Overseas replays 'Museum' at No. 1


With a batch of suitable boxoffice attractions on hand, movie theaters around the world continued for the most part to generate solid business in widely scattered markets.

20th Century Fox's family comedy "Night at the Museum," which gave way to "Pursuit of Happyness" after dominating the foreign market for five weeks in row, returned to the peak over the weekend, bringing in $14 million from 4,500 screens in 57 markets to raise its cume to $231.5 million.

As the early-year heavyweights continued to rack up sturdy boxoffice results, with "Blood Diamond" coming in over the weekend with $13.3 million and "Happyness" with $11.7 million, a new contender entered the overseas boxoffice race. Dino De Laurentiis' latest Hannibal Lecter entry, "Hannibal Rising," overcame a disappointing domestic launch to pull in an estimated $12 million in a day-and-date bow from about 1,300 screens in some 10 territories. Complete results were unavailable because the film is being released overseas via independent territorial distributors.

Also showing some early promise, Warner Bros.' "Music and Lyrics," a romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, opened No. 1 in the highly competitive U.K. market, grossing $4.8 million from 432 sites.

The Sylvester Stallone drama "Rocky Balboa" boxed another good round, scoring $7.6 million from 2,443 screens in 19 countries for a cume to date of $55.7 million.

By dint of strong openings in such key markets as the U.K., France and Korea, Paramount Pictures' "Charlotte's Web," the classic family tale about a pig and a spider, earned $6.3 million, lifting its international gross to $32.5 million.  Universal's romantic comedy "The Holiday," with an overseas cume of $120.3 million to date, took in $3.4 million over the weekend from 1,172 screens in 28 markets.

Fox's comedic satire of films, "Epic Movie," played to $3.6 million over the weekend from 685 screens in nine markets, bowing No. 3 in the U.K. with $2.7 million from 326 screens.

Among award-tinted offerings currently making the rounds, Paramount's "Dreamgirls" sang to $2.8 million from 1,056 screens in 15 markets (cume: $13.9 million) -- experiencing the foreign market's usual scorn of U.S. musicals. "Babel," a leading Oscar contender, pulled in $1.7 million from eight markets (cume: $32.3 million). "Notes on a Scandal" was No. 2 in the U.K. at its second weekend with $1.6 million from 308 screens for a cume of $5.4 million. "The Last King of Scotland," in limited release, picked up $1.2 from 384 screens in 26 markets, opening to only 20 screens in Mexico, 15 in Belgium and 15 in Holland.

In returning to the top of the international boxoffice, "Museum" found $4.4 million from 671 screens and a No. 1 spot in France. The Ben Stiller starrer remained No. 1 for a second weekend in Italy ($3.3 million from 537 for a market cume of $9.8 million) and held at No. 2 at its third weekend in Spain ($2 million from 468 for a market cume of $12.7 million). Despite a controversy in the U.K. over the timing of the DVD release that saw the withdrawal of screens by exhibitors, "Museum" pulled in $40.3 million from the market, according to Fox.

Highlights of "Blood Diamond's" weekend performance included a No. 1 bow in Spain ($2.3 million from 348 screens) and a No. 2 entry in Mexico ($1 million from 350). Three weekends in the U.K. has delivered $9.8 million, three in Germany, $4.7 million; three in Italy, $4.7 million; five in Korea, $3 million; and six in Australia, $5.7 million.  Joy for "Happyness" came from 22 small markets, which included Belgium's $333,000 from 28 screens, the Middle East's $405,000 from 36, and Argentina's $124,000 from 20.

"Hannibal" entered the U.K. at No. 4 ($2 million from 341 screens), France at No. 3 (an estimated $3.1 million from 367 screens), Italy at No. 2 ($2.9 from 364) and Russia (position unknown at press time) with $2.6 million from an estimated 150 screens. It arrived No. 1 in a depressed Australian market, taking in $621,903 from 131 screens.

"Rocky" took the top spot in Germany with $3.5 million from 552; it was No. 1 in Austria ($521,000 from 51) and No. 2 in Brazil ($759,000 from 168).

"Sony's long-running "Casino Royale" nabbed another $2.4 million over the weekend from 1,280 screens in 34 markets, including a $1.4 million second weekend in China from 468 screens for a market cume of $8.6 million. The newest James Bond offering became Sony Pictures Releasing International's second-biggest all-time grosser at $420.6 million, passing "Spider-Man's" $417.9 million and finishing behind "The Da Vinci Code's" $539.6 million.

After picking up $500,000 in its second weekend in Korea, Adam Sandler's "Click" reached $98.3 million overseas, providing a worldwide gross of $235.7 million, a best-ever performance for a Sandler picture.

Under Fox handling in most of Asia and Latin America," Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto" brought in $1.3 million from 710 screens in eight markets. Fox's gross to date has amounted $10.8 million, but it's estimated that the overall cume, including income from indie distributors set by Gibson's Icon company, has reached $55.3 million.  More weekend action: "The Departed," $1.3 million for a cume of $144.9 million; "Happy Feet," $1.3 million (cume: $168.7 million); and "Saw III," $2 million (cume: $73.2 million). In 10 weeks in Japan, Clint Eastwood's "Letters From Iwo Jima" has grossed an estimated $41.1 million and is scheduled to open this coming weekend in Holland, Spain, Brazil and Mexico.