Pic still packing 'em in at int'l box office

Ratatouille” continued to feast at the foreign box office, winning its second weekend in a row with a solid $21.1 million at 3,416 playdates in 34 markets.

Frame also saw Universal’s “The Kingdom” showing only modest firepower internationally with $5.4 million at 1,461 in 20 markets, reflecting the challenge that pics with Mideast themes and settings face in offshore territories. Jamie Foxx actioner didn’t crack seven figures in any market, declining 43% in its second U.K. frame to $980,000 and opening mildly in third in Germany with $800,000 and in second in Japan with $750,000.

U said “The Kingdom” launched well in Middle Eastern markets with positive word of mouth as foreign cume hit $10.1 million, but the pic already looks unlikely to match the $100 million international total for Foxx’s previous actioner, “Miami Vice.” By contrast, “Ratatouille” underlined the strong international appetite for animated comedies such as Paramount’s “Shrek the Third” (with $470 million overseas) and Fox’s “The Simpsons” ($340 million in foreign box office). The Disney/Pixar toon dominated an otherwise moderate session by nearly matching the combined grosses of the next three finishers — “Resident Evil: Extinction,” Spanish ghost tale “The Orphanage” and “The Heartbreak Kid.”

“Ratatouille” opened solidly in the U.K. with $9.8 million at 400 and stayed strong in its German soph sesh, declining just 22% to $6 million — in each case, taking in more than the combined grosses of all other pics in the top 10. The Mouse waited until the fall to take advantage of the disappearance of summer tentpoles and opted to position the pic to take advantage of school holidays in the U.K.

“Ratatouille” also won via holdovers in Austria, Denmark, Greece, Norway and Switzerland as the foreign cume hit $271.4 million. And the cooking comedy is set to move up that ladder in coming weeks with launches over next frame in China, Italy, Poland and Sweden.

“Ratatouille” helped overall biz stay healthy for a mid-fall frame and nearly matched the take of the leader of the same 2006 weekend, “The Devil Wears Prada.” Thanks mostly to high-profile pics, foreign box office for the majors has stayed more than 15% ahead of last year’s record-setting pace.

“Resident Evil: Extinction” led the rest of the pack with $9.8 million, led by a second-place Brit launch of $1.9 million, a $1.3 million Italian opening and a $1.2 million debut in Australia. The zombie threequel has scared up nearly $44 million overseas for Sony and Summit, performing in line with expectations as the previous two “Evil” pics combined for $150 million overseas.

Spanish chiller “El Orfanato,” starring Belen Rueda and produced by Guillermo del Toro, turned red hot in its local launch with $8 million, taking a massive 70% of the receipts for the top five pics. Warner Bros., which is handling distribution in Spain, reported that with more than 1 million admissions, the launch is set to be second-biggest ever for a local film after “Torrente 3.”

Par’s “Heartbreak Kid” finished a distant second to “El Orfanato” in its Spanish launch with $1.8 million, 43% ahead of “Wedding Crashers.” The raunchy comedy totaled $5.5 million from 1,113 in five markets overall as it held respectably in the U.K., off 28% to $1.8 million.

Warners continued to see mild numbers from “The Brave One” with $4.9 million at 2,400 with modest launches in Australia ($761,000), Mexico ($724,000) and South Korea ($647,000). Mirroring its domestic perf, the Jodie Foster vehicle has shown little traction so far with $20 million cume in 40 markets.

Par’s “Stardust” also remained a modest performer with $4.7 million at 1,648 in 39 markets, led by a $1.4 million opening in Italy. Expectations for foreign territories have been muted for the fantasy following the film’s $38 million domestic performance; foreign cume is at $32 million.

Universal, the most active studio in recent months, padded “The Bourne Ultimatum” with another $4.1 million to boost the pic’s foreign total to $179 million — only $25 million short of matching the combined foreign grosses for its predecessors. U’s comedy trio of “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” “Knocked Up” and “Evan Almighty” continued to generate respectable rather than blockbuster numbers with a combined $7.1 million for the frame.

The frame also saw Fox’s “The Seeker: Dark Is Rising” take in a modest $2.6 million at 1,000 in seven markets. Disney scored in Mexico, with “The Game Plan” coming in first with $2 million following a promo visit by Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson and co-star Roselyn Sanchez; Mouse execs are launching “Plan” next month in Oz and Asia with hopes of duplicating the $85 million foreign take for “The Pacifier.”

Critical fave “Michael Clayton” generated a decent $1.9 million at 562 in five markets, lifting the pic’s foreign cume to $7.7 million.

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