'Marley & Me' top dog at int'l b.o.

Nine market openings boosts weekend take to $13.9 mil

Thanks to nine new market openings, notably a No. 1 premiere in the U.K. that generated $6.4 million from 467 locations, 20th Century Fox International's "Marley & Me" grabbed the top spot on the international circuit during the weekend, edging out "Watchmen."

The David Frankel-helmed family drama, based on John Grogan's book about an obstreperous 100-pound dog, grossed a family-friendly estimate of $14.2 million from 2,800 screens in 34 markets, also including a first-place opening in Russia that provided $1.7 million from 517 locations. "Marley's" cumulative international gross stands at $49.3 million.

Paramount's "Watchmen," from director Zack Snyder, faded to second place with $13.1 million from 4,962 screens in 46 markets for an international cume of $49 million. The adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' comic-book series had opened at No. 1 during the previous frame with a $26.6 million gross.

Finishing third on the weekend was Warner Bros.' "Gran Torino," starring Clint Eastwood, which stepped up its international pace with a No. 2 opening in Italy ($2.2 million from 323 screens, the biggest bow in that market for an Eastwood film).

"Torino" was No. 1 in Spain for the second frame ($2.3 million from 272 locations) and held the top spot in France with $2.7 million from 461 spots for a market cume of $14.6 million. On the weekend overall, it grossed $11.1 million from 2,187 sites in 27 territories, and its overseas cume stands at $47.3 million.

At No. 4 overseas, Fox's "Dragonball Evolution" premiered in eight Asian markets before its April 8 domestic opening. Director James Wong's live-action adaptation of the famous Japanese cartoon series, created by Akira Toriyama, co-stars Justin Chatwin and Chow Yun-Fat and drew $9.6 million from 2,132 screens.

Following heavy prerelease promotion in the region, "Evolution" premiered at No. 1 in China, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore. The China tally, $3.4 million from 855 locales, was Fox's fourth-highest weekend opening in that market. "Evolution's" No. 3 bow in Japan produced $2.6 million from 540 screens.

Opening in Southeast Asia simultaneously with its No. 1 domestic premiere was Disney's "Race to Witch Mountain," starring Dwayne Johnson and AnnaSophia Robb, which derives from 1975's "Escape to Witch Mountain," starring Eddie Albert and Ray Milland. The Andy Fickman-helmed family action update debuted to $660,000 from 180 screens in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. Up next for the film are Greece and Turkey.

Introducing itself overseas was Sony's "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," which premiered at No. 2 in Mexico and No. 1 in Venezuela. The comedy, starring Kevin James, registered $875,884 from 363 screens in five territories. Up this week are openings in the U.K., Australia and Singapore.

Multiple Oscar winner "Slumdog Millionaire" placed No. 4 in the U.K. on the weekend and has taken in $42.9 million from that territory during a 10-frame period. In France, the film's weekend tally was $1.1 million from 337 sites, sufficient for a No. 5 market ranking and a market cume of $14.6 million. In Italy, through 15 stanzas, its market cume is $7.1 million.

Since Dec. 5, "Slumdog Millionaire" has played in 42 territories on the international circuit, rolling up an overseas total to date of $130 million. Worldwide, the Danny Boyle title has grossed $254.8 million to date.

The Weinstein Co.'s "The Reader" took the No. 1 spot in Germany on the weekend with $2.2 million from 490 situations, for a market cume of $10.9 million. The Nazi war-crimes drama starring Oscar winner Kate Winslet has grossed a total of $27 million so far from runs in the U.K., Spain, Portugal, Australia, Austria and Germany, it's best territory to date.

Focus Features/Universal's "Milk," starring Oscar winner Sean Penn, raised its overseas cume to $16.9 million after a $1.4 million weekend from 666 screens in 20 territories. Worldwide, the Gus Van Sant biopic of gay activist Harvey Milk has grossed $48.4 million so far.

