'Ratatouille' tops $200 million at int'l box office

“The Bourne Ultimatum” may have taken the weekend crown overseas for the Sept. 7-9 frame, but the fun action to watch came in the U.K., where David Schwimmer’s directorial debut “Run, Fat Boy, Run” edged out Working Title’s Ian McEwan adaptation “Atonement.”

Official box office tallies had “Fat Boy,” starring Brit thesp Simon Pegg, grossing $4.1 million from 413 screens in its Blighty debut. Picturehouse opens the comedy in the U.S. on Oct. 26.

The well-reviewed “Atonement,” from Working Title-Universal, nabbed the second spot with $3.3 million at 411 locations. Pic, starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, is from “Pride and Prejudice” director Joe Wright.

Saturday box office biz in the U.K. was hit hard by a veritable sports feast; at one point, the English national soccer, rugby and cricket teams were all on television.

In terms of the overall international box office, the Sept. 7-9 frame continued the summer trend of tracking ahead of the same weekend a year ago, with the top five pics pulling in $43 million, up 43% over the same frame in 2006, when “Cars” led with $9 million. Year-to-date, the international box office is running 20% over 2006.

U’s “The Bourne Ultimatum” placed No. 1 with $16.5 million from 3,660 playdates in 37 markets, including a first-place launch in Germany of $4.6 million from 703 locations. That was double the take of the previous “Bourne” pic.

Across territories, the spy thriller, starring Matt Damon, continued to be a strong draw for action fans, including in Australia, where it declined 38% to $3.1 million, beating out the debut of “Ratatouille.”

Coming out of the frame with an international cume of $98.8 million, “Bourne Ultimatum” should have had no trouble jumping the $100 million mark over the weekend of Sept. 14-16, when it bows in France and Belgium. Pic is pacing $6 million ahead of “The Bourne Identity” but $13 million behind the second installment in the franchise, “The Bourne Supremacy.”

Disney-Pixar’s “Ratatouille” hit the $200 million mark internationally, the ninth pic to hit that milestone this year following “300,” “Spider-Man 3,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” “Shrek the Third,” “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” “Transformers,” “The Simpsons Movie” and “Live Free or Die Hard” (titled “Die Hard 4.0″ overseas).

That’s as many pictures as crossed the $200 million mark in 2006, and there’s still three months left to go before the close of 2007.

“Ratatouille” is the 25th Disney picture to top $200 million outside the U.S., mirroring the domestic cume of $202 million. Toon will continue cooking up box office biz overseas for weeks to come, including October openings in the U.K., Germany, Italy and Scandinavia.

Disney-Pixar had similar luck when holding back “The Incredibles” from opening in certain major territories until the crush of summer had ended and fall begun.

For the frame of Sept. 7-9, “Ratatouille” grossed $8.5 million from 2,809 locations in 34 markets, putting it at No. 2.

Coming in right behind “Ratatouille” was “Shrek the Third,” which grossed $8 million from 1,933 playdates to push the international cume to $451 million, only $28 million shy of “Shred 2.” Placing No. 3 for the weekend, “Shrek the Third” took $4.3 of its coin from Italy, where it declined 47% in its second sesh.

Expanding, U’s Adam Sandler-Kevin James starrer “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” came in No. 4 for the frame. Laffer grossed $5.4 million from 1,600 locations in 22 markets, led by a first-place launch in Russia and a second-place opening in Italy. Pic, which has cumed $15.4 million internationally, debuts later in September in the U.K. and Germany.

Taking No. 5 for the weekend of Sept. 7-9 was Fox’s “Die Hard 4.0,” which grossed $4.4 million from 1,500 runs in 19 markets. Bruce Willis actioner enjoyed a solid Spanish launch of $3.6 million, easily giving it the No. 1 spot. Bookers welcomed the bow, but remained wary about its playability.

Film’s international cume is a healthy $227.8 million, reflecting the fact that Willis remains a strong draw overseas.

“The Simpsons Movie” and “Knocked Up” each took in roughly $4.1 million for the frame. Perf bumps up the cume for “Simpsons” to $309.4 million, far outpacing expectations.

Cume for “Knocked Up” is $44.5 million from 19 markets, led by nearly $13 million in the U.K. Laffer still has to open in 30 territories.

In Japan, the hit of the weekend was courtroom-drama-cum-romance “Hero.” Film, based on a hit Fuji TV series, finished its first frame at $9.5 million from 475 screens.

Archie Thomas in the U.K., Christian Koehl in Germany and Mark Schilling in Japan contributed to this report.

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