'Madagascar 2' knocks off 'Earth' overseas

Animated sequel draws $33.5 million from 56 territories

As the studios jockey for overseas Christmas-week business, Paramount/DreamWorks' "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" hurdled to the forefront with a weekend blast of $33.5 million from 5,959 screens in 56 territories, ousting Fox's "The Day the Earth Stood Still" ($21 million from 92 markets) from the international command post.

The animated film about zoo animals returning to their jungle home opened in 10 new markets and was welcomed in the No. 1 spot by Italy ($6.5 million from 463 screens), Australia ($4.4 million from 267), Hong Kong ($465,000 from 43) and New Zealand ($415,000 from 76).

The sequel, which grew its international gross to $218.5 million, held strong in holdovers, with Germany delivering $26.8 million to date, France $21.6 million, the U.K. $18.7 million and Mexico $12.1 million.

"Earth," performing on 7,850 screens, reached an international gross of $72.3 million, aided by a No. 1 opening in Japan ($4.9 million from 655 screens). Market cumes include $9.2 million from Russia, $7.2 million from the U.K., $5.6 million from Mexico and $5.5 million from France.

Summit Entertainment's "Twilight," playing on 3,140 screens in 27 countries, picked up $11 million during the weekend, highlighted by a No. 1 bow in the U.K. (estimated $3.9 million from 446 screens) and a No. 2 opening (after "Madagascar 2") in Brazil ($1.2 million from 319). Its international cume has advanced to $64.6 million.

New Line's "Four Christmases" continued to show holiday potential, registering a $5.7 million weekend from 2,282 screens in 38 markets. Its cume is $23.8 million.

Disney Animation's "Bolt" barked to another $5.3 million from 2,358 screens in 15 countries, moving its cume to $35.9 million.

Two new entries seeking a piece of the holiday business included Warner Bros.' Jim Carrey comedy "Yes Man," which took in $3.5 million from 652 screens in six countries, and Universal Animation's "The Tale of Despereaux," which tallied $1.7 million from 792 dates in the U.K., Spain and Portugal.

Disney/Pixar's "WALL-E," nearing the end of its long run, brought in another $3.3 million from 450 screens in Japan for a market cume of $3.8 million and an international gross of $283 million.

The Clint Eastwood-directed "Changeling" pulled in $3 million from 931 screens in 10 countries via Universal to lift its foreign gross to $83 million.

Other cume updates:

Baz Luhrmann's "Australia," set for wide release Christmas Day, raised its cume to $14.8 million after a weekend take of $1.1 million from 485 screens in four markets.

Sony's "Quantum of Solace," out of the top five for the first time in about six weeks, hoisted it cume to $372 million after earning $2.9 million from 2,730 screens in 68 markets.

Disney's "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" went up to $148.4 million after adding $1.6 million from 2,003 screens in 35 countries.

Lionsgate's "Saw V" advanced to $46 million after taking in $700,000 from 750 screens in 36 territories.