'Up' rises again overseas

Animated film opened to $9.7 mil in the U.K.

Buoyed by a substantial first-place U.K. debut, Pixar/Disney's "Up" reclaimed the No. 1 spot on the foreign circuit over the weekend, generating $21.7 million overall from 3,500 locations in 25 markets and pushing its overseas gross total to $257.4 million.

School holidays in two foreign markets were kind to the weekend's No. 1 title in the U.S. and Canada. Universal's "Couples Retreat," starring Vince Vaughn, opened offshore in Australia and New Zealand for a combined tally of $2.9 million from 226 sites. The comedy's No. 1 Aussie ranking resulted from $2.7 million drawn from 217 locations for a solid per-screen average of $12,442.

Sony premiered "Zombieland" in the U.K. and Russia and garnered $3.6 million overall from 633 screens in six territories. The horror-comedy with Woody Harrelson, which finished No. 2 domestically, also opened second in the U.K. with $1.96 million from 298 locations.

Edging into the foreign market were Focus Features "A Serious Man," the latest Coen brothers' title, which opened in Denmark for $54,615 from 11 screens; and costar-coproducer-director Drew Barrymore's roller derby saga "Whip It," which Roadshow Films opened at No. 7 in Australia with $479,591 collected from 152 locations.

MGM/Lakshore Entertainment's "Fame" opened No. 2 in France with $2.2 million generated from 455 locations. It was No. 4 in its second U.K. round with $1.4 million from 448 screens.

In its third Australia weekend, the Lakeshore Ent./MGM musical update of the 1980 original grossed $457,871 from 288 situations. In all "Fame" has collected from the three markets a total of $17.8 million, almost equaling its three-round domestic total so far of $20 million.

Universal wound up its seven-month overseas run of action title "Fast & Furious" (it opened internationally in early April) in the Japan market for $3.1 million from 320 locations for a foreign cume of $197.8 million. The same distributor's "The Invention of Lying," starring Ricky Gervais, tallied $1.7 million from 369 spots in its second weekend in the U.K. and Ireland for a 10-day cume of $6 million.

The U.K. gross for "Up" ($10.1 million from 511 spots) accounted for nearly half the film's total tally, and beat the comparable market opening grosses of Pixar predecessors "Wall-E" (by 39%) and "Ratatouille" (by 41%), Disney said. "Up's" cume makes it 2009's fifth biggest boxoffice hit overseas and the year's No. 1 original title.

The animation title in 3D -- which has been playing the international circuit since May 29 and finished No. 1 on two consecutive weekends in late September -- also opened in first place in Belgium and Holland (a combined $2.3 million from 130 screens) and maintained its No. 1 spot for the second round in Denmark. Openings in Italy, Hungary, Turkey, Sweden and Poland are on tap this week.

Second on the weekend was a remarkably stable (about even with the prior weekend) "Inglourious Basterds," which collected $9 million from 2,898 locations in 48 territories. Offshore cume for the Weinstein Co./Universal release from director Quentin Tarantino stands at $155.3 million with the worldwide tally clocking in at $273.5 million.

The World War II drama -- which has been one of the top two boxoffice winners internationally for seven of the eight weeks of its foreign release -- opened No. 1 in Mexico and Brazil and maintained its first-place position in Italy ($2.3 million from 320 sites for a 10-day cume of $6.7 million). "Basterds" has 11 markets yet to play, and marks France as its top territory so far (market cume of $23.5 million).

No. 3 was "G-Force," Disney's animation outing from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, which grossed $8.3 million from 2,575 locations in 21 territories for an international cume to date of $112.2 million. A France opening is set for this week.

"The Ugly Truth," from Sony, finished tied for fourth place on the weekend with $8 million generated by 2,193 screens in 63 markets for an overseas total to date of $81.4 million. The romantic comedy co-starring Katherine Hegel and Gerard Butler dropped from first place to No. 4 in its second Germany weekend with $2.7 million lured from 506 sites for a market cume of $8.5 million.

Sharing fourth place on the weekend is solo market titan "Le Petit Nicolas," the Wild Bunch Distribution release of a live-action film based on a popular French children's book created by Rene Goscinny with illustrations by Sempe. Its second-weekend tally, $8 million from 571 screens, propelled "Nicolas" to No. 1 in France for the second straight round. Market cume is $18 million.

The No. 5 spot went to "Agora," director Alejandro Amenabar's $70-million historical drama set in Roman Egypt, which blew away the Spain market with a huge opening tally of $7.9 million from 470 screens. 20th Century Fox is releasing the film in Spain, and says the epic is "the biggest local title opening in Spain in the last two years." Spanish-made in English, "Agora" co-stars Rachel Weisz and Max Minghella.

Disney's "Surrogates," the prior weekend's No. 1 title, finished out of the top five this round with $6.5 million generated from 2,700 screens in 27 markets for an overseas cume to date of $40 million.

No. 1 in German was Warner Bros.' local release of German-language "Mannerherzen," a comedy starring Til Schweiger. It's opening weekend tally was a powerful $4.8 million from 587 screens. A No. 3 ranking in Austria produced an additional $452,097 from 73 sites.

Sony's "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" ate up $3.9 million from 1,669 screens in 32 markets for a cume of $28.1 million.

Warner Bros.' "The Final Destination" pushed its foreign cume from all markets to $95.6 million thanks to a $3.3 million weekend at 1,952 screens in 46 territories. Sony's sci-fi drama "District 9" grossed $3.1 million from all territories for an overseas cume of $69.5 million.

The top local language newcomer in the France market was Mars Distribution's "Le syndrome du Titanic," a documentary from co-directors Nicolas Hulot and Jean-Albert Lievre, which drew $900,000 from 229 locations and finished No. 5 in the market.

Other international cumes: Fox's "Aliens in the Attic," $31.4 million; TFM Distribution's "Neuilly sa mere," $20.7 million (France-only in nine rounds); Fox's "(500) Days of Summer," $14 million; Sony's "Julie & Julia," $12.3 million; Fox's "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," $685 million; Disney's "The Proposal," $146.8 million; Fox's "Jennifer's Body," $4.3 million; Universal's "De Storm," $3.8 million (Netherlands and Belgium only); Fox's "X-men Origins: Wolverine," $195 million; Paramount's "Imagine That," $5.4 million; Universal's "Funny People," 17 million; Focus Features' "Love Happens," $3 million; Universal's "Public Enemies," $99.3 million; Focus Features/Universal's "9," $16.6 million; Paramount's "G.I. Joe: the Rise of Cobra," $150.6 million; and Universal's "The Soloist," $3.6 million.