'Sweeney' tops busy o'seas runs
Award hopefuls challenge mainstream entries for b.o. dollarIt was another robust weekend at overseas boxoffices as new mainstream films, specialized films with Oscar potential, and holiday-season holdovers vied for the attention of moviegoers in another highly crowded market.
The Oscar-nominated Johnny Depp steered Warner Bros.' "Sweeney Todd" to the top of the international boxoffice chart with $18.6 million from more than 1,700 prints in 10 markets.
At the same time, two end-of-the-year holdovers hurdled the $100 million benchmark, with Fox's "Alvin and the Chipmunks" hitting $105.9 million and Universal's "American Gangster" reaching $103.9 million. Warners' "I Am Legend," the overseas market leader for five weeks in a row, eased to a stalwart $16.2 million from 5,200 screens in 57 markets to reach a mighty $290 million, while Disney's "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" maintained a winning pace with $12.4 million from 3,795 screens in 44 markets.
Among the newcomers, Paramount's "Cloverfield," which entered 12 new markets over the weekend, came in fourth in the international race, taking in $9.2 million from 1,274 screens in 18 countries. The Rob Reiner-directed "The Bucket List," starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, made its overseas debut in seven markets, coming through with $4.8 million. Katherine Heigl starrer "27 Dresses," returned to first place in Australia in its third weekend, providing most of a $2 million weekend from 317 screens in four markets. Another romantic comedy, Summit Entertainment's "P.S. I Love You," which started out as 2007 came to a close, brought in $6.2 million from 1,314 screens in 16 markets.
Weekend domestic champion, the Fox comedy "Meet the Spartans," started out slowly overseas in a few small markets, with New Zealand delivering $300,000 from 42 screens and the United Arab Emirates $75,000 from 10. "Spartans'" big push starts late next month, beginning in Russia, Mexico and Brazil and followed by a major rollout in the rest of the globe.
The Oscar hopefuls began to expand their runs this week. "No Country for Old Men" earned $4.7 million from 676 screens in six markets, entering France at No. 3 with $2.3 million from 359; Belgium, $267,000 from 37; Switzerland, $105,593 from 18; and Israel, $152,164 from 27. The Coen brothers crime thriller has taken in $5.4 million in 10 days from 161 screens in the U.K. Its international cume to date stands at $11.3 million. "Juno" picked up $4.2 million over the weekend from 206 screens in three markets, with Sweden bringing in $161,000 from nine (with more locations to be added) and $147,000 from 17 in Greece. In its second weekend in Australia, the Jason Reitman coming-of-age comedy tallied $1.3 million from 180 screens for a market cume of $3.9 million.
"Atonement," honored with BAFTA and Oscar nominations and in the international mix long before the award announcements, tallied $3.8 million from 1,145 dates in 30 territories, lifting its foreign gross to $55.7 million. Nominee "Michael Clayton," which has taken in $33.4 million to date, is currently being re-released in selected markets by Summit, and is scheduled to open in Germany next month and in Japan in April. "There Will be Blood," the Paramount Vantage-Miramax best picture nominee is scheduled to hit foreign shores in two weeks via Disney International.
In reaching the international peak, "Sweeney Todd" ranked a strong No. 1 in the U.K., grossing $8.8 million (including previews) from 481 screens. According to Warner Bros. International, the three-day U.K. figure of $6.2 million captured nearly 50% of the top five market share. France greeted "Sweeney" at No. 1 with $4.1 million from 365 prints, and it bowed in Australia to $1.3 million from 127 prints. The film adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical held the No. 1 spot in Japan for a second weekend with $2.4 million from 400 screens for a market cume $9.2 million.
"Into the Wild" opened in Spain to $251,644 via a limited 81 dates and is settling down for hopeful long run.
Other weekend activity saw "Alien vs. Predator" score $5.8 million to reach a cume of $79.1 million and "Enchanted" tally $4.2 million for a cume to date of $168 million. "Charlie Wilson's War" brought in $3.6 million (cume: $15.2 million); "The Golden Countess," $1.5 million (cume: $252 million), "Bee Movie," $3 million (cume: $152.3 million), "The Kite Runner," $2.6 million (cume: $12.8 million)
On the way to $100 million stardom, "American Gangster" picked up $7.2 million over the weekend, and "Alvin and the Chipmunks" delivered $7 million.
"Die Rote Zora," the family film that Universal Pictures International acquired for German-speaking Europe, opened in Germany, Austria and Switzerland over the weekend to $1.1 million from 392 dates in the three countries. At the same time, the Brazilian film handled by Sony International, brought $861,000 from 178 screens in its home market at its fourth weekend, a drop of only 9%, for a market cume of $6.3 million.
"Mr. Bean's Holiday" had a good second weekend hold in Japan for a nine-day total of $2.2 million, raising the international cume to $194.5 as the foreign run comes to an end.
Cume updates: "Rendition," $12.3 million; "Elizabeth: The Golden Age," $48.2 million.