'Madagascar 2' tops hale overseas b.o.

Animated sequel brings in $31 mil from 58 territories

It was a merry Christmas indeed for the overseas movie biz as holiday revelers turned out in droves to applaud a diverse group of films.

Paramount/DreamWorks' "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" led the way with an estimated $31 million from 6,221 locations in 58 territories, raising its international gross to $278 million.

Two Fox offerings also delivered a stocking full of boxoffice gifts: Baz Luhrmann's Western epic "Australia," backed by 45 new openings, lassoed a hefty $26.1 million from 4,500 screens in 51 markets, raising its overseas cume to $46.2 million, and sci-fi sequel "The Day the Earth Stood Still" crossed the $100 million mark overseas as it pulled in $20.3 million from 6,500 playdates in 62 markets.

Among Disney-branded family attractions, the Adam Sandler starrer "Bedtime Stories" aroused $13.5 million as it opened at 2,003 sites in 15 territories, the animated "Bolt" latched on to $6.5 million from 2,300 screens in 24 markets to lift its foreign gross to $45.5 million, and Disney/Pixar's long-running "WALL-E" saw its overseas cume rise to $282.2 million as it held the No. 1 spot in Japan for a fourth consecutive week ($2.1 million, for a market cume of $24 million).

Comedy paid off for Warner Bros. as the Jim Carrey starrer "Yes Man" laughed to $9.1 million from 1,385 screens in 14 markets. The film ranked No. 1 in the U.K., followed by "Bedtime Stories" and "Australia."

Summit Entertainment's teen-appeal vampire story "Twilight" reached an international gross of $81 million after a weekend take of $7.7 million from 2,690 screens in 34 territories.

Universal Animation's family offering "The Tale of Despereaux" earned $5 million from 1,815 dates in 10 territories, providing an early foreign gross of $7.8 million. New Line's "Four Christmases" kept up its holiday appeal with $3.1 million from 2,278 screens in 41 markets, raising its overseas cume to $31.3 million, and the studio's "Inkheart" tallied $2.4 million from 1,146 screens in six markets for an early foreign cume of $10.6 million.

A batch of limited Christmas Day openings saw "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," for which Warner Bros. has foreign rights while Paramount is handling domestic, arrive at No. 1 in Australia with $2.3 million from 251 screens. Also, Sony's Will Smith starrer "Seven Pounds" came in third in Brazil with $1.3 million from 200 screens, Fox's "Marley & Me" took the No. 1 spot in Brazil with $1.4 million from 174 screens, and Universal's "Frost/Nixon" grossed $280,000 from 71 playdates in Australia and New Zealand.

In other overseas weekend action, "Changeling" grossed $2.6 million from 850 screens in 10 markets, raising its cume to $30 million, Sony's "The Spirit" picked up $3 million as it opened on 580 screens in Spain and Italy, and Sony's "Quantum of Solace" boosted its cume to $376.6 million by pulling in $2.2 million from 2,225 screens in 61 markets.