Placing fifth on the weekend overseas was "Confessions of a Shopaholic," a Disney comedy from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, which opened in five territories and ranked No. 1 in at least two: Australia ($1.8 million from 240 locations, more than the total generated by the market's Nos. 2-4 finishers) and Holland. The film's overseas weekend tally was $6.1 million from 2,200 locations in 24 markets, good for an international cume of $31.8 million.

Warners' "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" racked up $3.9 million from 3,135 screens, pushing its overseas total to $195.8 million. The top markets for the Brad Pitt vehicle have been Japan ($24.3 million market cume) and France ($20 million). Universal's "The Unborn" scared up $4 million from 1,424 sites in 28 markets for an overseas cume of $19.5 million.

MGM/Sony's "Pink Panther 2," starring Steve Martin, has generated $31.2 million overseas thanks to a $2.8 million weekend from 2,434 situations in 57 markets. "Underworld: Rise of the Lycans," also from Sony, drew $2.4 million from 1,116 screens in 20 markets. Its overseas cume is $29 million.

Disney Animation's "Bolt" earned $2.5 million from 2,877 screens in 33 territories for a foreign cume of $175.8 million (vs. $114 million domestic). With an Aug. 1 opening in Japan still ahead, Disney expects the family outing to surpass $200 million in overseas grosses.

DreamWorks/Paramount's "Hotel for Dogs" pushed its overseas cume to $35 million thanks to a $2.4 million weekend from 1,897 locations in 34 markets. Sony's "The International" banked $2 million from 1,230 sites in 37 territories for a foreign cume of $17.4 million. Disney's "Bedtime Stories" generated $2 million from 1,253 locations in 20 markets for a $98.6 million cume, putting then film on track to become the best-performing Adam Sandler outing overseas.

In France, the top new local-language title was No. 2-ranked "Welcome" from director Philippe Lioret, introduced last month in the Berlin International Film festival's Panorama section. The drama, about a 17-year-old Iraqi's quest to be reunited with his girlfriend, drew $1.7 million from 209 screens. No. 4 was Pathe's "LOL," a mother-daughter drama with Sophie Marceau, which generated $1.3 million from 526 locations for a market cume over six frames of $24.6 million.

Also, it's official: Universal's "Mamma Mia!" has passed $600 million in worldwide grosses ($601.6 million cume). Fueling the mighty global figure is the musical's $457.5 million overseas tally, more than three times its domestic cume. "Mamma" is still playing in Japan, where it grossed $299,000 from 229 screens in its seventh weekend for a market cume of $26.7 million.

"Mamma" is Universal's fourth-highest-grossing film worldwide, behind 1993's "Jurassic Park" ($923 million), 1982's "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" ($793 million) and 1997's "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" (615 million).

Other international cumes to date include: Universal's Frost/Nixon," $7.8 million; Fox's "Taken," $42.4 million; DreamWorks Animation/Paramount's "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa," $404.3 million (thanks to a $1.7 million Japan opening on 456 screens); Universal's "Changeling," $73.4 million; New Line's "He's Just Not That Into You," $49.6 million; Universal's "Role Models," $24 million; New Line's "Inkheart," $32.6 million; Universal's "The Tale of Despereaux," $31.9 million; United Artists/Fox's "Valkyrie," $101 million; New Line's "Four Christmases," $42.9 million; Fox's "Bride Wars," $52.8 million; Universal's "Coraline," $7.6 million; New Line's "Pride and Glory," $14.4 million; Fox's "Notorious," $4.7 million; DreamWorks/Paramount's "Revolutionary Road," $50.5 million; Fox's "Australia," $156.3 million; Paramount's "Friday the 13th," $21.6 million; Fox's "Se Eu Fosse Voce 2," $20.3 million; Universal's "Rudo Y Cursi," $9.9 million; and New Line's "Journey to the Center of the Earth," $128.7 million.