‘300’ tops worldwide box office

Film takes in $48.3 million

The Spartans slaughtered at the international B.O. over the most recent frame, as Warner Bros.’ “300” raked in another $48.3 million from 33 overseas markets.

But away from the top earner overseas, winners were mostly local pics as opposed to Hollywood holdovers, which eked out only marginal returns.

Thanks to its U.K. previews, for example, “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” was able to crack the top five pics overall, landing at No. 3 behind Warner Bros.’ “Music and Lyrics” and ahead of Sony’s “Ghost Rider.”

Cume overseas on “300,” meantime, surged: Pic has now clocked $79.6 million overseas, adding to the $165.2 million tally it has already racked up at home.

Reflecting “300’s” dominance abroad, pic finished No. 1, a full $40.4 million ahead of the frame’s runner-up, UPI comedy “Norbit,” which played to $7.9 million in 34 territories.

“300” should be able to continue its reign as the pic opens in Brazil and holds over in Western Europe.

It was No. 1 in France, Spain and Italy over the weekend. Pic has yet to invade the key market of Germany, despite its Berlin Film Festival preem in February.

Pic also did major biz in Asian action. Zack Snyder-directed behemoth remained at No. 1 at the box office for a second weekend in South Korea, having taken more than $13 million on 318 prints in its first 11 days.

Bloody f/x-heavy epic’s best overseas effort was in Blighty, where “300” crushed the competish.

Pic hit $9.3 million in its first four days in cinemas, which outpaced bookers’ upbeat pre-release expectations. War pic was welcomed by fanboys, but also found favor with femme auds thanks to the “six-pack factor.”

Whammo bow pushed U.K. weekend B.O. by 69% from the previous weekend, and up 30% compared with the same weekend last year.

But the U.K. charts were also buoyed by previews of the latest in the homegrown “Mr. Bean” franchise.

Universal’s “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” previewed on Saturday and Sunday, taking $3.7 million at 473. Like “300,” “Bean” played significantly above expectations. Pre-bow bodes well for the local laffer.

Not all local pics worked so well in the U.K.

Momentum’s politically conscious period piece “Amazing Grace” played to $849,000 at 238.

Michael Apted pic about slavery dovetailed with the 200th anniversary of abolition in the U.K. But bookers say the pic “plays like a Sunday TV matinee,” and did little more than meet reasonable expectations.

In France, “300” also ruled. Pic topped the Gallic B.O., taking in $5.7 million off 485 screens.

Warners was on a roll in Gaul: Its romantic comedy “Music and Lyrics” has cumed $4.3 million off 350 after two frames.

Local options were also hot.

Claude Berri’s “Ensemble, c’est tout” toplining Audrey Tautou, took second spot for Pathe, making $4.32 million in its opening week on 389.

Meanwhile, biopic “La Vie en rose” keeps packing ’em in, even after six frames. Running take now stands at $37.8 million for TFM on 641 screens.

Same tune was played in Italy, where “300” conquered, but local pics hung in, and four pics from homegrown helmers were among the top 10.

“300” drew $4.6 million off 459 for Warner Bros, in line with expectations and a No. 1 finish.

But the weekend’s real surprise was Medusa’s comedy “Il 7 e l’8.” which grew 19% in grosses and came in second in its second frame for $2.2 million on 304 for a $4.8 million two-week cume.

Local laffer stars comic duo known as Ficarra and Picone as two Palermo thirtysomethings who discover their cribs had been exchanged in the maternity ward.

Eddie Murphy-starrer “Norbit” came in third with $1.8 million on 266 via Universal, while hit local romancer “Ho voglia di te” dropped 56% for $1.5 million on 390 via Warner Bros., in fourth place tallying a still boffo $17 million three-week cume.

“Ghost Rider” plunged 53% in its second frame for $840,000 on 275 for a $3.2 take to date, while Diane Keaton-starrer “Because I Said So” opened flat with $732,000 on 219 via Eagle.

“Bordertown,” toplining Jennifer Lopez and Antonio Banderas, debuted at $718,000 on 195 via Medusa in the sixth slot.

Spartans also trampled B.O. opposition in Spain.

Despite a competing Spain-Denmark soccer match, “300” pillaged e4.83 million ($6.4 million) off its first weekend. That was the best opening of the year, and highest opening since “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” last August.

A bevy of factors set “300” on the Spain rampage, said industryites. “There was very little competition from local or other films” unlike France and Italy, said one distributor. Two big Spanish pics, “Teresa” and “Lola,” bowed March 9 and March 16, but underperformed.

“Warners did a muscular campaign, and Spaniards seem to like big historical movies,” an exhibitor added.

Spanish exhibitors are now revising their ‘300’ estimates, pushing them up from $16-$19 million to $22-$23 million.

Ed Meza in Germany, David Hayhurst in France, John Hopewell in Spain, Archie Thomas in the U.K., Darcy Paquet in South Korea, Dave McNary in Los Angeles and Nick Vivarelli in Italy contributed to this report.

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