'300' takes in $6.2 million in five markets

“Music and Lyrics” hit the right notes to land at No. 1 in a moderate weekend frame internationally, but it was “300” that drew blood with boffo bows in five midsize markets.

Playing 2,600 engagements in 28 markets, Warner’s “Music and Lyrics” landed $10.1 million, edging out “Norbit,” “Ghost Rider” and Italian romancer “Ho Voglia De Ti” — which each took in more than $9 million.

Warner’s “300” finished with $6.2 million from just 337 prints, launching as a “must-see” by exceeding 50% of market share among the top five films in Greece, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan.

Launch of the Spartan tale carried impressive resonance in Greece, setting a record with $2.9 million at 112 including previews, topping last year’s mark set by “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.”

Pic took $1.5 million at 91 in Taiwan including sneaks, $753,000 at 49 in the Philippines, $646,000 at 29 in Singapore and $430,000 at 56 in Malaysia. Actioner accounted for 72% of biz among the top five films in Taipei and saw the best opening ever for a film carrying the M18 rating in Singapore.

The early overseas results position “300” as a potentially massive international performer for action fans in the weeks prior to the start of the summer tentpole season in May. Pic opens next weekend in South Korea and expands into France, Italy, Mexico, Spain and the U.K. in the following frame.

Warner’s “Music and Lyrics” turned in tuneful results thanks to a No. 1 launch in Germany with $3.2 million at 613, topping the opening of “Norbit,” and a first-place Korean soph sesh of $1.2 million at 127, off 36%. Romantic comedy also opened in first in Holland, with $666,000 at 92, and Austria, with $511,000 at 92, but finished second in its Mexican launch with $678,000 at 371.

“Music and Lyrics” has generated a respectable $44.5 million in overseas markets, eclipsing the pic’s four-week domestic performance. It opens next weekend in France.

Paramount’s “Norbit” saw decent returns with $9.6 million at 2,072 in 22 markets, as the Eddie Murphy comedy expanded into major European markets, led by a first place launch in the U.K. with $3.8 million at 367 — 21% higher than “Haunted Mansion.” “Norbit” came in second in Germany, with $2.4 million at 540, and opened in Brazil with $676,000 at 138.

“Norbit” is near $20 million in foreign grosses, lifting worldwide cume to $108 million.

Sony’s “Ghost Rider” gunned $9.4 million at 3,670 in 52 markets, falling short of leading the international chart for the fourth consecutive session. Top results for the actioner came from soph seshes in the U.K. with $1.7 million at 342, down 52%, and Brazil with $1.2 million at 281, down 34%.

“Rider” has underlined the appetite for action in overseas markets with nearly $77 million internationally, lifting worldwide total to $185 million. It opens next weekend in Italy and Sweden.

Warner hit the spot in Italy, distribbing homegrown teen drama “Ho Voglia Di Te” (I Desire You) with $9.1 million at 660 in the second-best launch for a local film. Helmed by Spain’s Luis Prieto, pic’s a sequel to 2004’s “Three Steps From Heaven” and stars heartthrob Riccardo Scamarcio, who also toplined “Three Steps.”

With four films drawing more than $9 million, biz was brighter overall than in the same frame of 2006, when “The Pink Panther” edged “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” with $9.2 million.

Paramount’s “Dreamgirls” continued to benefit from dual Oscar wins with $3.7 million at 1,566 in 55 markets, lifting its foreign total past $44 million. Japan, the pic’s top international market with an $11.6 million cume, led the way with $1 million at 287 in its fourth frame, down only 24%.

Fox’s Oscar winner “The Last King of Scotland” took in $1.1 million at 700 in 44 markets to push its foreign total to $20.7 million. Its “Little Miss Sunshine” is near the end of its run, grossing about $100,000 to nudge the international total to $36.7 million.

BVI expanded the German run of foreign-language Oscar winner “The Lives of Others” and saw a fifth-place finish of $550,000 at 113, even though the film’s been in release for almost a year. German cume on “Lives” has hit $14.7 million.

Sony’s “The Pursuit of Happyness” remained attractive overseas, with $3.6 million at 2,210 in 59 territories, pushing foreign cume to $131.4 million and worldwide to $294 million.

BVI saw dual No. 1 launches of “Wild Hogs” in Australia and New Zealand with $2.6 million at 190 and $195,000 at 45, respectively, as the laffer took in more than the next nine pics in Oz. It opens next weekend in Russia and Thailand, then goes into Europe in mid-April.

Universal’s Brit hit “Hot Fuzz” finished second to “Norbit” in its fourth U.K. frame with $2.7 million at 450, pushing the Blighty cume to $35.2 million. “Fuzz” opens Thursday in Australia and New Zealand and hits the U.S. on April 20.

Warner saw “Blood Diamond” reach the $99 million mark internationally with $2.6 million at 2,000. The Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle, with $56 million Stateside, has performed significantly better overseas than it did domestically.

Fox’s “Night at the Museum,” the best 2007 performer so far, grossed $2.2 million at 2,500 in 27 markets as the comedy neared the end of its run. Foreign grosses have totaled $283 million for a worldwide cume of $527 million.

Fox’s “Epic Movie” grossed $2 million at 650, led by a first-place launch of $1.7 million in Spain, and “Borat” added $1.4 million at 500 to push foreign cume to $128 million to nearly match the U.S. total. Distrib also saw “Notes on a Scandal” take $1.4 million at 950, “Pathfinder” $1.2 million at 500 and “Rocky Balboa” $1.2 million at 1,400.

Sony’s local comedy “Ninas Mal” (Charm School) opened in first in Mexico with $1.6 million at 350 in the market’s fourth-biggest launch for a Mexican production.

Other notable results: Lionsgate’s “Saw III” took in $1.7 million, nearly all of it from its Italian debut; U’s “Smokin’ Aces” grabbed $1.4 million at 500; Par’s “Charlotte’s Web” snared $1.3 million at 1,455; and Warner’s “Letters From Iwo Jima” grossed $1 million at 782 to lift the foreign total to $52.3 million.

BVI launched “Becoming Jane,” starring Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen, in fourth in the U.K. with $1.3 million at 350.

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