'New Moon' repeats atop int'l boxoffice

'Twilight' sequel adds $41.3 million; No. 1 for third weekend

"The Twilight Saga: New Moon" nailed down the foreign circuit's No. 1 position for a third straight weekend with estimated boxoffice of $41.3 million from 9,167 screens in 62 markets, raising the Summit International release's total offshore tally to $317.1 million.
A No. 1 South Korea opening provided "New Moon" with $5.5 million over five days at 497 locations. The top foreign territory remains the U.K., where the teen favorite's market cume is nearly $40 million ($38.4 million) over three rounds. Worldwide cume stands at $572.5 million.
A generally tame frame overseas saw Sony's "2012" finish second with $37.1 million drawn from 10,785 screens in 75 markets, hoisting its international cume past the half-billion-dollar mark ($519.4 million). No. 3 was "Disney's A Christmas Carol" with Jim Carrey as Scrooge, which thanks to a first-place Italy introduction ($4 million from 400 sites) garnered $16.9 million from 5,400 situations in 46 territories for a cume of $118.2 million; worldwide cume is $233.2 million.
The boxoffice tempo overseas is poised to accelerate sharply as 20th Century Fox will begin its international rollout of James Cameron's "Avatar" on Dec. 16. The much-anticipated 3D epic will play some 16,549 foreign screens in about 106 countries with most openings coinciding with "Avatar's" Dec. 18 domestic debut.
The generally solid overseas performances in recent weeks of late-year releases along with the anticipated "Avatar" bonanza have reinforced the view that 2009 will set another international boxoffice record for the six Hollywood majors. Whether that occurs, Sony, Disney and Fox are assured solid gains this year.
A big help in general is the weakened state of the U.S. dollar, which has as of Friday dropped significantly from a year ago in such key boxoffice markets as the U.K. (the dollar is down 11.3% vs. the pound sterling), Australia (off 22.2% vs. the Aussie dollar), South Korea (down 8.8% vs. the won), Brazil (off 25.2% from the real), Mexico (down 7.9% vs. the peso), India (off 5% vs. the rupee) and in the 16-country euro zone (down 5.9% versus the euro).
Boxoffice recorded in these local currencies is repatriated via larger dollar conversions by the major studios, in effect providing a "weak-dollar bonus" in these markets.
Sony says that on the weekend, it grossed $2 billion overseas in 2009 thanks to a trio of late summer and fall releases: "2012" ($519.4 million offshore), "This Is It" with Michael Jackson ($180.3 million, setting a record for a concert film); and romantic comedy "The Ugly Truth" ($114.9 million). Earlier in the year, Sony released "Angels & Demons," which racked up $352.6 million foreign, and "Terminator Salvation," $220.6 million. In 2008, Sony grossed a total of $1.383 billion overseas.
Powered by 2009's biggest foreign boxoffice hit, "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" (total overseas gross, $690.4 million), Fox has grossed $1.8 billion thus far internationally, about $200 million more than the comparable 2008 figure. The $2 billion mark in all of 2009 is within easy range given projected boxoffice for "Avatar."
Disney has notched a foreign gross of more than $1.5 billion thanks largely to the international success of the Pixar animation title "Up" ($390 million overseas cume and still playing). In 2008, Disney recorded $1.37 billion in foreign boxoffice.
The top studio last year was Paramount, which grossed $2.037 billion foreign. (Warner Bros. passed the $2 billion gross market overseas in 2007 and 2004, while Fox did it before in 2006.) So far in 2009, Paramount has grossed $1.3 billion.
Holding at No. 4 on the weekend was the super-low-budget boxoffice phenomenon "Paranormal Activity," which opened via Icon Distribution at No. 1 in Australia ($2.5 million from 265 screens) and at No. 2 in France via Wild Bunch Distribution ($4.7 million from 240 sites).

