Big 'Night' for Mexico

“Eragon” remained the highest flyer overseas in a moderate Christmas weekend frame, topping international B.O. with $21.9 million at 6,300 playdates.

Fox’s family-friendly action-fantasy, which also won the previous frame abroad, has grossed nearly $64 million in international markets through Sunday and $101 million worldwide.

“Eragon” easily topped its closest competitor, “Casino Royale,” which has become the top worldwide grosser of all James Bond pics with $454 million through Monday.

But “Eragon” would have trailed three films in the 2005 Christmas frame, when “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” led with $35.2 million, followed by “King Kong” with $34.3 million and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” with $23 million.

Closures of many theaters in Europe and Latin America on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day also muted overall biz from normal weekend levels. And with many foreign offices closed Monday and Tuesday, Fox, BVI and Warner Bros. didn’t provide Monday estimates.

Japan continued to generate impressive coin for Clint Eastwood’s Japanese-language “Letters From Iwo Jima,” which led to a third straight weekend victory with $2.6 million at 322, declining only 17% as it topped the launch of local title “Ohoku.” “Letters” has cumed $17.9 million in Japan, topping the two-month total for Eastwood’s “Flags of Our Fathers” by $4.5 million.

The weekend’s domestic B.O. winner, “Night at the Museum,” saw impressive foreign results as South Korea’s day-and-date launch led with $5.4 million at 357 — Fox’s third best Korean opening after “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and “X-Men: The Last Stand” and 42% above the debut of “Casino Royale.”

Monday opening of “Museum” in Mexico generated a socko $1.6 million at 900 for Fox’s third-highest launch date after “Ice Age 2″ and “X-Men: The Last Stand.” “Museum” looks likely to dominate international biz over New Year’s weekend with launches in Australia, Germany, Russia and the U.K.

“Eragon” turned in its top performance by far with its French opening of $4.4 million at 754, but that launch was overshadowed by a strong soph sesh for French toon “Arthur and the Invisibles,” which pulled in an estimated $8.3 million. “Eragon” also finished second in its Italian debut with $2.1 million at 477, behind the second frame of local comedy “Vacanze di Natale a New York.”

Germany led in holdover biz for “Eragon” with a first-place $1.9 million at 746, off 50%, followed by Japan and Spain, both with $1.7 million; the U.K. with $1.6 million; and Russia with $1.1 million.

“Casino Royale” cashed in with $15.4 million at 6,300 over the weekend, then added $4 million more on Christmas Day to push foreign cume to $309.3 million — 41st on the all-time list of international performers. Though its domestic performance has been solid, “Casino” has been more potent overseas, with 69% of its worldwide gross outside the U.S.

“Casino Royale” opened solidly in South Korea, with $3.8 million at 347, and in Hong Kong, with $1.3 million at 105. The holiday weekend pushed down holdover biz by half or more in most markets.

Warner’s domestic hit “Happy Feet” continued to show respectable traction overseas with $13.1 million at 5,800 screens in 55 markets, lifting foreign cume to $80 million and worldwide to $239 million. Best “Feet” figures by far came from its third straight U.K. victory with $4 million at 466 as the toon equaled its soph sesh and lifted Brit cume past $20 million.

“Happy Feet” was less impressive in launches in South Korea, with $1.2 million at 178; in Russia, with $1.1 million at 315; and in Hong Kong, with $422,000 at 36.

“The Holiday” remained an attractive overseas performer with $11 million at 2,900 in 40 territories through Sunday and another $1.2 milion on Christmas Day, lifting pic’s international total to $48 million and worldwide to $83 million. With Brit stars Kate Winslet and Jude Law, the romantic comedy continued to connect in its third U.K. frame with a second-place $2.2 million at 432 dates, off 29%, for a $16 million market cume.

“The Holiday” declined only 26% in its German soph sesh to $1.7 million at 572. Pic launches this weekend in Australia and France.

BVI reported impressive returns for openings in a quartet of Asian markets for Zhang Yimou’s Oscar contender “Curse of the Golden Flower” with $750,000 at 20 in Taiwan, $660,000 at 40 in Singapore, $485,000 at 45 in Malaysia and $320,000 at 49 in Indonesia. “Flower” scored a record-breaking launch of $12.5 million in its home turf in China last weekend, but numbers for its second Chinese frame were not available.

UIP’s “Flushed Away” grossed a modest $7.1 million from 4,443 locations in 50 territories and added $1.4 million on Christmas Day, bringing the overseas total to $61.2 million, led by its U.K. fourth frame of $1.6 million at 463 on a 4% rise. Toon opened with $1 million each in Australia and Italy.

BVI’s “Deja Vu” generated moderate biz with $6.4 million at 2,474 in 19 markets, led by an Italian soph sesh with $1.4 million at 271, down just 3%, and its second frame in the U.K., off 42% to $1.1 million.

“Deja Vu” has cumed $33.5 million offshore and $93 million worldwide. It opens this weekend in Germany.

“Charlotte’s Web” ensnared $2.4 million at 925 in half a dozen markets in an estimate including Christmas Day. Kidpic’s Japanese launch took in $1.1 million at 450.

Warner’s “The Departed” padded its overseas total with $2.7 million in 35 markets, pushing the foreign cume to $112 million and worldwide total to $232 million.

Mexican romantic comedy “Tired of Kissing Frogs” took second in Mexico, where BVI distribbed, with $1.5 million at 422.

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