New entries challenge holdovers

'Legend,' with $29 mil, is champion for five weeks in a row

In a changing, highly crowded international market, a batch of diverse new entries made up of specialized Oscar hopefuls and a couple of mainstream offerings are starting to vie with the year-end holiday holdovers.

The carry-overs from 2007, led by Warner Bros. Pictures' "I Am Legend," are nevertheless maintaining a strong holdover pace by holding on to a large number of overseas screens and attracting big numbers of overseas moviegoers into the third weekend of the new year.

"I Am Legend" took in $29 million from 6,200 screens in 56 territories to reach an international cume of $262.5 million and remain the offshore boxoffice champion for the fifth weekend in a row. Other carry-overs included "Alien vs. Predator" ($11.2 million from 4,079 screens), "Alvin and the Chipmunks" ($10 million from 3,526), "American Gangster" ($9.1 million from 1,655), "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" ($8.8 million from 4,612), "Enchanted" ($5.9 million from 4,358) and "Bee Movie" ($4.1 million from 3,137).

The Golden Globe-annointed "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" led the newcomers with $6.6 million from 739 screens in four overseas markets handled by Warner Bros. The film version of the Stephen Sondheim musical ranked No. 1 in Japan, picking up $3.7 million from 398 screens. It also topped the boxoffice in Korea with $2.2 million from 207 screens, according to Warner Bros. Pictures International.

"Cloverfield," the highly touted sci-fi film about an attack on New York, opened overseas in six markets (day-and-date with domestic) to $4.4 million from 457 screens. Australia greeted the Paramount Pictures International release at No. 1 with $2.3 million in four days from 208 screens. Hong Kong took in $541,929 from 38 screens; Malaysia, $366,181 from 48; New Zealand, $265,136 from 64; and Singapore, $405,725 from 41.

"27 Dresses," the romantic comedy from Fox, extended its run to two more markets after a strong bow last week in Australia, where it holds the No. 2 position behind "Cloverfield." The second-weekend take Down Under came to $2.2 million from 249 screens to raise "Dresses'" market tally to $7 million.

"Charlie Wilson's War" opened No. 2 in France to $2.1 million from 300 screens, leading the weekend total of $4.6 million from 882 screens in 10 countries. Belgium delivered $225,793 from 32 screens in five days; and Switzerland came aboard with $130,749 from 19, also in five days. In France, Gaumont's "Enfin Veuve" captured first place with $4.3 million from 479 locations.

"Juno," the specialized film that has aroused the domestic market, started off in Australia with $1.7 million from 168 screens.

"Atonement," frequently mentioned at awards ceremonies, grossed $4.3 million over the weekend and has reached an international cume of $50.2 million since it started out overseas in September.

David Cronenberg's "Eastern Promises," in overseas release via Universal Pictures International, has accumulated $4.8 million since October.

"The Kite Runner," via PPI, picked up almost $3 million over the weekend from 501 screens in nine countries to lift its foreign gross to $8.6 million.

"No Country for Old Men" tallied $2.5 million from 206 screens in two countries, opening No. 2 in the U.K. with $2.6 million from 164 screens. The early cume stands at $5 million.

"Things We Lost in the Fire" has reached $1.1 million after a $335,582 weekend in two markets.

"Focus Features' "Lust, Caution" has reached $3.6 million following a $386,174 weekend in four markets.

"Elizabeth: The Golden Age" has hit $49.1 million.

" I Am Legend" moved up to $265.5 million following a No. 1 opening in Mexico of $4.1 million from 506 prints and became Warner Bros.' sixth-highest opening in the market. Key market cumes for the Will Smith starrer include Japan, $36.1 million in six weeks; France, $26.1 million in five; Spain, $17.7 million in five; Australia, $17.3 million in three; and Korea, $15.5 million in six.

"Alien vs. Predator" reached $69.1 million following a No. 1 bow in the U.K. ($3.9 million from 399) and a $1.1 million kickoff in Korea on 155 screens. Other contributors included Belgian, Holland, Iceland and Norway.

"Alvin and the Chipmunks" is nearing the $100 million overseas benchmark as it arrived at $95.1 million following a $1.1 million opening in Italy, $11.4 million in three weeks in Australia, and $16.1 million from five sessions in the U.K.

"National Treasure" has reached a cume of $143.9 million; "Enchanted" has moved up to $160.9 million; "American Gangster" has racked up $9.1 million; and "Bee Movie" has taken in $148.2 million. No one from New Line International was available because of the Martin Luther King holiday, but as of last weekend "The Golden Compass" had reached a cume of $240.4 million. The film is No. 8 in Australia with $11.7 million after four weeks in release, and No. 9 in the U.K. with $49.4 million after seven weeks in the market.

The Weinstein Co. reported that its 2007 slate of films grossed more than $210 million in the international market, a 170% hike from its inaugural year as a stand-alone company.