Older demo drives big bad 'Mamma'
EmptyForget the fanboys and their comic-book movies, it's time to hail a long-neglected fan base — the fan moms and mature women who kept "Mamma Mia!" on top in the international market for the fifth week in a row. One woman in Germany is reported to have seen the feelgood movie more than 70 times.
Thanks to a top-of-the-market bow in Italy ($2.6 million from 276 screens) and strong holdovers, the mother-daughter relationship story set to the music of ABBA pulled in $13.6 million over the weekend from 4,173 dates in 44 territories, lifting its foreign gross to $377 million. The Meryl Streep starrer, off just 14% from last weekend, held the No. 4 slot at the U.K. box-office in its 13th weekend, reaching a market gross of $123.2 million. The film, with eight more offshore openings to come, is 2008's highest-grossing film in 11 countries and among the top 5 of all time in these markets, according to Universal.
As "Mamma Mia!" purrs along, a batch of new hopefuls, either one-market entries or earlier ones extending their runs, are again adding to an already over-crowded overseas market. But the animated hit of the summer, Disney/Pixar's "WALL-E," is keeping up a remarkable pace as it continues its run.
Its weekend take of $11.2 million helped Disney International become the fifth MPA company to hurdle $1 billion in overseas revenue, marking a record 14th time Disney's foreign unit has passed the industry benchmark. Sony is expected to enter the over-$1 billion ranks shortly, thus matching 2007, when all six major studios topped $1 billion in overseas boxoffice revenue.
Among recent newcomers, DreamWorks/Paramount's terrorism/political thriller "Eagle Eye" added 17 new markets, recording $8.3 million from 1,825 screens in a total of 26 markets and raising its cume to $15 million. An earlier DreamWorks/ Paramount title, the Ben Stiller comedy "Tropic Thunder," pulled in $5.1 million from 1,822 screens in 31 markets to lift its cume to $49.2 million.
Disney launched its family talking-dogs comedy "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" in five overseas markets day-and-date with its domestic debut, taking in $5.1 million from 835 screens, with No. 1 openings in Australia ($2.6 million with previews) and Mexico ($2 million).
Paramount's solo opening of "How to Lose Friends & Alienate People" grabbed the No. 1 spot in the U.K. with $2 million from 451 screens. Miramax's concentration camp film "The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas," released via Disney, held first place in Spain for a second weekend with a 10-day take of $6.5 million.
In Japan, the local film "Suspect X," the big-screen spinoff of Fuji TV's detective drama "Galileo," opened No. 1 to an impressive $5.2 million on 410 screens.
In France, Laurent Cantet's Palme d'Or winner "The Class" held on to first place for a second weekend with $2.4 million from 507 screens for a two-week take of $6.1 million. French films took the top four spots in the territory, with Europacorp's "Go Fast" opening to $2.4 million; Pathe's "Faubourg 36" climbing to $5.7 million after two sessions; and Pathe's "Cliente" bowing to $1.9 million.
More weekend activity: "Mirrors" $4.5 million (cume: $19.9 million); "Death Race," $4.3 million ($18 million); "Journey to the Center of the Earth," $3.3 million (cume: $85 million); "Taken," $3.2 million (cume: $$29.7 million); "You Don't Mess With the Zohan," $2.5 million (cume: $97.7 million); "Wanted," $2.4 million (cume: $188.4 million); "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor," $2.2 million (cume: 286 million); "The House Bunny," $1.1 million (cume: 2.9 million); and "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" $1.1 million (cume: $31.2 million).
Sony's Samuel L. Jackson thriller "Lakeview Terrace" opened in France to $1.1 million from 189 screens. Warner Bros.' mature romance "Nights in Rodanthe" picked up $1.6 million from 779 screens in eight markets for an early gross of $3.7 million. The international boxoffice of "Bangkok Dangerous" has reached $30.9 million from 17 markets.
Cume updates: "Kung Fu Panda," $412.8 million; "Hancock," $394.5 million; and "The Dark Knight," $462.1 million.
Gavin J. Blair in Tokyo contributed to this report.