International auds lured to 'Chocolate'

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was plenty sweet overseas, particularly the U.K., by handily winning a moderate offshore box office with $19.8 million at 2,300 playdates in 15 markets during the weekend.

“The Island” proved again to be somewhat less disappointing offshore than domestically with $7.64 million from 1,547 prints in a dozen Asia-Pacific markets for a $23.9 million foreign cume. Meanwhile, “Stealth” registered only a modest profile on the foreign radar with a launch of $4.5 million at 1,200 engagements in 10 markets.

Warner’s “Charlie,” echoing its domestic success, proved particularly tasty in the U.K. with an impressive debut of $13.1 million at 531 playdates, taking in 60% of the coin from the top five films. Opening was on par with “War of the Worlds” and “Toy Story 2″ and 21% ahead of “The Incredibles.”

Soph sesh of “Charlie” held respectably in France with a 33% decline to $2.39 million at 670 sites to lift French cume to $12.8 million. Kidpic launched in first in Mexico with $1.43 million at 47 sites, more than double the opening for “Stealth.”

“Charlie” has totaled $36.3 million offshore, driving worldwide cume past $184 million.

“Stealth” took in its best numbers in Korea with $1.62 million at 210 engagements and in Russia with $730,000 at 250. It led in Taiwan with $440,000 at 20, in Singapore with $280,000 at 38 and in Malaysia with $265,000 at 48.

“The Island,” while hardly approaching blockbuster territory in foreign markets for Warner Bros., continued to give indications of respectable offshore results in comparison with the weak domestic perf. The Michael Bay vehicle has performed best in South Korea with a two-week cume of $11.5 million and declined 37% in its soph sesh to $3 million at 230 playdates against openings of local pic “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” — which won the weekend — along with “Robots” and “Stealth.”

Openings of “The Island” led in Australia with $1.42 million at 334 sites, topping the soph sesh of “Monster-In-Law,” and in Hong Kong with $522,963 at 42 to beat local title “Seven Swords.” Second frame in Japan declined 30% to $1.26 million at 394.

“The Island” opens next weekend in Germany, Spain and Brazil, then launches in the U.K., Mexico and Russia during the following session.

Last weekend’s winner, UIP’s “Madagascar,” remained a solid draw with $13.3 million with third frames in Germany and the U.K. taking in $3.35 million and $3.3 million, respectively. The CGI toon has totaled $220 million in foreign markets, underlining the strong appetite for family comedies internationally.

Fox’s “Fantastic Four,” which has been released gradually, remained a respectable draw with $11.4 million at 4,225 playdates led by soph seshes in the U.K. with $2.9 million at 409 and in France with $2.3 million at 635 along with $1.1 million at 425 in its third weekend in Spain.

“Four” has cumed $102.5 million overseas to go along with $136 million domestically. It’s the fifth Fox pic to cross the $100 million mark in offshore grosses this year, joining “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” “Kingdom of Heaven,” “Robots” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”

The weekend’s performance again lagged the same frame a year ago. The top three pics — “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Madagascar” and “Fantastic Four” — combined for $44.5 million, $5 million less than the top three from the same 2004 weekend, when “I, Robot” led with $20.8 million, followed by “Spider-Man 2″ with $17.6 million and “King Arthur” with $11.3 million.

UIP’s “War of the Worlds,” the last film to go out day-and-date in all markets, took in another $10 million in its fifth weekend with half of that coming from three markets — the U.K. with $1.9 million, France with $1.6 million and Japan with $1.4 million.

“War of the Worlds” has cumed $311 million offshore, joining “Revenge of the Sith” as the only 2005 pics to take in more than $300 million overseas so far. Seven pics had passed the milestone in 2004 grosses at this point last year, including “Spider-Man 2,” “The Last Samurai,” “Troy,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” “Shrek 2,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”

“Sith” remained a strong player in Japan in its fourth weekend with $3.4 million at 616 playdates, declining only 14% despite appearing in 131 fewer locations. Japanese cume has hit nearly $52 million, lifting the foreign total to $431.6 million and the worldwide cume to $808 million.

Fox scored moderate numbers in launching “Robots” in Japan with $1.5 million at 456 engagements and in South Korea with $1.4 million at 223. “Robots,” which finished the rest of its foreign run by mid-spring, has cumed $117.6 million in foreign grosses.

Taking the offbeat approach of opening offshore before the domestic launch, UIP’s “Skeleton Key” scared up lukewarm results in debuts in the U.K. with $1.4 million at 355 playdates and in Spain with $1 million at 266. The Kate Hudson thriller had originally been set to open Stateside in July but was pushed back to Aug. 12, thus avoiding going against Jennifer Connelly’s “Dark Water.”

Warner’s long-running “Batman Begins” opened impressively in first in Sweden with $1.26 million at 87 sites including previews, marking the second biggest 2005 launch in that market after “Revenge of the Sith.” The fifth Batpic grossed another $2 million from 51 other markets, pushing its Batcume to $156.2 million.

Fox opened “Guess Who” to moderate results in Spain with $1.4 million at 300 playdates, lifting the laffer’s foreign cume to $21.4 million. Distrib also launched “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” in Holland with $980,000 at 98, for an offshore total of $135.5 million in Fox territories.

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