New o'seas b.o. mark attained

'Golden Compass' ' $29.2 mil leads market for 2nd weekend

With 14 days to go before the end of 2007, the major studios have already beaten last year's $8.6 billion record at the overseas boxoffice, and for the first time in industry history all six MPA companies have topped $1 billion each in international gross from foreign theaters.

The overall international cume has reached an estimated $8.7 million to date just as the studios unleash a final batch of holiday offerings or add more dates for those already in release.

New Line's "The Golden Compass" headed the weekend run-up to holiday gold by taking in $29.2 million from 6,735 prints in 44 territories, lifting its two-weekend cume to $91.2 million, with an eye on $100 million from offshore markets by the end of this week. The 12-day take from the U.K. came to $25.1 million; France, $9.9 million; Spain, $11.2 million; and Germany, $9.2 million in 11 days.

"Compass'" performance overseas provides another sign of how meaningful the foreign market has become in rescuing domestic disappointments. In 10 days in the domestic market, the family fantasy has taken in only $41 million. Other examples include "Beo- wulf," which reached $100 million overseas during the weekend, compared with a gross of about $70 million in the domestic market; "The Heartbreak Kid," $83.4 million foreign to $36.8 million domestic; and "Stardust," $96 million foreign to $38.3 million domestic.

The Will Smith sci-fi actioner "I Am Legend," Warner Bros. Pictures' new holiday entry, found enthusiastic fans in eight Asian markets this past weekend, generating $20 million from about 1,300 prints, with a No. 1 welcome from Japan ($6.4 million from 422 prints). It also arrived at the top of the boxoffice chart in Korea, scoring $6.5 million (including previews) from 271 screens nationwide, and ranked No. 1 in six of the eight Asian markets in which it opened day-and-date with North America.

Weekend action also saw Paramount/DreamWorks increase the number of dates to position the animated "Bee Movie" for family trade during the holiday season. With the addition of 21 countries, the Jerry Seinfeld project tallied $20.4 million during the weekend from 4,456 screens in 40 territories, entering the U.K. with $4.7 million from 536 screens, France with $3.1 million from 803 and Germany with $2.1 million from 678. In Spain, "Bee Movie" tallied $7.5 million in three weekends. The international cume has reached $58.3 million.

The fairy tale "Enchanted," Disney's holiday contender, maintained a strong pace on the holiday trail, delivering $16.3 million from 3,960 screens in 27 markets for a foreign gross to date of $54.1 million. It arrived in the U.K. with $5.2 million from 471 screens, No. 2 to the second weekend of "Compass." It was No. 1 in Mexico with $3.3 million from 755 screens, hailed as the fourth-biggest opening in the market for a Disney live-action brand. Three weeks in France has brought in $12.4 million for "Enchanted," with two in Italy accounting for $5.6 million.

"Hitman," armed with 14 openings, provided $7 million during the weekend from 2,639 screens in 51 markets, raising its cume to $34.6 million. Germany welcomed "Hitman" at No. 3 with $1.7 million from 400 screens. It came in at No. 4 in Brazil ($336,00 from 102).

Fox's holiday entry "Alvin and the Chipmunks" brought in $1.7 million from 10 small markets, including Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, but it's ready to take off in 28 new territories this coming weekend, including the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Mexico and Russia.

At the same time, Disney will unleash its major holiday tentpole this coming weekend, "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," which is set for day-and-date release with the U.S., including in the U.K., Japan, Italy, Spain and Korea.

Universal, out in the cold when five major companies passed $1 billion at the overseas boxoffice in July, caught up during the weekend to register what the company termed its biggest year since 2001. Universal Pictures International, like Paramount Pictures International, is operating as a stand-alone company this year after the break-up of its longtime partnership in United International Pictures.

Meanwhile, Universal's "American Gangster" passed $50 million at the international boxoffice after grossing $3.2 million from 1,360 dates in 18 territories. Russia opened to $709,000 from 152 screens, and the Ukraine to $232,000 from 49. Germany has tallied $9.2 million in 32 days, and France $9.7 million in 33 days.

"Fred Claus" grossed an estimated $3 million from 1,600 prints in 26 markets, lifting its international cume to $18 million.

"Elizabeth: The Golden Age" grossed $1.1 million (excluding France) at 660 screens in 27 territories to raise its cume to $35.6 million.

"The Bourne Ultimatum" crossed $200 million during the weekend, according to UPI.

"We Own the Night" opened in the U.K. with $910,916 from 270 screens. It was No. 5 behind four family films and saluted by UPI as "the top-grossing adult film" in the market.

"Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" opened at No. 6 in the U.K. to $937,332 from 342 screens.

"Michael Clayton" took in $357,000 from 297 screens in 15 markets during the weekend, raising its international cume to $30.1 million.

Cume updates: "Saw IV," $53 million; "Evan Almighty," $72.8 million; "The Kingdom," $37.4 million; "Atonement," $32 million; and "Hot Fuzz," $55.5 million.