‘Legend’ finishes strong overseas

Will Smith film, 'Compass' top foreign box office

Will Smith’s “I Am Legend” closed out the year with a bang, leading a robust foreign box office during the final 2007 weekend with $46.1 million in 25 markets.

“Legend” dominated the Brit box office following its Boxing Day launch with $21.8 million at 438 playdates, taking in almost half of the biz for the top five film in an opening that was on par with “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.” Its second French frame declined merely 6% to $7.1 million while its Spanish soph sesh slid 39% to $3 million.

“Legend” also launched in first in Denmark, Israel, Norway, Portugal and South Africa on its way to hitting $117 million in foreign box office cume and $311 million worldwide, combined with the domestic total. With openings still coming in Australia, Germany, Italy and Mexico in coming weeks, the sci-fier should continue to lead the way offshore for several more frames.   

But there were plenty of other foreign box office riches to go around as “Golden Compass” remained a stellar performer outside the United States with $34 million at 7,600. The four-week foreign cume has hit $187 million — over triple its disappointing domestic total of $59 million in a performance underlines international traction for fantasy fare.

“Compass” has attracted $5 million in Australia since its Boxing Day launch on Wednesday. Its four-week Brit cume has hit $41 million, followed by $21 million in South Korea, $18 million in France and $17 million in Germany.

Another quintet of pics — “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” “Enchanted,” “Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks, “Bee Movie” — combined for another $85 million during the frame. So with the top seven entries totaling $165 million, international box office is ending the year on a decidedly upbeat note.

The six Hollywood majors have seen overall foreign biz jump 9% over 2006 to total  $9.4 billion — led by Warner Bros. at $2.15 billion, followed by Disney at $1.67 billion, Fox at $1.64 billion, Par at $1.6 billion, Sony at $1.27 billion and U at $1.03 billion.

Disney’s “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” found significant coin with $21 million at 3,000 in 25 markets for a two-week cume of $60 million. The solid start shows the sequel’s on track to top the final $174 million offshore cume for the original “National Treasure.”

“Book of Secrets” saw solid launches in Russia with $2.8 million and in Mexico with $2.2 million and excellent second-frame holds elsewhere — Spain, down 5% to $2.4 million; Italy, up 17% to $2.2 million; Japan, off 29% to $1.9 million; and South Korea, down 23% to $1.8 million.   

Disney also conjured up respectable “Enchanted” figures with $20.6 million at 5,304 in 43 markets, giving the family-aimed fantasy a foreign total of $110.7 million — matching the domestic number. Its fourth Brit frame held nicely, off only 1% to $4.5 million, while its Australian launch looked lively with $3.3 million.

“Enchanted,” which has outperfomed studio expectations, also boosted its second frame by 30% in Germany to $2.9 million and its fourth French frame by 5% to $2 million.

Fox saw impressive returns in a counter-programming foray for “Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem” with $15. 9 million at 1,784 in 20 markets — a notable $8,910 per location average. Sequel scared up its top takes in Germany with $4.8 million, Australia with $2.8 million, Japan with $2.4 million and Malaysia with $1.2 million in the largest Fox launch ever in that market.

Fox’s “Alvin” remained solid rather than spectacular with $13.6 million at 3,608 to lift the kidpic’s foreign cume to nearly $38 million. Most of the takings came from soph sesh holdovers, led by the U.K. with $2.7 million and France and Germany with $1.9 million each.

Par’s “Bee Movie” buzzed up $13.5 million at 4,904 in 59 markets for a $103 million foreign cume. Toon showed stellar holds with a 12% hike in its third U.K. frame to $2.1 million and a 47% jump in its Italian soph sesh to $1.6 million.

U’s “American Gangster” gunned down $6.6 million at 1,935 in 25 territories, raising the foreign cume to  $62.6 million in the middle of its run. Half of its take came from the Spanish launch, which topped the second frame of “I Am Legend” with $3.3 million at 439.

Along with “Gangster,” several other award season contenders started expanding their runs such as U’s “Atonement” with an Aussie launch of $2.6 million at 131 to lift the foreign cume to $36 million from 11 markets. Period drama goes into Brazil, France, Spain and Sweden in two weeks.

Par’s “No Country for Old Men” made its first foreign foray with a socko Oz opening of $1 million at only 52. Its “Kite Runner” launched in Blighty with $900,000 at 132, similar to “Motorcycle Diaries.”  

Fox’s co-production of local romancer “Irony of Fate 2” remained a serious player in Russia with $5.2 million at 905 for a two-week cume of $17.5 million. And Sony saw moderate returns its day and date Mexican launch of “The Water Horse” with $1.45 million since Christmas.

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