Italo bow helps keep family fave on top

Long-running family fave “Madagascar” led a moderate foreign box office with $12.5 million in 47 territories for the weekend, pushing the toon’s offshore cume to a hefty $291.5 million.

As hot temps in Europe and the end of summer vacations cooled overall moviegoing, “Madagascar” racked up an impressive Italian launch of $7.1 million at 470 playdates, including $1.35 million from previews, to mark the biggest CGI debut ever in that market. UIP reported the pic posted an impressive 64% market share on Saturday.

“Madagascar” also debuted on top in all Scandinavian markets, led by $1.45 million at 112 in Norway, $645,000 at 114 in Sweden, $600,000 at 82 in Denmark and $340,000 at 52 in Finland.

The victory marked the second time “Madagascar” has taken the international crown, coming nearly two months after the toon won the mid-July frame thanks to launches in the Germany and the United Kingdom. Toon to hit milestone

Despite winning only two weekends, “Madagascar” will soon become the third 2005 release to top the $300 million mark overseas, joining Fox’s “Star Wars — Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” and UIP’s “War of the Worlds.” UIP, which opted for a gradual rollout of “Madagascar” rather than a day-and-date worldwide launch, will open the film next in Serbia; Thailand (Sept. 29) and Greece (Oct. 27) are the final debuts.

With $191 million in domestic grosses, “Madagascar” also appears likely to join the club of 38 other pics with worldwide cumes topping half a billion dollars.

Warner’s sturdy “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” remained a significant foreign player with a solid Australian launch of $5.3 million from 463 prints.

“Charlie” also opened first in Thailand with $363,000 at 60 and stayed tasty in the U.K. with $1.2 million at 463 in its sixth frame, pushing the Blighty cume to $61.2 million. Foreign cume for the Johnny Depp vehicle hit $141 million and worldwide grosses have gone past $342 million.

Sony’s “Bewitched” conjured up respectable numbers with $7.1 million at 2,700 engagements in 39 markets, including eight No. 1 launches. Spain saw the best perf with $1.5 million at 300 — equal to “You’ve Got Mail” — followed by Germany with $1.4 million at 613.

“Bewitched” clicked in Greece with $655,000 at 88 sites, marking the biggest opener this year for that market as it replaced “Kingdom of Heaven” for that distinction. Nicole Kidman starrer also led in Austria with $307,000 at 62, in New Zealand with $198,000 at 57 and in Portugal with $180,000 at 30. “Bewitched” has now topped $32.7 million in overseas markets.

Overall business was decent by comparison to the same frame a year ago with the top three pics — “Madagascar,” “Charlie” and “Bewitched” — combining for $29.7 million, $5.5 million ahead of the top three in same period of 2004.

Warner’s “The Island,” which had surprised by winning the past three foreign frames, remained respectable with $5.8 million at 2,800 playdates in 54 markets. Foreign cume for “The Island” has hit $112 million — more than three times larger than its mild $35.7 million domestic perf.

UIP’s “The Skeleton Key” scared up $3.8 million at 1,650 engagements in 29 markets, lifting its offshore cume to $27.5 million. “Key” performed best in a Mexican launch with $1.3 million at 272 and a 30% share.

BVI’s “Herbie: Fully Loaded” continued showing moderate traction with $3.2 million at 3,804 sites, pushing the foreign cume to $66.2 million.

‘Virgin’ jumps in

UIP’s “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” kicked off its foreign run by leading in the U.K. with $3.1 million at 363 playdates for an 18% share. “Virgin” opens next in Germany on Sept. 29.

Warner’s “Dukes of Hazzard” continued to find only mild international support with $2.5 million at 1,400 engagements in a dozen markets including launches in Italy with $279,000 at 106, in Greece with $164,000 at 27 and in Holland with $142,000 at 50.

Horror pics scared up moderate takings, led by BVI’s “Dark Water” with $2.1 million, including launches of  $922,000 in France, $204,000 in Belgium and $160,000 in Malaysia. UIP’s “Red Eye” opened in second in the U.K. with $1.6 million at 354 and in third in Australia with 837,269 at 175 including previews; its “Land of the Dead” grossed $1.6 million at 775 in 28 territories.

“The Brothers Grimm” started its foreign run in Taiwan with a leading $1.48 million at 113 playdates for Fox. Distrib also launched Russian hit “Night Watch” in Spain with $1 million at 250 and will open the pic next weekend in Mexico.

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