‘Gromit’ gets a leg up on o’seas competish

'Curse' stays on top this weekend with $26.4 mil

An update was made to this article on Oct. 17, 2005

“Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” was the big winner at the foreign box office with an impressive $26.4 million in eight markets over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Roberto Benigni’s “The Tiger and the Snow” easily won in Italy with $4 million — despite his leading a protest of proposed budget cuts that closed down theaters on opening day.

UIP’s “Wallace” now has $40.3 million internationally to go along with a $33.3 million Stateside take. Best performance came from the U.K., home to producer Aardman Animations, with a monstrous $16.2 million opening frame at 502 playdates including $4.9 million in previews last weekend — 25% above “Shark Tale” and 74% ahead of “Madagascar.”

Despite warm weather in France, the launch of “Wallace and Gromit” won with $2.88 million at 538 sites for a 22% share — 37% higher than Aardman’s “Chicken Run.” It also took the top spot in Germany, with $2.28 million at 680, and in Austria, with $225,000 at 94.

Holdover biz looked solid for “Wallace” with soph sesh declines of 23% in both Spain and Mexico and 30% in Brazil. Mexican biz hit $1 million for a cume of $2.65 million.

With school holidays in large parts of Europe coming this week, “Wallace” should continue to rule the foreign box office during the upcoming frame.

As expected, the launch of Benigni’s comedy “The Tiger and the Snow” dominated in Italy with a record-setting 800-screen opening via 01 Distribution — even though nearly half those sites shuttered on Friday in response to the popular actor’s protest over the proposed 35% cut in arts funding by the government.

In “Tiger,” Benigni, who won Oscars for actor and foreign-language film for 1998’s “Life Is Beautiful,” portrays a poet who pursues his love to a hospital in Iraq.

Pic’s take more than tripled the No. 2 film in Italy, soph sesh of “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” with $1.2 million at 324 engagements; Sony estimated that Friday’s theater closings reduced the thriller’s gross by E100,000 ($120,770).

“Emily Rose,” a surprise Stateside success with $73 million, has cumed $4 million in Italy, its first foreign market.

Warner’s sturdy “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which topped four straight frames before “Wallace and Gromit” won last weekend, remained tasty with $5.6 million to lift the foreign cume to $244.2 million. Family comedy posted the top 2005 opening in Greece with $737,000 at 57 playdates; it continued a solid Japanese run with $2.1 million at 364 in its sixth weekend for a drop of just 26% and a territory total of $38.7 million.

Overall biz was solid thanks to “Wallace and Gromit,” but trailed the year-ago frame, when “Shark Tale” dominated with $29.5 million followed by “Collateral” with $11.2 million.

UIP’s “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” scored a solid $4.7 million at 1,700 playdates in 26 markets to push foreign cume to $34 million. Second frame of “Virgin” in Austrailia fell just 27% to $1.2 million at 216.

BVI’s “Flightplan” landed with $2.5 million in five markets to push foreign take to $10.5 million, most of that from $6.2 million for three weeks in Mexico. Opening of the Jodie Foster vehicle led in Hong Kong with $620,000 at 26 and in Denmark with $186,000.

BVI’s soccer drama “Goal!” kicked in $2.4 million with moderate launches of $1 million in France and $978,000 at 450 in Mexico. “Goal!,” which won’t launch in the U.S. until 2006, has cumed $6 million internationally, with slightly more than half coming from three weeks in the U.K.

UIP’s “Serenity” grossed $1.7 million at 750 engagements for a $6 million offshore total. Distrib’s “Pride and Prejudice” stayed potent in the U.K. with $1.1 million at 400, giving the period romancer $22.7 million in 31 days in Blighty.

Fox’s foreign launch of Cameron Diaz-Toni Collette starrer “In Her Shoes” took in a respectable $1.56 million at 290 to win in Australia. But the distrib’s “Into the Blue” was waterlogged in its Mexican launch with $556,000 at 250.

BVI’s “Cinderella Man” remained a moderate performer with $1.6 million to push foreign cume to a less-than-knockout $43 million. Sony’s “Bewitched” conjured up $1.5 million at 1,650 sites to lift the offshore total to $65 million, $3 million ahead of domestic cume.

Sony’s “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo” grabbed $1.45 million at 815 playdates with a trio of winning launches — $$250,000 at 22 in Singapore, $240,000 at 55 in the Philippines and $75,000 at 40 in South Africa. Sequel has cumed $19.5 million offshore and $43 million worldwide.

BVI reported Miramax’s transgender comedy “Kinky Boots” kicked in $927,000 at 282 in the U.K. soph sesh, off a mere 15% from its launch for a $4.2 million Brit cume.

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