'Heartbreak Kid' doing solid biz abroad

Just because a pic has a soft U.S. bow doesn’t mean it’s time to write it off completely. DreamWorks-Paramount’s “The Heartbreak Kid” may have broken the hearts of studio execs with its disappointing domestic gross, but the Ben Stiller laffer continues to do solid business overseas.

Directed by the Farrelly brothers, “Heartbreak” remained on the top-10 list at the international box office for the weekend of Nov. 30-Dec. 2, grossing $6.5 million from 2,191 runs for a cume of $72 million.

That’s almost double the domestic gross of $36.7 million.

Overseas, “Heartbreak” has yukked it up the most in Germany ($10.7 million), the U.K. ($9.8 million) and Italy ($7.9 million).

Paramount’s “Stardust,” another film that has underperformed domestically, also continues to do nicely overseas. Pic added $1.3 million at 1,104 for the frame to up its foreign cume to $94.7 million; that’s an impressive 71% of the film’s worldwide haul of $133 million.

Taking No. 1 at the international box office for the weekend was Robert Zemeckis’ animated 3-D epic “Beowulf,” which stayed top dog for the third weekend in a row. Pic, made with motion-capture animation, grossed $19.4 million from 6,700 playdates in 60 markets for a cume of $75 million.

Disney’s princess tale “Enchanted” came in No. 2 in its second weekend, grossing a healthy $10.7 million from only 1,600 runs for an impressive per-location average of $6,687. Take upped the family film’s international cume to $20.3 million.

So far, “Enchanted’s” foreign run is in line with expectations.

Overall, Twentieth Century Fox’s bigscreen vidgame adaptation “Hitman” came in No. 3 at the international box office for the weekend, grossing $10 million for an international cume of $11.8 million.

Taking fifth internationally was Universal’s gritty mob-cop drama “American Gangster,” directed by Ridley Scott and toplining Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. Pic grossed $7 million for an international cume of $41 million.

In the U.K., Fox’s “Hitman” hit home, exceeding targets with an opening of $2.6 million at 349 — good enough for second spot. Exhibs attribute the strong showing to the popularity of the vidgame the pic is based on and the strength of the theatrical trailer. Reviews were predictably scathing for the violent vidgame knockoff.

Also, in Blighty, Christmas came early for Warner Bros. as festively themed “Fred Claus” opened on top with $4 million at 445 screens, significantly up from the booker’ pre-release projections.

The two openers helped push overall biz up 1% on the previous weekend, despite Brits surging to the shops over the weekend to begin Christmas shopping.

Arty Western “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” played well at upmarket sites, banking $373,604 at 61, for a good screen average of $6,123. Pic benefited from very strong reviews from Brit crix and the buzz created by Brad Pitt’s best actor prize win at the Venice Film Fest.

In Italy, local pics are still on a roll, with kiddie toon “Winx — the Secret of the Lost Kingdom” leading the pack, having opened in the top slot — one of four homegrown titles in the top five.

“Winx,” the first feature film to stem from hit TV series “Winx Club,” about five teenage fairies, produced by Italy’s Rainbow studio, bowed at $2.9 million off 532 via 01 Distribuzione — a rare case of an Italo toon performing on a par with Disney and DreamWorks product.

Local holdovers, “Wedding in the Bahamas” at No. 2, “Milan-Palermo, The Return” at No. 3 and “Lessons in Chocolate” at No. 5, all attest to the ongoing allure of local fare.

“Beowulf,” which hasn’t really clicked in Italy, dropped 63% in its third frame for $426,000 from 152 and a $4.5 million cume for Warner Bros.

In Spain, the top slot went to rookie “Bee Movie,” which grossed a par-for-the-course $2.7 million off 416 — in line with bows in Mexico ($2.4 million off 397) and Russia ($2.7 million from 429).

New horror title “Rec” came in No. 2. The Filmax-produced zombie scarefest, which Screen Gems is prepping to remake, achieved the rare feat for a top-10 pic in Spain of actually climbing in its second frame, edging up 1% to a second-weekend $2.4 million off 289 for a highly promising first 10-day $5.2 million.

In Germany, Constantin Film’s romantic comedy “Warum Maenner nicht zuhoeren und Frauen schlecht einparken,” Leander Haussmann’s screwball adaptation of Allan and Barbara Pease’s best-selling therapeutic relationship book “Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps,” topped the charts, dislodging “American Gangster” from the top spot.

Doing extremely well among female auds, the Benno Furmann and Jessica Schwarz starrer pulled in $2.2 million from 290. Despite its chart-topping success, it was far from a blockbuster performance. With no major must-see spectacles and the Christmas shopping season officially kicking off over the weekend, Germany’s overall box office fell 12%.

In France, romancer “Enchanted” is the hit of the fall season, with a whopping take of $5.6 million on 659 after five days for Disney. Boosted by strong reviews from Gallic reviewers, Cannes competish title “We Own the Night” banked $1.9 million on 245 after five days for Wild Bunch.

“Saw IV” may be another indicator of a dwindling fan base for relentless bigscreen gore in Gaul. Down 46% in its second frame, its cume of $3.8 million on 197 for Metropolitan is about 30% less than last year’s “Saw III” managed over the same period, although it still reps a decent perf.

Ed Meza in Germany, John Hopewell in Spain, Nick Vivarelli in Italy and David Hayhurst in France contributed to this report.

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