Smith's 'Legend' lives on o'seas

Holds at No. 1 with $36.2 mil as school holidays wrap

The end of school holidays in most key territories spelled boxoffice slowdowns for family film fare internationally, leaving "I Am Legend" a dominant No. 1 during the weekend with an estimated $36.2 million gross from about 5,000 screens in 47 territories.

"Legend" was strong enough to power the aggregate gross of the weekend's top five films to a 45% increase over 2007's comparable weekend, the second consecutive frame of year-to-year increases. The film's overseas tally stands at $218 million.

The Will Smith horror/sci-fi outing actually increased by an estimated $3 million its take from the previous weekend on the strength of torrid first-place openings in four major territories. Germany provided an estimated $9.1 million from 816 sites; Italy, $7.1 million from 522 locations; Austria, $1.4 million from 94 screens, representing a 65% share of the market's top five film grosses; and German-speaking Switzerland, $832,000 from 100 situations.

Finishing a distant No. 2 overall was New Line Cinema's family-oriented fantasy title "The Golden Compass," which generated an estimated $15 million — down 54% versus last weekend — from about 5,600 screens in 54 markets. Its overseas cume is $247 million, compared with $65.7 million domestic as of Jan. 10.

Ranking third was Disney's "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," which tallied an estimated $14.7 million from 4,700 screens in 32 markets, elevating its overseas total to $127.5 million. Its worldwide cume stands at $314.8 million.

The Jerry Bruckheimer title starring Nicolas Cage opened in six markets, the best of which was the Philippines, where the weekend estimate was $1.2 million from 90 sites for a muscular per-screen average of $13,333. "Secrets" has yet to play several major foreign markets, including France, the U.K, German-speaking territories and Brazil. Yet its overall action is running substantially ahead of the comparable figure for 2004's "National Treasure," which finished its overseas run with a gross of $175 million.

Fourth place went to 20th Century Fox International's sci-fi outing "Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem," which registered an estimated $13 million from about 4,300 screens in 43 territories, lifting its overseas cume to $53 million. Key were strong openings in Russia, with an estimated $3.4 million from 498 spots, and Spain, with $2.5 million from 350 sites, ranking No. 1 in the market.

At No. 5 is Fox's "Alvin and the Chipmunks," which received an estimated $9.6 million from 4,000 situations in 50 markets, hiking its overseas cume to $81.4 million and $269.1 million worldwide. In Australia, "Alvin" held at No. 4 in its second weekend with an estimated $2.2 million from 259 sites for a market cume of $7.9 million.

The weekend's notable newcomer was Fox 2000 Pictures/ Spyglass Entertainment's "27 Dresses," a romantic comedy with Katherine Heigl, which grabbed an estimated $3.1 million from 249 screens in Australia, ranking No. 1. Also in Australia, Paramount Pictures International's "No Country for Old Men," the Coen brothers' crime drama, lifted its market cume to $2.4 million on the strength of its fourth-weekend tally of $320,000 on just 51 screens.

Universal International's "Charlie Wilson's War" opened at No. 3 in the U.K. with an estimated $2.7 million from 405 screens. Overall, the Mike Nichols outing grabbed $3.4 million on the weekend from 535 situations in five markets. In Russia, Fox's local-language pickup "Irony of Fate 2" raised its market cume to $44.1 million thanks to a $2.5 million weekend at 740 screens.

Disney's "Enchanted" beguiled an estimated $7.7 million from 4,100 screens in 34 territories, hiking its overseas total to $152.3 million. A Korea bow produced $1.4 million from 200 locations. Universal's "American Gangster" jumped its overseas cume to $81.8 million thanks to a $7.1 million weekend at 1,800 screens in 37 markets. An Australia opening provided $2.9 million from 195 locations.

DreamWorks Animation/ PPI's "Bee Movie" buzzed to an estimated $6.5 million from 4,391 screens in 61 markets, raising its international cume to $141.5 million. Thanks to solid openings in five markets, Universal's "Atonement" generated an estimated $3.4 million on the weekend from 735 screens in 22 territories. Its overseas cume stands at $42.7 million.

Openings in Mexico and the Netherlands pushed DreamWorks/PPI's "The Kite Runner" to an estimated take of $1.6 million from 394 locations in four markets, good for an overseas cume of $4.8 million. Sony's "The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep" opened at No. 5 in Australia with an estimated $1 million from 187 locations. Its overall weekend take was $1.4 million from 627 screens in three markets.