million. Worldwide, its cume is $30.2 million.

Universal's "Atonement" received a boost from Golden Globes and British Academy of Film and Television Arts citations and tallied an estimated $4 million during the weekend from 1,000 sites in 27 markets for a cume of $50 million.