James Bond finds overseas ‘Solace’

'Quantum' breaks records at foreign box office

James Bond returned with a record-setting blast at the international box office as Sony/MGM’s “Quantum of Solace” gunned down a socko $38.6 million at 2,123 playdates in the U.K., France and Sweden, two weeks ahead of the domestic launch.

British biz for the pic dazzled on Bond’s home turf with $25.3 million at 1,150, breaking the three-day launch record held by “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” and taking in a jaw-dropping 70% of the market. The Daniel Craig vehicle also set a Friday record with $8 million, 23% higher than “Goblet.”

The $10.6 million French launch for “Quantum of Solace” set a Bond pic record over three days, topping the five-day mark of “Casino Royale” by 16%. And the $2.7 million Swedish debut was the fourth biggest ever in that market after the final “Lord of the Rings” pic, “Goblet” and the third “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Bond saw a stellar $18,181 per-location average for “Quantum of Solace” from the trio of territories — portending massive biz next weekend when it expands into 57 additional markets including Germany, Italy and Russia. Sony’s international distrib topper, Mark Zucker, noted that the pic benefits by coming into a market that hasn’t seen an actioner with mass appeal in several months.  

With “Casino Royale” having topped $425 million offshore and a high-powered worldwide promo campaign, “Quantum of Solace” may wind up topping “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” with $467 million, as the top 2008 international title.

But it wasn’t all Bond on the foreign front. With Halloween having little impact outside the U.S., the frame also saw continued impressive teen and tween support for Disney’s second frame of “High School Musical 3: Senior Year” as it danced its way to a solid $25.9 million at 3,805 in 32 markets.

“HSM3” kicked in its top gross in Italy with a $4.9 million opening — Disney’s fifth highest in that market — while the U.K. followed with $4.3 million, off 56%, and France with $3.5 million, down a mere 7%. The tuner’s already taken in $85 million outside the U.S.

The frame also saw Paramount’s “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” turn golden in its first launches with a stunning $17.8 million at 635 in Russia and Ukraine — the top openings ever for both markets and an early indication that the sequel could outperform the original’s $340 million overseas cume. The sequel took in $16 million in the red-hot Russian market, breaking the record for local smash “The Very Best Movie.”

Par’s opted for a gradual foreign release on the “Madagascar” sequel, with only Hungary and the Philippines launching next weekend and most key territories open by the end of the month.

By contrast, international audiences showed only modest support for serious political fare as Oliver Stone’s “W.” opened with a moderate $750,000 at 200 in France, its first major market. Similarly, Warner’s early foreign results for Middle East thriller “Body of Lies” have been muted with $10.8 million in 10 markets, mostly from Australia and South Korea.

“Burn After Reading” continued to generate respectable foreign numbers with $6.7 million at 1,705 in 20 markets, eclipsing its domestic total with $58 million overseas. “Saw V” scared up $5.8 million in 17 territories — but with Mexico the only major market — to lift its early foreign total to $14.3 million, and “Eagle Eye” grabbed $4.5 million at 2,276 in 54 markets to push international cume to $65.5 million.

And “Mamma Mia!” stayed a player with $3.4 million at 2,700 in 46 territories to raise its foreign total to $414.8 million and edge past “Kung Fu Panda” as 2008’s third best international grosser after “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and “The Dark Knight.”

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