Top three's perfs keep foreign biz relatively healthy

Star power won out at the international box office with “Ocean’s Twelve” narrowly topping a surprisingly robust “Alexander” and durable family fave “The Incredibles” during a moderate post-holiday weekend.

“Ocean’s” finished the frame with $17.6 million from 5,200 playdates in 54 countries, edging “Alexander” with $16.9 million at 3,000 sites in 35 territories and “The Incredibles” with $15.3 million at 6,981 screens in 58 territories. Respective offshore cumes totaled $137 million for “Ocean’s Twelve,” $66.3 million for “Alexander” and $315.7 million for “The Incredibles.”

The solid perfs from the top three kept foreign biz relatively healthy, although exhibs are having to adjust after three years of socko grosses from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. At the same point last year, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” had grossed $455 million internationally in its first 26 days and went on to cume $742 million foreign.

“Ocean’s” launched in first place in Argentina, Korea, the Philippines and Portugal. The Korean take hit $2.2 million at 150 playdates while the Portuguese tally totaled $719,700 at 70, 38% ahead of “Ocean’s Eleven” in euros and 109% higher in dollars.

The fourth weekend of “Ocean’s” remained in first in Germany with $2.65 million at 763 engagements for a Teuton cume of $15 million.

Contrasting sharply with mild Stateside biz, “Alexander” soldiered to solid starts in Spain, France and the U.K. The Spanish takings biz were by far the most impressive with $6.9 million on 396 screens in its first five days — the fourth largest opening in that market after “Shrek 2,” “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.”

In France, “Alexander” led with $3.86 million at 530 screens, beating the fourth weekend of “Ocean’s Twelve.” And its U.K. debut took in $2.3 million from 415 sites for second behind the $2.7 million opening of “White Noise” and about equal with the $2.32 million launch for “The Aviator” at 285 following a two-week limited run.

In Belgium, “Alexander” opened with $572,195 on 46 screens for an impressive per-screen of average of $12,439, while in Columbia, the Oliver Stone epic drew $249,000 behind the opening of “National Treasure.” Holdover biz was decent with $1.55 million at 499 playdates in its third frame in Germany for a cume of $8.4 million; South Korea’s soph sesh held well with $1.5 million at 268 sites for a $6.9 million total.

“The Incredibles” remained a potent player, thanks largely to major market holds. The Disney/Pixar toon took in $3.2 million in its third sesh in Oz, off 33% as it cumed $14 million in that market; Blighty biz remained impressive with $1.9 million in its eighth weekend, off 25% for a total of $57.4 million.

“The Incredibles” has a combined domestic and foreign gross of $570 million, placing it ahead of “Armageddon” for 26th place on the worldwide grosser list.

“National Treasure” finished a close fourth with $13.5 million, powered by respectable holdover biz. Its third U.K. frame was off 22% to $1.8 million for a $10.9 million cume; its third French sesh took in $1.4 million for a 49% decline and a $8.5 million cume.

“Treasure,” which has cumed $102.9 million, also opened solidly in Belgium with $1 million at 72 playdates and in Hong Kong with $625,000 at 45, the best opening ever for a Disney live-action pic.

Hong Kong hit “Kung Fu Hustle” took in $4.7 million in eight Asian markets. It opened with $271,000 at 42 sites in Indonesia, setting a record for Chinese-language pics. It also edged out “National Treasure” in the Philippines with $261,000 at 30 sites.

“Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” remained a durable performer as its opening led in Italy with $4.4 million at 399 sites, easily topping the debut of “The Grudge” with $2.04 million at 327. “Bridget” has cumed $188 million foreign while “The Grudge” has scared up $32.8 million offshore.

“Closer” continued to rack up respectable biz in Italy with a $6.7 million cume after five weeks and will open next weekend in the U.K., Germany, Mexico, Switzerland and South Africa.

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