‘Azul,’ ‘Dwarfs’ buoy Euro B.O.

Three of the top four films in Gaul are homegrown efforts

LONDON — Spearheaded by the Gallic bow of “Azur and Asmar” and the Teuton debut of “Seven Dwarfs: The Forest Is Not Enough,” local fare dominated the French and German box office charts this weekend.

Three of the top four films in Gaul are homegrown efforts. While Sony’s CGI pic “Open Season” topped the charts in its soph frame, it was chased hard by Michel Ocelot’s animated opener “Azur and Asmar.” Horror-spoof opener “Poltergay” and hit WWII pic “Days of Glory” took third and fourth spots.

Multiplying the admissions figures by the average ticket price of $6.38, “Azur and Asmar” scored $1,922,635 million at 626 screens in its first five days. The result was a best opening for helmer Ocelot who came to the fore in 1998 with “Kirikou and the Sorceress.” Bookers were upbeat prior to release as the film has been generating interest ever since screening in the Directors Fortnight sidebar of the Cannes Film Festival.

“Poltergay,” about a house haunted by gay nightclubbers, scared up $1,420,908 from 388. It edged out “Days of Glory” ($1,340,463 at 567), which continued its strong perf in France, dipping 28% in its fifth frame en route to an estimated cume approaching $16 million.

German fairytale spoof “Seven Dwarfs: The Forest Is Not Enough” took $7,004,381 at 813 which, although a hefty take, did not meet local bookers sky-high estimations. The laffer is the followup to Sven Unterwaldt’s 2004 “Seven Dwarves,” which took $11.7 million in its opening frame on the way to a final cume of $48 million.

Daniel Bruehl-starrer “A Friend of Mine” bowed brightly on home turf in Germany, taking $620,303 from 198 and sixth spot. The impressive screen average of $5,744 trailed only “Seven Dwarfs 2” ($8,615).

Hit soccer doc “Deutschland: Ein Sommermarchen” is still grinding out good results. The doc slipped a respectable 30% in its fourth frame and has now notched over $25 million.

Fourth-placed “Perfume: Story of a Murderer” also continued to hold its own in a competitive marketplace, dropping just 32% in its seventh frame. Tom Twyker’s pic has now scored over $45 million and become the first German film this year to win the German platinum Bogey award for surpassing the 5 million admissions mark within a 50-day period.

In contrast to Germany and France, there are few local pics of note on release in Blighty, where Fox’s “The History Boys” was the only local pic to feature in the top 10. Eighth-placed “Boys” continued its solid perf, dipping a respectable 34% in its third frame on way to a running total of $5,663,892.

Woody Allen’s “Scoop” defied Spanish bookers modest projections, taking $1.1 million at 152 with an impressive $7,063 screen average. The strong result – double some exhib’s expectations and good enough to land second spot – is attributed to Spanish auds loyal support for Allen’s work.

Spanish teen laffer “Nobody is Perfect” opened promisingly at home with $835,898 from 201. The result was $200,000 over booker’s modest pre-release projections. The popularity of local thesps Fernando Tejero and Santi Millan propelled biz skywards.

Mexican helmer Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” continued its strong showing in Spain, taking an-other $883,127 this weekend to bring its total to $6.1 million. The 33% third frame drop-off is particularly impressive given bookers report that pirate DVDs are readily available.

Unseasonably warm weather dented Italian box office biz for the second weekend running but a pair of local pics still managed to do decent biz.

Medusa Film’s “The Unknown” followed up on its promising debut with a solid soph sesh, taking $700,000 and dipping just 28%. And the Italian sci-fi political satire “Fascists on Mars,” distributed by Fandango, pulled in $180,000 on just 53 screens, for a surprising eighth-placed finish. Bookers attribute success to the popularity of comedian/script writer Corrado Guzzanti and the enduring appeal of political satire to Italo auds.

Ed Meza (Germany), Esther de Prado (Spain), Liza Klaussmann (France) and Bernhard Warner (Italy) also contributed to this report.

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