Also via Icon, a No. 1 finish in "Paranormal's" second U.K. weekend generated $3 million from 398 locations for a market cume of $11.6 million.

In Brazil, a No. 3 opener via Playarte provided another $1.1 million from 215 screens. "Paranormal" also finished at No. 9 in its second weekend in Spain. The five-market total for director Oren Peli's horror thriller came to $11.9 million from 1,324 screens.

Fifth on the weekend was the dominant No. 1 title in France, director/co-writer Luc Besson's English-language family-oriented animation title "Arthur et la vengeance de Maltazard," which features the voices of Jimmy Fallon, Freddie Highmore and Mia Farrow. The EuroCorp. release drew a mighty $10.9 million from 925 situations.

Warner Bros.' local-language German co-production "Zweiohrkuken," a romantic comedy directed, co-written by and starring Til Schweiger, opened No. 1 in Germany and Austria with a total of $10 million from a combined 802 locations.
No. 1 in Japan was the Pixar/Disney animation long-runner "Up," which drew in the market $6.9 million from 663 spots, the market's second-biggest debut of an animation title ever, Disney said. Overall weekend tally was $8 million. Disney also said "Up" will "easily" surpass 2007's "Ratatouille" (which grossed $414 million overseas) to become the second-biggest Pixar/Disney title.

Warner Bros.' action title "Ninja Assassin" kicked its way to $4.47 million in its second overseas round, playing 1,325 situations in 18 markets and raising its cume to $12.6 million. Disney's "Old Dogs" drew $4.5 million on the weekend from 1,200 screens in five territories. Cume stands at $6.2 million. Worldwide, the John Travolta-Robin Williams comedy has grossed $40.1 million.

Animation adventure "Planet 51," which is being handled foreign by various distributors including Sony, drew $4.3 million on the weekend from a half-dozen markets of which Spain was easily the strongest. The Handmade Films and Ilion Animation outing finished No. 2 in Spain with $3 million drawn from 499 sites. Overseas cume stands at $22.3 million.

"Spanish Movie," director Javier Ruiz Caldera's spoof of contemporary Hispanic films and the first official release from Fox International Prods., opened at No. 1 in Spain for an estimated $3.2 million from 386 screens. Another France newcomer was "La Sainte-Victoire," director Francois Favrat's comedy from Mars Distribution, which drew a No. 10 market spot with an estimated $551,074 from 200 locales.
Other international cumes: Sony's "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," $67.4 million (after a $3.1 million weekend at 1,239 screens in 35 markets); Universal's "Couples Retreat," $42.7 million (thanks to a $2.5 million weekend at 873 screens in 33 markets); Sony's "Zombieland," $14.7 million (after a $2.15 million weekend at 628 sites in 29 markets); Disney's "G-Force," $163.9 million; and Paramount's "Case 39," $8.6 million.

Also, Mandate International's "Saw VI," $29.7 million; Paramount's "Law Abiding Citizen," $5.7 million; Studio Canal's "Le villain," $4.8 million (France only); the Weinstein Co./Universal's "Inglourious Basterds," $195.6 million; Paramount's "Celda 221," $9.5 million (Spain only); Mandate's "The Men Who Stare at Goats," $12.3 million; Universal's "The Invention of Lying," $12.2 million (from six territories); and EuropaCorp.'s "Le concert," $11.5 million (France only).

And, C.J. Entertainment's "Secret," $2 million (from Korea only at 404 screens); Paramount's "Capitalism: A Love Story," $1.25 million; Sony's "Julie & Julia," $33.5 million; Universal's "Public Enemies," $108.8 million; Focus Features/Universal's "9," $15 million; Paramount's "An Education," $1.8 million; Focus Features/Universal's "A Serious Man," $4.3 million; "District 9," handled by multiple distributors including Sony, $88.9 million; Universal's "Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant," $11.4 million; "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," handled by multiple distributors including Sony, $25.7 million; and Focus Features' "Love Happens," $8.7 million.