'Indigenes' tops B.O. in France

After far outperforming expectations in the U.S., Fox’s “The Devil Wears Prada strutted its stuff in 33 international territories over the latest frame to top the overseas charts and take in $19.4 million at fewer than 3,000 screens.

Meryl Streep vehicle landed in pole position in the U.K. — where it beat out Martin Scorsese and Warner Bros.’ “The Departed” — as well as Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and Argentina.

Pic’s overseas cume to date stands at $42.2 million.

In France — fertile ground for the fashionista crowd — the pic fell to No. 2 behind local World War II pic “Indigenes.”

“Prada’s” flashy run should continue in the next frame as it opens in Germany, Italy and Sweden.

“Prada’s” boffo bow in the U.K. — combined with a solid perf from No. 2 finisher “Departed,” which took in $4.3 million over the frame — gave Blighty biz a much needed boost.

Biz leapt 22% from the previous frame, and 79% compared with the same weekend last year. Chilly fall weather helped drive auds into warm cinemas as well.

After a flat September, cinema biz in the U.K. has been chugging, with the additional recent bows of “World Trade Center,” “Click” and “Hoodwinked” also helping things percolate.

With “Prada’s” perf exceeding expectations in Blighty, the bevy of successful pics is leaving bookers struggling to carve out screen space for Fox’s “The History Boys,” Entertainment’s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning” and Sony’s “Open Season,” which all opened Oct. 13.

Casualties of the impending mid-November screen squeeze likely will be UIP’s “Children of Men,” which slid 52% in its third frame, and Pathe’s “The Queen” which dipped 37% and lost 4% of its screens in its fourth frame.

Bookers concede they must shorten the runs of some smaller-scale releases, such as Fox’s “Little Miss Sunshine,” to accommodate the big guns.

Including hefty three-day previews of $1.9 million, “Prada” took $6.1 million from 447 playdates.

Bookers attribute its success primarily to the pic’s massive appeal with female auds, but also pointed out that the film appeals to “anyone with a boss.”

Pic has played particularly well in upmarket London locales, such as Islington and Fulham, “areas where women love shopping,” says one exhib.

Though it was bested by “Prada,” Entertainment’s second-placed “Departed” opened well, taking in its $4.3 million at 363 locations. That score would have beaten “Prada” without the latter’s preview take.

Over in Spain, all eyes were focused on whether local pic “Los Borgia” would beat the Streep starrer. “Prada” eventually won with $2.2 million from 301 copies, while “Borgia” came in at No. 2 with $1.8 million from 324 prints. “Borgia” is a portrait of Pope Alexander VI and his family.

One Spanish exhib says “Prada” worked because, “Spaniards like antiheroes more than they like heroes. Bitchy characters usually charm audiences.”

Standing tall at No. 2 in the overseas charts, “WTC” played to $12.5 million at 3,426 engagements in 33 markets, including launches in 17 territories.

Most impressive “WTC” perf came from Japan, with a No. 1 opening at $3.4 million on 400 — 20% ahead of “Collateral” — while the Australian launch was much more modest, with $689,000 at 187. Foreign cume for the 9/11 drama has hit $40 million.

Adam Sandler comedy “Click” held well enough in its second frame to win third place, with $8.8 million from 51 markets. “Departed” slid into fifth, with $6.4 million from just five territories.

But Hollywood pics didn’t completely rule the roost.

German pic “Perfume: Story of a Murderer” continued to roll in eight markets, pulling in $7.6 million, enough to finish fourth. Still, in Germany, “Perfume” couldn’t hold off Sonke Wortmann’s “Deutschland: Ein Sommermaerchen,” a docu on the World Cup. Pic’s premiere in Berlin, on the site of the Intl. Berlin Film Festival at Potsdamer Platz, became a national event, with the chancellor and many soccer celebs walking the red carpet. Pic attracted an uncanny 1,700 viewers per screen.

Territory will have “Prada” running next frame.

In France, “Perfume,” being handled locally by Metro, landed in third place, taking in $1.9 million over its first frame. Pic impressively finished No. 1 again in Austria after three frames in release.

(Archie Thomas in the U.K., Christian Koehl in Germany, Esther de Prado in Spain, Nick Vivarelli in Italy and Liza Klaussmann in France contributed to this report.)

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