'Incredibles' wins o'seas; 'Phantom' flies
Three’s a wow for “The Incredibles,” the box office victor overseas for the third straight weekend.But here’s a cultural oddity: Auds in South Korea appear to be more intrigued by “Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera” than folks in the composer’s homeland, judging by last weekend’s debuts. The tuner, helmed by Joel Schumacher, whistled up $2.3 million on 422 screens in Blighty and came in fourth behind the third frame of “The Incredibles” and rookies “Blade: Trinity” and “The Polar Express.” “Phantom” was the champ in South Korea, ringing up an estimated $3.4 million on 235, including previews, handled by local powerhouse CJ Entertainment. South Korea can be a fast-burn territory, so it will be interesting to see how reviews and word of mouth sustain the musical in the coming weeks. “Incredibles” drew $32.1 million from 6,343 screens in 37 markets, propelling cume to $152.1 million. Animated in Brazil Superheroes seized $5.8 million in Germany, outrunning “Monsters, Inc.” but below “Finding Nemo.” It nabbed $1.7 million in Brazil (a toon record, beating “Shrek 2″), $1.2 million in Switzerland, $931,000 in Austria and $310,000 in South Africa, coming in at No. 1 in all five markets. Pixar pic slipped 19% in its soph session in Japan to coin $4.8 million, hoisting the market total to $14.8 million. However, it’s tracking below local animated smash “Howl’s Moving Castle,” which amassed $9.3 million in its fourth chapter, driving its cume to $82.8 million. Beginning its offshore voyage, “Ocean’s Twelve” stole a swell $3.5 million in Australia, 15% below the original, which opened during school holidays. It walked off with $388,000 in Thailand (8% ahead of “Ocean’s Eleven”), $226,000 in India (260% bigger than the predecessor) and $138,000 in Malaysia. “Blade: Trinity” collared $5.1 million in five days in the U.K. (where it launched, unusually, on Wednesday), $2 million in France and $262,000 in Singapore. “National Treasure” uncovered $4.9 million in Italy, including previews. Sans sneaks, that makes it the second biggest entry for producer Jerry Bruckheimer behind “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.” It made $2.1 million in Spain, a personal best for topliner Nicolas Cage. BVI release has rapidly racked up $34.1 million from only 13 markets. ‘Closer’ strong in Italy In its international preem, “Closer” grossed a sturdy $1.6 million in Italy, bigger than the bows of “Cold Mountain” and “Road to Perdition.” “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” fetched $18.7 million from nearly 3,900 playdates in 36 territories, boosting cume to $135.4 million. Romantic comedy rang up $5.3 million in France (in euros, level with “Bridget Jones’s Diary”); $2.4 million in South Korea (setting records locally for Universal and producers Working Title); and $972,000 in Belgium. Pic dipped by a mild 31% to $2.8 million in its second stanza in Germany, where it’s banked $8.5 million to date. “Polar Express” clocked up $16.5 million from 5,900 prints in 45 countries, lifting cume to $47.2 million. The Tom Hanks starrer minted a solid $4.4 million in the U.K., including sneaks, a top-ranked $531,000 in Taiwan, a third-place $426,000 in Belgium, $306,000 in Norway and $295,000 in Greece (both No. 1) . ‘Express’ still chugging Warners can take heart from the Christmas tale’s resilient second-weekend holds, as it chugged along to $3.7 million in France (off 12%), $3.9 million in Italy (down 33%) and $3.8 million in Spain (abating 25%). Through its third adventures, Robert Zemeckis-helmed pic has pocketed a handy $5.9 million in Germany, $5.3 million in Mexico and a ho-hum $5.8 million in Japan. Invading Spain, its first major market, “Seed of Chucky” trapped a plucky $843,000 from just 172 sites, 40% ahead of “Bride of Chucky.” “Alexander’s” estimated cume marched along to $24.7 million in 21 territories, including Mexico’s rousing $2.9 million in 10 days and Hungary’s top-ranked $262,000 bow.