Film buried competition in every territory

The Spartans easily conquered the international box office as “300” amped up an otherwise moderate frame with $15.6 million at 1,300 playdates in 13 markets.

Pic buried the competition in every territory, led by a socko South Korean opening of $6.3 million at 353 that captured 69% of the top five market share in Seoul and topped the “Troy” launch. Its second Greek frame stayed solid with $2.5 million at 140, down only 19%.

War actioner has taken in $24.6 million internationally and should dominate foreign biz in coming weeks with a major expansion next weekend into France, Spain, Italy, Mexico and the U.K.

Pic’s drawn impressive box office blood in midsize markets so far, launching in Turkey with $1.5 million at 115 to see the second-best opening day for a Warner Bros. film; in Thailand with $917,000 at 120, ahead of three local pics; in its second Taiwanese sesh with $852,000 at 91, down 28%; in Hong Kong with $730,000 at 33; and in India, where it finished first ahead of two local pics with $582,000 at 161.

Results in most markets for “300” have been on par with or better than those for other battle epics, such as “Troy” and “The Last Samurai,” both of which topped $300 million overseas. And the emergence of “300” as a likely worldwide blockbuster will keep overall biz in coming weeks matching last year’s record-setting pace in April, when “Ice Age: The Meltdown” dominated.

Warner also took the second slot as previous winner “Music and Lyrics” tuned in with a decent $9.1 million at 2,900 in 46 markets, led by its German soph sesh with $1.96 million at 621, topping the opening of local title “Neues vom Wixxer.” In France, “Music” opened in second with $1.8 million at 350, trailing local holdover “La Mome.”

The romantic comedy has turned in respectable numbers amid a lack of rival fare with $56.6 million overseas, $9 million better than its domestic total.

Eddie Murphy’s “Norbit” showed the staying power of broad comedy with $8.6 million at 2,405 in 33 markets, led by a first-place finish in its second U.K. frame with $2.1 million at 362, down 46%; its second German sesh with $1.7 million at 505; and a Spanish launch of $1.1 million at 234. “Norbit” has totaled $31 million overseas and $123 million worldwide for Paramount.

Sony’s “Ghost Rider” zoomed off with $7.3 million at 3,635 in 56 markets, led by a second-place Italian launch with $1.7 million at 304. Nicolas Cage starrer, which won three straight weekends earlier, has ridden to $87.5 million overseas and $198 million worldwide.

Fox’s sturdy “Night at the Museum” grabbed $6.7 million at 1,900 — three-quarters of that coming from its Japanese launch of $5.1 million at 575 including previews. “Museum” has outperformed expectations with a foreign cume of $288 million and $537 million worldwide — the 39th highest of all time.

Local romancer “Ho voglia di te,” distribbed by Warner, stayed in first in Italy with $3.9 million at 694, sliding 55% from its boffo launch frame. Fox’s “Epic Movie” took $3.4 million at 1,000 with a second-place launch in Mexico of $1.3 million at 456.

BVI continued driving to decent early results on “Wild Hogs” with $3.1 million at 470 in four markets, led by an Australian soph sesh of $2 million at 237, off only 21%, and a Russian launch of $775,000 at 200 in what was the first pic out of the newly minted BVI-Sony joint venture in that market. “Hogs” will move into other major markets in mid-April.

Aside from “Night at the Museum,” Japan also saw launches of two other high-profile pics that have run their course in the rest of the world –Warner’s “Happy Feet” with $2 million at 499 to lift the foreign cume to $174.8 million and worldwide to $371 million and BVI’s “Deja Vu” with $1.5 million at 275 for a foreign total of $108 million, $42 million ahead of the domestic cume.

“Premonition” debuted day-and-date in the U.K. via Entertainment with a moderate $1.9 million at 357, trailing “Norbit.” Oscar winners took in a bit more coin with “Dreamgirls” adding $1.8 million at 1,393 to lift the foreign cume to $47.4 million and “The Last King of Scotland” grossing $1.1 million at 500 with a German launch of $433,000 at 86.

Universal’s “Hot Fuzz” laughed its way to $2.8 million at 660, led by its Oz launch of $1.3 million at 186. “Fuzz” has cumed a boffo $37.5 million in six weeks in the U.K.  

Sony saw a decent second Mexican frame for its local production “Charm School” with $1.2 million at 352, off 28%. Other notable performers: BVI’s “Becoming Jane” with $1 million in its second U.K. frame; U’s “Smokin’ Aces” with $1.1 million at 600 and its “The Good Shepherd” with $1.1 million at 609; and Par’s “Charlotte’s Web” with $2 million at 1,318 and its “Freedom Writers” with $1 million at 569.  

Fox’s “The Devil Wears Prada” ended the frame by crossing the $200 million milestone internationally, pushing the worldwide cume to $325 million.

The Pursuit of Happyness,” neared $300 million worldwide as it grossed $2 million overseas to lift the foreign cume to $135.4 million.

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