'Madagascar' sequel marks its territory

Paramount/DreamWorks toon takes No. 1 spot

As a batch of family animated fare led by Paramount/DreamWorks' "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" seeks a piece of the overseas market during the lucrative year-end period, the competition for holiday moviegoers starts in earnest this weekend.

Fox will unleash its remake of the 1951 sci-fi classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still" in a huge day-and-date rollout starting Wednesday, with about 10,000 prints set to be working in about 60 markets by Dec. 19.

Meanwhile, "Madagascar," which has taken in $40.6 million in Russia since starting a slow international rollout at the end of October, displayed its festive season potential when it unseated five-week champion "Quantum of Solace" from the No. 1 perch during the weekend. The New York zoo animals roared to a feisty $48.8 million frame from 4,809 screens in 31 markets to raise the animated film's foreign gross to $124.2 million.

The 22nd James Bond installment dropped to second place with $10.7 million from 5,900 screens in 75 markets for a cume of $358.1 million.

Third place went to Summit's teen-appeal vampire pic "Twilight," which sucked up $10.5 million from 2,045 dates in 19 markets, lifting its cume to $34.2 million.

Rounding out the weekend's top five were two Disney toons: "Bolt" and "WALL-E."

Disney Animation's "Bolt," about a canine superhero, scored $10.1 million from 1,771 screens in 10 countries (cume to date: $20.1 million). "Bolt" will make only a limited appearance during the holiday season; the bulk of its major dates are next year, with Germany in January, the U.K. and France in February and Japan in August.

At the same time, Disney/Pixar's "WALL-E" is winding up its overseas journey in Japan, where it opened at No. 1 during the weekend, taking in $5.5 million from 458 screens. The weekend total for the long-running pic came to $5.6 million from 1,004 screens in 12 markets (cume: $270.6 million). "WALL-E" is being positioned for Japan's Shogatsu holiday, the country's annual winter celebration.

Disney's "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" sang its way to $5.2 million from 2,631 screens in 46 markets for a cume of $140.8 million. The Australia bow delivered $2.5 million from 260, almost neck and neck with the second weekend of Fox's Baz Luhrmann homegrown epic "Australia," whose cume mostly from Oz is now at $9.8 million. "Australia" is set for 57 markets on or close to Christmas Day.

With 3,000 screens still working in 57 markets, Warner Bros.' "Body of Lies" pulled in $5 million during the weekend for a cume of $52.4 million.

New Line's "Four Christmases" -- with nine new openings including Germany, Australia and Sweden -- kissed the mistletoe for $4.3 million from 973 screens in 11 markets for an early cume of $9.8 million. It was No. 2 in the U.K. on its second weekend with $2.2 million from 435 screens and a market cume of $7 million.

Universal's "Changeling" added $3.3 million from 1,167 sites in nine territories for an early cume of $19.1 million. The Clint Eastwood-directed film will roll out in the rest of the world in the next four months, with Spain coming aboard Dec. 19.

Liongate's "Saw V" continued its dismembering with another $2.5 million from about 1,000 screens in 38 markets (cume: $41.9 million).

The Coen brothers' "Burn After Reading" reached a cume of $74.4 million after picking up $1.1 million from 624 screens in 20 markets, divided between Universal Pictures International and indie territorial distributors.

Fox's "Max Payne" tallied another $1 million from 1,400 screens in 17 markets to hoist its cume to $42.4 million.

"Mamma Mia!" is still hanging in there. It picked up $183,000 from 387 dates in 17 markets after 22 weeks in release and raised its foreign cume to $425.4 million. Its final overseas date is in Japan starting Jan. 30.

Other cume updates: "Journey to the Center of the Earth," $101.7 million; "Nights in Rodanthe," $32.4 million; "Pride and Glory," $27.7 million; "Appaloosa," $5.9 million; "Death Race," $36.1 million; and "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," $82.4 million.