Warner Bros. rides 'Knight' to $1 bil o'seas


As "The Dark Knight" takes off overseas, Warner Bros. Pictures International has become the third major international distributor to surpass $1 billion in foreign boxoffice revenue.

This is the eighth straight year and the 10th time overall that WBPI has hurdled the industry benchmark.

Warners said that the Caped Crusader's opening blast of $40 million from 20 markets "pushed" the company "over the $1 billion mark in international boxoffice."

Overcoming the disappointing performance of its early summer tentpole "Speed Racer," the company's other summer releases — the newest Batman entry, "Get Smart" ($65 million) and returns from key selected markets of New Line's "Sex and the City" — made up for the letdown.

Strong contributions came from "I Am Legend" ($210 million in 2008 for a total of $328 million), "10,000 BC" ($174 million), "Sweeney Todd" ($100 million), "The Bucket List" ($81 million) and the German film "Keinorhasen," which took in $49 million in 2008 for a total of $63.5 million.

Paramount Pictures International passed the $1 billion benchmark June 16 and Fox International followed July 8.

Last year, for the first time in industry history, five of the six MPA companies topped $1 billion by the end of July; a sixth studio joined by the end of 2007. (partialdiff)