'300' brings in $48 million overseas
The Spartans have conquered the world, as “300″ completely dominated the international box office over the weekend, with $48 million from 5,000 playdates in 33 markets.War actioner easily killed off rivals everywhere, taking in double the combined grosses of the next four films — “Norbit,” “Music and Lyrics,” “Ghost Rider” and “Night at the Museum” — as it launched its assault in 20 new territories two weeks after its socko Stateside opening. The international coin for the Warner Bros. pic marks the best weekend perf by a movie abroad since “Casino Royale” took in $66 million overseas during the final frame of November; “300″ has bagged $79 million offshore for a worldwide total topping $241 million. The frame’s biggest war trophy for “300″ came from the U.K., where the film carted off $8.9 million from 369 sites — accounting for 59% of the top-five market share and three times the gross of the No. 2 pic, “Premonition.” The launch eclipsed the 2004 opening of “Troy,” which went on to take in $31 million in Blighty. Zack Snyder war pic also dominated in Spain, with $6.3 million off 536, representing more than 60% of total Spanish biz despite the distraction of a soccer Euro Cup qualifying match. Debut exceeded the launch of “The Last Samurai,” which grossed $24 million in Spain by the end of its run. Three other markets saw “300″ openings top $5 million, with the Russian launch the most notable at $5.6 million off 432 — a Russian record for a Warners release, which bested the bow of “Matrix Revolutions.” The French launch of $5.6 million from 485, including sneaks, represented a commanding 43% market share, and the Italian opening of $5.3 million off 486 easily beat two local titles plus “Norbit,” which opened in third with $1.6 million. Korean biz stayed solid with a soph sesh of $3.4 million from 231, off only 29% and commanding more than half the top-five share in Seoul. Spartan saga rolled out impressively in Mexico with $2.6 million at 520 with 54% of the top five, representing the second best launch for an 18-rated pic in the market after “The Passion of the Christ.” And Greek biz remained stellar in the pic’s third frame with $1.3 million, off 52% due to a Greece-Turkey Euro Cup game on Saturday after declining only 19% in its second frame. Movie has cumed $9.4 million in 17 days in Greece, surpassing “Troy” as the top Warner release and becoming the fifth best performer of all time in that market. Given the appetite for action, a lack of rival action fare in coming weeks and the impressive holdover numbers so far for “300,” Snyder’s take on the Battle of Thermopylae could be headed for the same kind of worldwide box office success as “Troy,” which took in almost $500 million — with more than 70% of that coming from outside the U.S.; “300″ launches next weekend in Brazil, followed by April 5 openings in Australia and Germany. Overall biz was impressive for the final March frame, with “300″ taking in nearly five times the total of the leading film in the same 2006 weekend, when “The Pink Panther” led with $10.6 million. War pic looks likely to keep the foreign box office healthy in the weeks leading up to the summer tentpole season; other contributors next weekend may include BVI’s family toon “Meet the Robinsons,” which opens in 20 markets, including Australia, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Spain and the U.K., and Universal’s Brit comedy “Mr. Bean’s Holiday,” which bows in 21 territories, including Australia and the U.K. The rest of the weekend pack overseas was dominated by comedies, with Paramount’s “Norbit” taking in $8.3 million off 2,513 in 40 territories, led by the Italian launch, and the film’s third seshes in the U.K., with $1.3 million off 374 and in Germany, with $1.1 million from 511. The Eddie Murphy laffer hasn’t matched its Stateside success; foreign cume is $43.2 million, led by $9 million in the U.K., for a $137 million worldwide total. Warner’s “Music and Lyrics” remained moderately tuneful outside the U.S. with $7 million at 3,500 in 54 markets, led by its third German frame with $1.5 million at 620, off 31%, and its second French frame, with $1 million at 352. Foreign cume has hit $68 million, representing 58% of its worldwide total, with releases coming in Spain and Japan. Sony’s “Ghost Rider,” which led for three weekends in late February and early March, showed some traction with $5.4 million from 3,500 in 58 markets, including a first-place launch in Thailand with $885,000 off 120 — the biggest opening for a Hollywood pic in that market this year. “Rider” has totaled a respectable $95.4 million outside the U.S. for a worldwide cume of $208.6 million. Fox’s sturdy “Night at the Museum” came in fifth with $3.6 million at 1,991, mostly via a Japanese soph sesh with $2.9 million off 568, down only 19%. “Night” has been a surprisingly bright light overseas this year, with foreign grosses topping $300 million, lifting the worldwide total to $546 million — 38th highest of all time. BVI’s “Wild Hogs” took in $2.6 million at 590 in half a dozen territories, mostly via its third Aussie frame with a first-place $1.7 million from 300, 50% better than the second frame of “Hot Fuzz.” “Hogs,” which opens next weekend in Mexico and Taiwan, has cumed a solid $8 million in Australia — reflecting the market’s receptive appetite for broad American comedies. Universal’s “Hot Fuzz,“ which opens April 20 in the U.S., grabbed $2 million from 585 in the U.K., Oz and New Zealand to lift its cume to $42.5 million — all but $3 million of that from six weeks in Blighty. Fox’s “Epic Movie” also grossed $2 million from 1,000 for a $27 million international total and $66 million worldwide. Universal saw impressive numbers for its first launches of “Mr. Bean’s Holiday,” which rang up $1.1 million from 43 in Singapore and $690,000 off 49 in Malaysia, marking the best comedy openings ever in those markets. Distrib reported strong response as well for Saturday previews in the U.K. “Holiday,” which opens in August in the U.S., stars Brit actor Rowan Atkinson; his “Bean” took in $250 million worldwide a decade ago. Meanwhile, romantic comedy “The Holiday” opened respectably in Japan with $1.6 million at 278, equal to the bows of “Love Actually” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” Foreign cume is $131 million — more than double its U.S. total, as foreign audiences sparked to the romantic comedy’s international stars and story. With “300″ arriving, Italian romancer “Ho voglia di te” slid 52% to $1.7 million from 500 in its third weekend for an $18.2 million cume in Italy, where it’s distribbed by Warner. The studio’s “Happy Feet” kicked in $1 million more off 499 in its Japanese soph sesh, down 31%, lifting the foreign total to $177.5 million and the worldwide to $375 million. Par’s “Shooter” launched day-and-date in Brazil with $285,000 off 105, 36% ahead of star Mark Wahlberg’s previous actioner, “Four Brothers.” Sony’s “Reign Over Me” opened in eighth in Australia in a limited launch, with $230,000 from 56. Paramount reported $1 million off 526 for “Freedom Writers” and $1 million from 997 for “Dreamgirls,” lifting the musical’s foreign cume to $49.3 million and its worldwide to $152 million. BVI’s “Deja Vu” opened in China, its final market, bagging $1.3 million off 200 to push the pic’s foreign total to $111 million and worldwide to $175 million.