Inventive ‘Gromit’ a hit at o’seas B.O.

'Curse' wins big int'l purse, beats 'Charlie'

Family faves ruled a moderate weekend at the foreign box office, with “Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit” taking the top spot with $9.23 million at 1,895 playdates in 13 markets, ending the four-week winning streak of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

UIP’s quirky clay-animation comedy dominated in the U.K. with $5 million from 487 paid previews on Saturday and Sunday, trailing only “Shrek 2” for the top preview mark for a DreamWorks animated title. Distrib’s aiming for more of the same at Brit screens with the arrival of half-term school holidays.

“Wallace and Gromit” launched in second in Mexico, behind BVI’s soph sesh of “Flightplan,” with $1.25 million at 353 sites; that’s 26% ahead of “SpongeBob SquarePants.” It opened moderately with $900,000 at 225 in Spain and $361,000 in Brazil.

Underscoring the appeal of family fare, Warner’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” finished a close second overall with $7.7 million. “Charlie,” which has cumed $233 million offshore, took first in two major markets — in Japan with $2.4 million at 363 sites in its fifth frame, where it topped the opener of “Konomunei Ippai No Ai Wa,” and in Italy with $2.2 million at 436 in its third sesh. Japanese cume has hit $32.4 million.

UIP’s “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” scored respectably with $6.6 million at 1,775 engagements in 22 markets. The Steve Carell comedy launched in first in Australia with $1.7 million at 200 and won in Germany in its soph sesh with $1.4 million at 523, down only 28%.

“Virgin,” which grossed $102 million Stateside, has cumed $27.7 million offshore — nearly half of that in the U.K., with $13.1 million after six weeks.

Overall biz was typically mild for mid-October, with the top three pics totaling $23.5 million. Same frame of 2004 saw similar results with $10.4 million for “Shark Tale,” $8 million for “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” and $6.9 million for “The Terminal.”

Miramax’s “The Brothers Grimm” showed some box office power with $5.4 million in 16 markets. Its best perfs came via second-place launches in France, with $2.4 million at 458 playdates, and in Germany, with $1.4 million at 550. “Grimm” has cumed $21 million offshore and $58 million worldwide.

Sony’s “Bewitched” conjured up $3 million at 2,225 engagements in 47 markets to push foreign cume to $62.2 million — matching its domestic total. Distrib’s “Stealth” showed up on the box office radar with $2.8 million at 850 in 26 markets — most of that from a Japanese opening of $2.5 million including previews.

BVI’s “Cinderella Man,” mirroring its moderate domestic performance, continued to show only modest punch with $2.6 million in its fifth weekend to lift the offshore cume to $40 million — enough to push the worldwide total past $100 million. In Australia, the soph sesh dropped 36% to $715,000 at 237.

UIP’s “Four Brothers” also took in $2.6 million, with $830,000 from a U.K. soph sesh, off 40%, and a modest French opening of $820,000 at 198 sites.

Sony’s “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” which has scared up a solid $72 million Stateside, materialized in a close second to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in Italy in its first foreign bow with $2.1 million at 324 playdates.

UIP’s “Pride and Prejudice” continued to charm audiences with $2 million at 487 playdates in the U.K., Netherlands and Switzerland. Its fourth U.K. frame of $1.6 million pushed that market’s cume to $20.5 million.

UIP’s “Serenity” showed some traction with $1.8 million at 584 engagements in the U.K., Australia and Portugal. And its long-running hit “Madagascar” added $1.5 million for a foreign cume of $328 million.

Russian adventure “Nightwatch” grossed $1.48 million at 634 for Fox, including a mild U.K. launch of $464,000 at 183. Worldwide cume has hit $26 million.

BVI’s feel-good soccer tale “Goal!” scored $1.1 million at 520 in seven markets, led by $715,000 at 362 in a Brit soph sesh.

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