'Madagascar 2' is No. 1 overseas again

Weekend gross brings overseas total to $340 mil

For the fourth time in five stanzas, "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" won the No. 1 overseas boxoffice spot during the first weekend of 2009 thanks to an estimated $32.2 million from 6,771 screens in 60 territories.

The overseas gross for the DreamWorks Animation/Paramount title stands at $340 million, which puts its foreign cume some $2 million ahead of that tallied over its entire run by the original in the series about the adventures of four New York Zoo escapees, 2005's "Madagascar."

A close No. 2 on the weekend was 20th Century Fox International's "Australia," which drew an estimated $21.7 million from 5,000 screens in 51 territories for an international cume of $82.7 million. Third was "Bedtime Stories," the family feature with Adam Sandler, which registered $21.2 million from 2,870 sites in 22 markets for an overseas cume of $44 million and $129.4 mllion worldwide.

Tied for the fourth spot were Fox's "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and Warner's "Yes Man," with each drawing an estimated $12 million. The sci-fi remake played 5,900 situations in 63 territories for an international cume of $128.6 million. Meanwhile, the latest Jim Carrey comedy visited 1,800 screens in 21 markets for an overseas total of $34 million, $113.4 million worldwide. Notable was its No. 1 bow in Australia ($3 million from 257 screens).

Disney Animation's "Bolt" finished No. 5 with $11.9 million from 2,877 spots in 25 territories for an overseas cume to date of $64 million. The animation title about a dog actor (voiced by John Travolta) opened No. 3 in Australia ($1.7 million from 230 sites). In Korea, the take was $2.4 million from 125 screens, which including previews makes the "Bolt" bow the biggest market opening ever for any Disney animation title.

"Madagascar 2," which began its slow international rollout in late October, opened No. 1 in Poland, scoring $3.8 million from 82 spots for a per-screen average of $46,341, which Paramount describes as "the all-time second highest opening (in the market) for any film." A China bow is expected to come in with an estimated $2.3 million from 600 situations.

"Madagascar 2" finished No. 1 in its fifth weekend in France with $5.1 million due from 834 spots for a market cume of $39.5 million. In Italy, the weekend tally was $3.6 million from 415 locations for a cume of $29.5 million while the Germany tally was $3.5 million from 826 spots for a cume of $40 million.

In its second weekend on the international circuit, "Australia" finished No. 1 in Germany, Spain, Sweden and Denmark, while the Baz Luhrmann-directed epic with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman finished No. 2 in France, Austria and New Zealand.

"Bedtime Stories' " openings in six territories were paced by a $3.7 million in Mexico from 600 spots, while Russia provided another $3.6 million from 350 screens. A No. 1 bow in Taiwan produced $1.2 million from just 20 sites for an eye-popping average of $60,000 per screen. In Thailand, Malaysia and Russia, Disney said the opening numbers for "Stories" exceeded the total grosses generated over respective market runs of previous Sandler vehicles "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" and 2006's "Click."

Warners' release of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" with Brad Pitt drew an estimated $2.3 million from 307 Australia and New Zealand screens for a foreign cume of $6.2 million, $85.2 million worldwide. Fox opened United Artists' "Valkyrie" with Tom Cruise in Puerto Rico where it ranked No. 3 in the market with $185,000 from 36 screens.

Fox also drew $3 million from 512 screens in six markets for "Marley & Me" for an early overseas cume of $5.3 million. Universal's "Frost/Nixon" played 71 screens in Australia and New Zealand for an estimated $300,000. Sony drew an estimated $2.6 million from 1,025 screens in six markets for "The Spirit" for a cume of $6.6 million.

Universal's animated fantasy "The Tale of Despereaux" drew $3.4 million from 1,894 screens in 17 territories for a cume of $13 million. "WALL-E," the Pixar/Disney animation title that was Disney's top title in 2008, grabbed the No. 1 spot in Japan for the fourth of five weekends in the market, grossing $3.7 million from 330 spots for a lusty $11,212 per screen. Its overseas cume stands at $298 million with "WALL-E" on track this week to become the 10th Disney title to cross the $300 million international gross mark.

Universal's "Changeling" with Angelina Jolie collected an estimated $2.6 million from 912 screens in 12 territories for a foreign cume to date of $35.6 million. The Clint Eastwood-directed period drama will open in 47 markets over the next three months, with Germany and Korea bows due Jan. 22.

Other international cumes: MGM/Sony's "Quantum of Solace," $380.4 million; Fox's "Mirrors," 41.6 million; Universal's "The Strangers," $14.3 million; New Line's "Four Christmases," $37.1 million; Sony's "Seven Pounds," $2.9 million; and Mandate International's "Saw V," $49 million.
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