'Solace' still tops overseas

Bond film's international gross passes $340 million

With 8,755 screens working in 73 territories, Sony/MGM's "Quantum of Solace" dominated the overseas market for the fifth week in a row, bringing in $20.5 million and lifting its international gross to $340.7 million.

But the reign of the 22nd installment of the Bond saga appears to be coming to an end as Paramount/DreamWorks' animated "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa," which began a slow rollout early in November in Eastern Europe and Asia, is entering major markets for holiday positioning.

Over the weekend, the film about Central Park zoo animals back in their jungle habitat picked up $13.2 million from 1,767 dates in 23 countries for a foreign gross of $72.3 million. That total, however, did not include a U.K. premiere that tallied $3.6 million from 506 screens. Markets on tap this weekend that should help "Madagascar" rise to the top include the official U.K. opening, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Mexico.

Warner Bros.' "Body of Lies," which got off to a poor start in early offshore dates, is making something of a comeback thanks to exposure on 3,458 screens in 54 markets. The Ridley Scott-directed thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe finished No. 3 in the weekend standings, taking in $8.7 million for an international cume to date of $44.3 million.

Summit Entertainment's well-received teen vampire film "Twilight" maintained a solid pace, sucking up $8.4 million from 1,550 screens in 13 markets and raising its cume to $21.1 million.

Disney's CG-animated feature "Bolt" entered the overseas market with $7.7 million from just four markets totaling 1,380 screens, with Russia leading the way with $4.2 million from 570 sites, hailed as the second-biggest Disney animated opening ever in the territory.

As the market gears up for the holiday season, a number of newcomers are lining up screens in diverse markets before the deluge expected in the final two weeks of the year. Most prominent was Fox International's kickoff of Baz Luhrmann's homegrown epic "Australia," which picked up $5.1 million from 654 screens in three markets, with most of the coin coming from Down Under's 643 screens.

"We think the opening was excellent and is receiving good word-of-mouth with the potential for long playability," a Fox International distribution exec said. "Australia" really takes off on or close to Christmas Day, when it's set to open in 57 markets worldwide.

The New Line comedy "Four Christmases," starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon, entered the U.K. in the No. 1 position with $3.5 million from 435 screens. It took over the top post from "Solace," which dropped to No. 2 after picking up $73.4 million from its five-week stand at No. 1.

Eurocorp Distribution's "Transporter 3" was No. 1 in France, taking in $4.6 million from 535 screens. The film also opened in Russia and Ukraine, but results from those territories were not available. Lionsgate holds the domestic release rights.

Disney's "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" raised its foreign gross to $134.5 million after a weekend take of $3.5 million from 3,434 screens in 33 markets. In six weeks in the U.K., the musical has taken in $35.8 million.

Clint Eastwood's "Change-ling" opened at No. 3 in the U.K. with $1.9 million from 351 screens, leading the way for a weekend score of $4.5 million from 1,095 dates in five markets. The early international cume is $14.2 million.

Other weekend results: The Coen brothers' "Burn After Reading" grossed $1.7 million from 1,190 screens, lifting its foreign total to $73 million; Lionsgate's "Saw V" hit an overseas gross of $36.9 million following a $1.9 million weekend; and Universal's "Death Race" grossed $2 million from 1,021 screens to hoist its foreign cume to $33.8 million.