'Prada' wears well at o'seas b.o.


The fall overseas market, usually subdued until the arrival of the year-end blockbusters, provides an opportunity for films that appeal to the over-25 crowd, a status validated as "The Devil Wears Prada" and "World Trade Center" finished No. 1 and No. 2 in the weekend boxoffice sweepstakes.

Also noticeable at this time of year is the steady arrival of a batch of action, crime, thriller and mystery dramas -- among them "The Departed," "The Guardian," "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer," "The Black Dahlia" -- all with staggered release patterns and geared to pick up a piece of the boxoffice action before the newest Bond offering, "Casino Royale," floods the international market in November.

At the same time, local films -- a German documentary about World Cup soccer, for example -- continue to shine in many markets, and territorial distributors have a chance to find dates for independent product.

"Prada," the Meryl Streep-starring fashion business comedy-drama, took the top weekend honors with $19.4 million from 2,975 screens in 33 countries, opening at the peak in such markets as the U.K. ($6.1 million from 446 screens), Russia ($2.3 million from 299) and Spain ($2.2 million from 301), and holding strong for second sessions in Australia and France.

Bolstered by 15 new openings including Australia and Japan, "World Trade Center," Oliver Stone's take on the Sept. 11 terror attacks, grossed $12.5 million from 3,436 locations in 33 markets, lifting its international cume to an estimated $40 million. Japan supplied 43.3 million in two days from 348 screens, and Australia delivered $685,604 from 194 screens in four days.

Adam Sandler's "Click," a steady earner as it circled the globe, picked up $8.8 million over the weekend from some 3,000 screens in 51 markets to reach a cume of $73.1 million. Offshore distributor Sony Pictures Releasing International estimates that "Click" will become Sandler's biggest overseas accomplishment by the end of this week by topping the $75.6 million brought in by "50 First Dates."

Tom Tykwer's "Perfume," the German-made English-language film starring Dustin Hoffman (DreamWorks holds U.S. rights), grossed an estimated $7.6 million over the weekend, all from holdovers in eight markets. After 18 days in Germany, the Constantin Film/Summit Entertainment release has earned $36.3 million in Germany, bringing the international cume to date to $58.5 million.

In five overseas openings day-and-date with the U.S., Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" picked up $6.4 million in five territories. The indie producer-distributor Initial Entertainment placed the film in four of the five markets, including the U.K. (No. 2 to "Prada" with $4.3 million from 363 screens), Russia ($870,000), Taiwan ($488,000) and Hong Kong ($498,500). Under Warner Bros.' aegis, the crime thriller opened in the Philippines to $214,000 from 35 prints.

Europe soccer madness was again demonstrated as "Germany, a Summer Fairy Tale," a film about Germany's national soccer team, scored a record boxoffice opening for a documentary in its home country, selling more than 1 million tickets for a $7.2 million take on its opening weekend and establishing an all-time mark for distributor Kinowelt. "Fairy Tale" had the second-biggest opening weekend for a German film so far this year. No. 1 was the $9.7 million opening of "Perfume."

Following a staggered release pattern after a No. 1 bow in Israel, "The Guardian," the Kevin Costner-Ashton Kutcher action-adventure, hit the top of the boxoffice charts in two more small markets -- Indonesia ($170,000) and Argentina (120,000). This coming weekend it's headed for Spain, Sweden, Denmark and the Philippines.

"The Black Dahlia," meanwhile, doesn't seem to be making much progress overseas, settling for the No. 6 position in Italy on its second weekend, with a weekend take of $656,079 from 317 screens for a market cume to date of $2.2 million.

South Korea continues to shun Hollywood films. During its lucrative Chusok holiday period, five local films held the attention of the home audience, with "War of Flower" taking in $8.8 million from 620 screens on its second weekend (market cume: $25 million), followed by "Honor of Family's" third-weekend take of $4.3 million from 420 screens (market cume: $20.2 million). Korea's multiplex chain CGV reported that Korean films accounted for a record-setting 82% of the boxoffice in September, with No. 2 going to Japan with 7.3% and the U.S. third with 5.4%.

Other weekend action: "Cars," $2.6 million (cume: $208.1 million); "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," $2.4 million (cume: $635.2 million); "Open Season," $2.3 million (cume: $4.2 million); "The Ant Bully," $2 million (cume: $23 million); "Lady in the Water," $1 million (cume: $27 million); "Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties," $1.1 million (cume: $107 million); "Over the Hedge," $1.3 million (cume: $164.9 million); "Monster House," $1.3 million (cume: $57.2 million); and "Barnyard," $1.8 million (cume: $4.2 million).

Scott Roxborough in Cannes and Mark Russell in Seoul, South Korea contributed to this report.