Batman film grossed $67 million from 43 markets
Warner Bros.’ “The Dark Knight” lived up to the monster hype at the international box office over the July 25-27 frame, grossing $67.7 million from 7,143 in 43 markets for a foreign cume of $128.3 million in its first 10 days.Batman films have historically lagged at the international box office, but Christopher Nolan began to reverse this trend with “Batman Begins,” which cumed $166 million overseas. Nolan’s sequel “Dark Knight” is proving even more popular, both in the U.S. and abroad. The July 25-27 frame saw “Dark Knight” make its first major European push, with boffo bows in the U.K. and Italy. Warners has opted for a staggered international rollout. In the U.K., the superhero tentpole came in No. 1 with a massive $22.3 million at 502 runs, including $5 million in previews. The caped crusader helped deliver the best weekend of the year at the U.K. box office. Bumper results were particularly impressive given that weekend weather was sweltering, which traditionally keeps people outdoors. “Dark Knight” earned $5 million in its Italian launch, leaving only crumbs for the competish and almost single-handedly giving the local box office a 31% boost over the previous frame. All told, the Batman pic sold 8.5 million tickets overseas. Its offshore weekend total of $67.7 million exceeded the combined totals of the next four pics — “Hancock,” “Mamma Mia,” “Kung Fu Panda” and “Wall-E.” New entry “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” placed No. 6 for the weekend. It’s clear that “Dark Knight” will be a blockbuster overseas, just as it already is in the United States. Its international cume of $128.3 million doesn’t include many key markets where the film has yet to open, including France, Germany, Japan, South Korea and Spain. Domestically, “Dark Knight” cume was a whopping $333.4 million through July 30 — a record amount for so early in a film’s run. Warners notes that grosses for the July 25-27 weekend bested “Batman Begins” in the territories where it has opened by 156%. “Dark Knight” saw a second sesh decline of just 37% to $7.2 million for the third best sophomore sesh ever. Sony’s Will Smith tentpole “Hancock” came in No. 2, grossing $20.2 million from 2,690 playdates for a hefty cume of $294.6 million. Pic’s performance points to Smith’s tremendous popularity overseas. Universal’s “Mamma Mia” continued to shine at the international box office, placing No. 3 in its third frame. Musical, starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried, grossed $16.1 million from 2,390 runs for a boffo foreign cume of $110.3 million. Like Batman pics, musicals haven’t always traveled so well; “Mamma Mia,” though, is a trailblazer, similar to “Chicago.” Over the July 25-27 weekend, “Mamma” declined only 34%, with the feel-good pic holding well in the U.K., even in the face of “Dark Knight” and competish from “Perfect Snogging,” a fave among teen girls. Brit cume for “Mamma Mia” was $49.5 million through July 27 — U’s fourth-highest grosser of all time in Blighty. With 35 more markets to open over the next three months, “Mamma Mia” looks likely to nail down grosses in the same range as the $230 million overseas title for this summer’s “Sex and the City.” “Mamma Mia” topped the box office chart in Germany, grossing a healthy $2.9 million in its second sesh. Business overall at the German box office was tepid, reflecting the absence of “Dark Knight” and the hot weather. German box office trade plunged 45.5% from the previous frame. Two family toons took the fourth and fifth spots at the international box office for the July 15-27 frame –DreamWorks Animation and Paramount family toon “Kung Fu Panda” and Disney-Pixar’s “Wall-E,” respectively. “Panda” grossed $15.6 million from 6,565 playdates to push it over the $300 million mark internationally. “Wall-E,” which is much earlier in its run, grossed $9.2 million from 3,081 theaters for a foreign cume of $70.3. Toon heads into Benelux and France next. New entry “The X-Files: I Want to Believe,” from 20th Century Fox, placed No. 6 in its international launch, grossing $8.9 million from 2,595 runs in 22 territories, mirroring its modest domestic launch of $10 million. Sequel reunites “X-Files” creator Chris Carter with series stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, and comes a decade after the first film played and six years after the hit TV series went off the air. Opening weekend take of $8.9 million was led by Russia with $2.3 million and Spain with $1.5 million. Per location average of $3,576 was moderate. Fox says the pic will be profitable, since it cost less than $30 million to produce. Martin Dale in Spain, David Hayhurst in France, Dave McNary in Los Angeles, Ed Meza in Germany and Nick Vivarelli in Italy contributed to this report.