‘History Boys’ makes solid bow in U.K.

'Deutschland' makes history in Germany

LONDON — “The History Boys” opened promisingly in the U.K., the first territory to host Nicholas Hytner’s adaptation of the hit stage show. Fox’s pic grossed $1,474,197 at 293 for an impressive screen average of $5,031.

The result was praised by U.K. bookers and bodes well for the adult-skewed pic, which should play well during the week.

Bookers attribute the solid bow to Fox’s bullish campaign and the enduring appeal of scribe Alan Bennett.

Brit critics were less convinced by the pic. “Solid, beautifully acted, full of quotable lines, ‘The History Boys: the Movie’ nevertheless feels like a stranger in the cinema,” wrote Robert Hanks in the Independent.

At the top of the U.K. charts, Martin Scorsese’s thriller “The Departed” ($3,631,632 at 364) edged out fashion comedy “The Devil Wears Prada” (3,469,188 at 446). Powered by positive word of mouth both pics slipped just 15% in their soph seshes.

The pair held firm against Sony’s CGI pic “Open Season” ($3,091,990 from 445, including previews of $859,594) and Entertainment’s horror “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning” ($1,242,472 at 295).

The soccer World Cup ended in July but Germans are not ready to forget the tournament that united the nation.

Following its boffo bow, World Cup docu “Deutschland: Ein Som-mermarchen” (Germany — A Summer’s Fairytale) dipped just 30% to score $5,577,507 at 671 and retain top spot in its soph sesh.

Soenke Wortmann’s movie has become the most successful documentary film ever in Germany.

The holdover was good enough to beat out the stylish bow of “The Devil Wears Prada,” which took $4,248,969 from 559.

German auds have been displaying a voracious appetite for homegrown fare of late. “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer,” distribbed in Germany by Constantin, hacked away $2,613,953 in its fifth frame to land third spot. The pic dipped just 35% from the previous frame and has now taken almost $40 million in Germany.

Mexican helmer Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” took top spot in Spain with an estimated $3 million at 300 from Wednesday to Sunday. The bow delivered on Spanish bookers high expectations, which were fuelled by strong reviews and the high-profile Oct. 6 world premiere as opening film of the Sitges International Film Festival.

Local Spanish pic “Los Borgia” snared second spot in its soph sesh. The pic dipped just 23% from its below-par bow and has now done an estimated $4.5 million in its first 10 days.

Despite a hefty marketing push from BVI and promotional work from Kevin Costner, “The Guardian” could not make much of an inroad in Spain, taking just $1.6 million at 414 in its opening five days – only good enough for fourth place. The pic’s soft bow in its first outing in Europe does not bode well for its prospects in other key Euro territories.

“Prada” came to the rescue of the flagging Italian box office, striding to $3.56 million at 417 in its opening frame. Italo exhibs predicted big things from the Meryl Streep-starrer due to Italian’s fondness for the world of fashion and the Italian brand name in the title.

Local Italo opener “N (Napolean and Me)” pocketed $325,000 from 213 on its two-day opening (it world preemed Oct. 14 at the RomeFilmFest). The boffo “Prada” bow and resolute “WTC” start ($1.98 million at 325) pushed Italian box office biz up 24% on the flat previous weekend.

In France local WWII pic “Indigenes” (Days of Glory) kept up its offensive on the charts. The pic slipped just 23% in its third frame to comforta-bly take top spot for Oct. 11-15. Another local pic — “Le Grand meaul-nes” — also held well, slipping only 18% in its soph sesh.

Al Gore’s eco-doc “An Inconvenient Truth” found appreciative auds in Gaul, notching the best screen average of any pic in the top 15 in its first five days. It has now cumed $5.8 million overseas.

Additional reporting by Ed Meza, Esther de Prado, Bernhard Warner and Liza Klaussmann.

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