Monster movie tops 'Asterix' at box office

“Cloverfield” scared up solid but not monstrous overseas biz to top the weekend at the international box office with $18.6 million at 3,174 playdates in 33 markets. The horror thriller topped the $16 million launch of French comedy “Asterix at the Olympic Games” in a moderate frame.

Oscar-nominated pics displayed decent offshore traction, with the best per-location averages coming from “Sweeney Todd” slicing up $9.5 million at 1,700, “No Country for Old Men” taking $4.2 million from 936 and “Juno” grabbing $2.5 million at 442.

Domestic sensation “Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour” debuted day-and-date in South Africa with an impressive $30,000 at three sites. Disney plans to open the tween pic in about 20 more international markets at 170 3-D locations during the next two months, beginning with Norway.

“Demand among exhibitors far exceeds supply,” said Disney exec David Kornblum, who noted that international runs will be open-ended, as opposed to the one-week run slated for the pic domestically.

“Cloverfield” packed a punch in its Brit launch with $6.7 million at 386, 49% ahead of the “Beowulf” launch. Scarefest, which has cumed $36 million overseas to date, turned in decent debut numbers in Italy with $2.4 million, Spain with $2 million and Mexico with $1.6 million.

Rough estimates for “Asterix at the Olympic Games” showed a socko French launch of $14 million at a record-breaking 1,078, plus $2 million more in Germany. The 2002 entry “Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra” totaled $74 million in France and $30 million elsewhere.

With competition from “Cloverfield,” “Sweeney Todd” came in second in its soph U.K. frame with a 45% decline to $3.4 million. The musical fell 50% in its French soph sesh to $2 million. “Sweeney” has hit $46.5 million from 18 foreign markets, with launches next weekend in Brazil and Mexico.

U’s “American Gangster” continued to shoot up respectable foreign biz with $8 million at 2,528, led by a Japanese launch of $2.3 million. “Gangster” has met studio expectations by cuming nearly $115 million from 46 markets, only $15 million short of the domestic total.

Warner’s sturdy “I Am Legend,” which dominated the late holiday period, remained a contributor with $7.8 million at 4,100 prints in 55 markets for a foreign cume of $303.6 million. Sci-fier is the 51st pic to top $300 million overseas.

Disney’s “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” added $6.7 million, thanks to a $3.2 million German soph sesh that topped the launch of “Asterix.” “Treasure” has banked $170 million overseas, $3 million short of matching the original, with a Brit launch still to come next weekend.

Chinese-language family drama “CJ7″ also will probably crack the charts. Starring, directed and produced by Steven Chow, the pic opened well in China though no numbers were available from that territory Sunday.

Warner’s “The Bucket List,” still early in its offshore run, scooped up $5.8 million at 1,500 to push its international cume to $12.4 million.

Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks” took in $5.1 million at 3,200 to boost the foreign total to $113 million. “P.S. I Love You,” handled overseas by Summit, remained reliable with $5 million at 1,552 in 17 markets for an international total of $49 million.

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