Bonfires wither U.K. B.O.

LONDON — “Ratatouille” keeps on cooking up big biz at the European box office while homegrown holdovers “Lissi” and “The Orphanage” comfortably held top spots in Germany and Spain.

U.K. B.O. felt the heat from Bonfire Night celebrations and fireworks displays, which took place over the weekend. Overall trade slipped 26% on last weekend and 26% on the same weekend last year. But bookers point out that drop-offs are not cause for alarm as the previous Friday (Oct. 26) was a school holiday.

“Ratatouille” dropped 57% in its fourth frame but still retained top spot for the fourth weekend on the trot. The rat chef pic has now cooked up a boffo $42.2 million for Disney.

“Elizabeth: The Golden Age” took $2.8 million at 451 screens for a $6,240 average. Result is respectable given the Cate Blanchett starrer received poor reviews from Brit crix. Exhibs expect the Universal release to hold well in the week and cume close to $17 million.

Halloween-season horror “30 Days of Night” delivered for distrib Icon, taking $3.2 million at 385 (including $818,290 in previews) for a chart-topping screen average of $8,311.

Matthew Vaughn’s fantasy epic “Stardust” is showing good legs on home turf: it dropped 39% in its third frame, pushing the running cume to $19.8 million for Paramount.

In Italy, “Ratatouille” held firm in the top slot in its third frame, followed by latecomer “The Bourne Ultimatum,” which opened at number two.

Mouse House rat pic slid a mere 32%, pulling $3.2 million on 536, for a tasty $20.5 million running cume.

Finishing off its European run, “The Bourne Ultimatum” opened just O.K. in Italy, where it scored $3.2 million on 357 in four days for Universal, following a Thursday opening.

Dario Argento slasher “Mother of Tears,” the other big Italo opener, came in at number four, scaring up $1.1 million on 303, via Medusa, over the All Saints weekend; not a bad take considering the horrormeister is no longer in his heyday.

Anthony Hopkins thriller “Fracture” bested its moderate expectations, tallying $819,000 on 182 via Eagle Pictures for a solid $4,500 per-screen average at number seven.

But the frame’s real winner was Italo auteur Silvio Soldini’s “Days and Clouds,” which slid a mere 7% in its second frame, holding on to the fifth spot. Genoa-set drama about a middle-class couple hit with money troubles scored $953,000 on 203 for a rich $3 million two-week cume via Warner Bros.

In Germany, light-hearted animated fare and comedies ruled the box office.

Local CGI hit “Lissi“ enjoyed a powerful second wind in its soph sesh, remaining at number one with $4.7 million, a mere 7% drop.

While “Lissi” opened below initial expectations, the Constantin pic has made up for it and then some with its strong second week showing, giving it a total $11.8 million from 790.

In its fifth week, “Ratatouille” also continued to pull in auds, adding $3.8 million from 835 to its running tally of $41 million.

In third place, Universal’s “The Heartbreak Kid” surprised local exhibs with the best performance of the week’s new releases despite less than positive reviews.

The Farrelly brothers’ comedy garnered $3.5 million from 497, giving it the week’s best per-location average of $7,000.

Also holding respectably was Universal’s “Stardust,” which took in $787,000 on its way to a $3.4 million cume.

Rounding out the top five, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” in its sixth session, added $693,275 to its $13 million total, giving Universal a third release in the top five.

Overall, the Teutonic box office was up 18% from the previous week.

In Spain, Juan Antonio Bayona’s chiller “The Orphanage” held top spot, picking up another $3.2 million (down just 22%) en route to a $26.7 million take after four frames.

Latest strong showing makes “The Orphanage” the third biggest grosser at the Spanish box office this year, trailing “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” ($31.4 million), and “Shrek the Third” ($30.2 million). “Orphanage” has surpassed summer event movies “The Simpsons Movie” ($25.5 million) and “Spiderman 3″ ($24.8 million).

Sony’s “Resident Evil: Extinction” went out on 350 and took a nice $3.4 million at a $5,472 per screen average.

Two local pics debuted to a muted response. “Oviedo Express,” from vet writer-director Gonzalo Suarez went out on 100 via UPI and took a meager $258,536. Ibon Cormenzana’s “The Totenwackers” did a more respectable $474,115 at 120 via BVI.

In France, school hols gave “Surf’s Up” a big lift. Up 65% on the week in its second frame, it has now cumed $7.3 million.

“After a disappointing first week, we’re now expecting it to do better than ‘Open Season’ did here at the same point a year ago, which would be amazing,” said Eric Brune, general manager of Sony Pictures Releasing France.

Top bow of the week went to “The Kingdom,” which earned Par $1.7 million on 293. Camille Trumer, president of Paramount Pictures France, welcomed the result “in a very challenging market with so many new releases.”

“L’heure zero,” helmer Pascal Thomas’s take on an Agatha Christie classic, also bowed strongly for StudioCanal, at $1.7 million on 242 in its first five days.

Treated far kinder by the French critics than elsewhere, Woody Allen’s latest “Cassandra’s Dream” also debuted strongly at just over $1.4 million on 190 for TFM.

Raunchy teen comedy “Superbad” was also well received, bowing at $1.4 million on 280 for Sony.

Additional reporting by Ed Meza (Germany), Nick Vivarelli (Italy), David Hayhurst (France) and Emilio Mayorga (Spain).

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