'Alexander' leads pack due to strong intern'l bows

A quartet of holiday-season holdovers — “Alexander,” “The Incredibles,” “National Treasure” and “Ocean’s Twelve” — led moderate offshore biz during the Friday-Sunday frame, while “Closer” scored well in its expanded foreign run.

“Alexander,” which had already opened in 35 markets, is likely to lead the pack, thanks to respectable launches at No. 1 in Italy with $3.3 million at 485 playdates and Brazil with $988,000 at 193. Italo results topped the soph sesh of “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” and were 28% ahead of “Gladiator” and 27% better than “The Patriot”; Brazilian take topped the second frame of “The Grudge” and the opener of “Seed of Chucky.”

“Alexander,” which has gone past $80 million in offshore cume, also opened at the top in Venezuela, Chile, Panama, Uruguay, Colombia and Bolivia.

“The Incredibles,” “National Treasure” and “Ocean’s Twelve” each generated $10 million in takings for the Friday-Sunday frame. But those figures are significantly shaded by the solid one-two punch in the same frame a year ago — “The Last Samurai,” with $40.6 million in 31 territories, and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” with $23.1 million for a five-week cume of $496 million.

‘Incredibles’ super-strong

“The Incredibles,” currently at 6,462 engagements in 45 territories, has shown impressive staying power after two months in major markets. The Disney/Pixar toon opened in first place in Turkey with $800,000 and has cumed $335.5 million overseas — fifth among 2004 titles — for a worldwide total of $592 million.

“National Treasure,” playing at 3,774 screens in 33 countries, launched at No. 1 in Holland with $1.4 million, matching the opening of “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” for bow by a Disney pic. The Nicolas Cage actioner also launched in Greece with $650,000, slightly below the “Pirates” opening but 30% ahead of “Armageddon.”

“Treasure” has cumed $120 million offshore, placing it 11th in that category among 2004 releases.

“Ocean’s Twelve,” now showing at about 4,600 sites in 55 territories, has totaled $152.5 million. With openings still to come next weekend in Japan and on Feb. 4 in the U.K., “Twelve” may approach the $265 million offshore cume for “Ocean’s Eleven.”

‘Closer’ to Blighty

“Closer,” which had played only Stateside and in Italy, generated decent perfs with $6.9 million at 1,100 engagements in eight territories, including No. 1 finishes in five new markets. Best numbers came in the U.K. with $3.1 million at 276 playdates, topping the soph sesh of “White Noise” and the debut of “Team America,” with a local-currency number ahead of “Indecent Proposal” and “Erin Brockovich.”

“Closer” also won in Germany with $2.3 million at 474 playdates, slightly behind the opening of “Indecent Proposal.” The Mike Nichols-directed pic also led in German-speaking Switzerland with $385,000 at 27 sites, in Austria with $260,000 at 44 and in Israel with $140,000 at 18.

“The Aviator” showed decent legs in the U.K. with $1.8 million at 285 playdates for a 17% decline in its soph sesh and a $5.8 million Blighty cume. Similarly, “Finding Neverland” slid only 22% in its second frame in Oz, with $653,000 at 209 screens for a $1.5 million total.

Distribs see “Closer,” “The Aviator” and “Finding Neverland” as pics looking to gain traction in offshore markets during coming weeks from the awards season, particularly from Sunday night’s Golden Globes and from the Jan. 25 announcement of Oscar nominations.

BVI also reported a No. 1 launch in France for Hayao Miyazaki’s animated “Howl’s Moving Castle” with $2 million at 393 playdates, 15% ahead of Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” in that market.

It’s the first foreign foray for “Castle,” which has topped $145 million in Japan and next debuts in Southeast Asia. It’s due to launch June 3 in the U.S.

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