'Panther' takes top spot overseas

“The Pink Panther” pounced on the top spot at the foreign box office with $9.2 million, edging family fave “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” amid continued mild offshore business.

It was the third time in the last four weekends that no film managed to hit $10 million, with “Narnia” the only pic to reach eight figures during that stretch. During the same frame of 2005, “Hitch” dominated with $30.2 million.

“Panther,” handled by Fox overseas, performed best in its German opening, with $2.1 million at 540 engagements. Pic’s French launch took in $1.4 million at 504 playdates, its third weekend in Spain $1.3 million at 350, and its Australian debut $965,000 at 243. The Steve Martin starrer also took in $510,000 at 60 sites in Austria and $401,000 at 70 in Switzerland.

“Panther” has cumed $30 million overseas and $104 million worldwide. It hasn’t opened yet in the U.K.

BVI’s “Narnia” managed a close second thanks to a solid soph sesh in Japan with $5.1 million at 350 playdates, down 24%, and an impressive Chinese opening, with $2.3 million at 165 in its first five days. It’s the distrib’s second biggest launch in China after “Pearl Harbor.”

“Narnia” has cumed $401.2 million overseas, becoming the 19th pic to cross the $400 million mark. Worldwide take has hit $690 million.

Despite missing out on the best picture Oscar, “Brokeback Mountain” stayed a solid performer overseas with $5.5 million, including third places in its opening in Germany with $1.6 million at 152 playdates and its soph sesh in Mexico with $420,000 at 142 — both the highest per-screen averages in the top 10 in those markets. Foreign cume for “Brokeback” has hit $67.5 million, led by $16.9 million in the U.K.

Oscar wins by Reese Witherspoon for Fox’s “Walk the Line” and Philip Seymour Hoffman for Sony’s “Capote” spurred both biopics overseas.

“Walk the Line” showed an Oscar kick in the U.K. with $1.1 million at 290 playdates, up 10% in its sixth weekend to lift the Brit cume to $14.6 million. “Walk” also led foreign films in its South Korean launch with $703,000 at 120 sites, pushing its foreign gross to $48.5 million — about equal to the overseas cume for “Ray,” which was aided significantly by Jamie Foxx’s Oscar win.

“Capote” managed to take in $2.5 million at a relatively slim 650 playdates in 34 markets, pushing its foreign cume to $8.8 million. Top takings came from its French launch with $650,000 at 78 for an impressive $8,300 per screen average and third frames in the U.K. with $330,000 at 66 and Spain with $280,000 at 105 – down just 8% and 17%, respectively.

With George Clooney’s supporting actor win at the Oscars, Warner’s “Syriana” remained a significant player with $6 million at over 2,200 prints in 49 markets, lifting the thriller’s foreign cume to $28.5 million. Top numbers came from second weekends in the U.K. with $1.1 million at 236 and in Spain with $781,000 at 206, down 14% and 39% respectively.

“Underworld: Evolution” scared up a respectable $4 million, thanks to its second German frame with $1 million and first-place launches in Taiwan, Malaysia and Hong Kong. The sequel has already eclipsed the final cumes of “Underworld” in Taiwan and Hong Kong; Malaysia banned the original.Fox took the top two spots in the U.K. with a pair of launches – horror remake “The Hills Have Eyes” in a day-and-date opening with $2.1 million at 331 playdates and “Date Movie,” with $1.5 million at 354. “Date Movie” also opened in Singapore with $247,000 at 23 and in Sweden with $148,000 at 30.

BVI’s “Bambi II” remained decent with $2.3 million at 2,098 sites, pushing foreign cume to $28.1 million even though the kidpic went straight to DVD in the United States. Warner’s “Firewall” showed moderate heat with $2.1 million at more than 1,300 prints.

BVI’s second frame of local soccer comedy “Wild Bunch 3″ scored $2 million at 595 in Germany, while Sony’s sleeper success “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” opened in fourth in Japan with $1.1 million at 250, pushing foreign cume past $63 million. UIP’s “Nanny McPhee” took in $1.4 million at 1,200 to raise its international total to $58 million, and its “Pride & Prejudice” has amassed a foreign cume of $73.9 million.

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