'Royale' passes $300 mil mark

“Casino Royale” has shot past the worldwide record for a James Bond movie, thanks mostly to strong international performance over the Christmas holiday weekend.

Sony’s “Casino” cashed in overseas with $14.5 million at 6,300 during the weekend through Sunday, lifting the foreign total to $304.4 million — the 41st biggest international gross of all time. It’s only the fourth 2006 pic to clear $300 million, joining “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” “The Da Vinci Code” and “Ice Age: The Meltdown.”

With domestic gross near $144 million, “Casino” has a worldwide total of $448 million — $17 million better than “Die Another Day,” the previous best Bond performer. It opened solidly in South Korea with $2.3 million at 350.

“Casino” looks likely to tack on another $5 million internationally on Christmas Day, even though theaters will be closed in some markets such as the U.K.

The holiday weekend also saw “The Holiday” remain a respectable overseas performer with $11 million at 2,900 in 40 territories through Sunday. UIP estimated the romantic comedy will take in another $1.2 million on Christmas Day, lifting the international total to $48 million and the worldwide to $83 million.

“The Holiday” showed persuasive holding power in its third Brit frame with a second-place $2.2 million at 432 dates, off 29% for a $16 million cume, and in its German soph sesh with $1.7 million at 572 dates, down 26%. Pic led the Austrian market in its second frame with $280,000 at 85 dates, off 28%.

UIP also reported strong “Holiday” openings in Belgium, Brazil and Thailand but provided no figures.

BVI reported Sunday that “Deja Vu” had grossed $6.5 million for the weekend, pushing the overseas cume to $33 million. Best results came from its Swedish launch plus holdover biz in the U.K., off 32%, and Italy, down 30%.

Besides “Casino Royale” and “The Holiday,” other contenders for the top foreign slot during the Christmas weekend were Fox’s “Eragon” and Warner Bros.’ “Happy Feet.” “Eragon” won the previous frame with $30 million and expanded into France and Italy this weekend.

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