Plenty of room at the top


In a transitional period before the major studios unleash their holiday-season wares, it's no surprise that overseas moviegoing has fallen off. But at the same time, this time of the year offers an opportunity for distributors.

Companies from U.S. and abroad are coming into the market with a diverse group of films that appeal to steadfast film fans, discerning viewers and audiences in search of local-language product. The past weekend gave all types of films a chance, including a batch of new offerings that slowly inched in, again highlighting the fact that there may simply be too many films out there.

In 10 key markets, 10 different films held the No. 1 spot. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend was the emergence of a Fox International-distributed Russian film, "Kotchak" (The Admiral), which dominated the box-office in Russia and Ukraine with a take of $12.8 million from 1,088 screens; Russia was the key driver with $11.4 million.

Among U.S. films on global tour, DreamWorks/Paramount thriller "Eagle Eye" — thanks to 11 new openings and a screen count of 2,969 — took in $10.7 million from 36 territories, overtaking Universal's "Mamma Mia!" which was coming off five consecutive weeks on top. "Eagle Eye" took first place in Korea with $3.3 million from 319 screens and opened at No. 5 in Germany with $1.1 million from 339.

"Mamma Mia!" is hardly fading away as it pulled in $8.3 million from 3,727 screens in 45 markets to lift its foreign gross to $390.7 million. The feel-good musical remained No.1 in Italy for a second weekend, with $1.8 at 284 dates for a 10-day total of $5.3 million. In the U.K., it climbed to $124.8 million after 94 days.

Disney/Pixar's animated "WALL-E" continued its steady climb, raking in another $5.5 million from 2,700 screens in 26 markets, raising its cume to $238.1 million. In Germany, "WALL-E" held at No. 1 for a third straight week, earning $2.4 million from 789 screens for a market cume of $16.7 million.

Sony's "The House Bunny" opened to $5.1 million from 1,585 screens in 25 markets, landing in the top spot in the U.K. ($1.6 million from 346), but it found little favor elsewhere — finishing at No. 5 in Spain ($900,000 from 251), No. 7 in Germany ($716,000 from 216) and No. 12 in France ($372,000 from 115).

Woody Allen has proved his popularity in France once again with "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" opening at No. 1 and taking in $3.9 million from 412 screens in its opening weekend, the most of any of the director's films in French history, the film's distributor, Warner Bros. France, said Monday.

A total of 412 prints of the film were released in the territory, making for a per-screen average of 1,150 filmgoers. The movie was especially popular on Paris' 94 screens, with 208,554 tickets sold over the weekend. Allen is said to be planning to set his next film in the French capital.

The George Clooney-Brad Pitt starrer, "Burn After Reading," opened No. 1 in Spain with $2.6 million from 315 screens for the market's highest per-screen average and the best opening weekend ever for a Coen brothers film, according to Universal.

The Ridley Scott action drama "Body of Lies," starring Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio, pulled in $3.3 million over the weekend from 669 screens in five Asian markets, hitting the top in Australia with $1.5 million from 292 screens.

In Mexico, Disney's "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" held the No. 1 spot for a third weekend, tallying $1.6 million from 450 screens for a market cume of $4.4 million. Overall, the dog-talking film took in $3.2 million from 872 screens in seven markets for an early cume of $7.7 million.

"Wanted," Universal's long-running comic-book adaptation, grossed $4.9 million from 1,327 screens in 17 countries, climbing to $196.2 million with the help of a No. 1 opening in China ($3.4 million from 454 screens), its final overseas date.

Fox's "Mirrors" shined to $4.4 million from 1,700 screens in 23 markets, providing a cume of $25 million. Meanwhile, "Tropic Thunder," bolstered by seven new openings, registered $3.3 million from 1,746 in 37 markets, raising its international gross to $54.5 million.

Adam Sandler's "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" neared the $100 million mark, reaching $99.5 million after a $1.3 million weekend from 33 markets.

In France, seven of the top 10 releases are local productions.

Rebecca Leffler in Cannes contributed to this report.
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