Sci-fi action film leads competition

“Jumper” remained the dominant player at the international box office, hopping to a solid $21.9 million at 4,040 playdates in 40 markets.

Sci-fi actioner showed plenty of foreign traction with a $5,411 per-location average as Fox’s teleportation thriller nearly matched the combined total of the next three pics — “Sweeney Todd,” “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” and “The Bucket List.”

The pre-Oscar frame also saw decent rather than spectacular offshore perfs from best picture nominees, led by “Juno” with $5 million at 1,044, “No Country for Old Men” with $4.8 million at 1,558, “There Will Be Blood” with $3.9 million at 730 and “Atonement” with $2.7 million at 1,540. “Michael Clayton” has largely completed its international run, having cumed $34 million.

Fox’s “Juno” appears to be overcoming the usual foreign resistance to quirky American comedies, having racked up nearly $36 million early in its foreign run from 16 markets — including $13.5 million in the U.K., $8.7 million in Australia and $4.5 million each in France and Spain, where fourth frame grosses increased 12%. It’s on track to far exceed the $40 million foreign cume for last year’s “Little Miss Sunshine.”

Par’s “No Country for Old Men” held well and opened respectably in Italy with $1.6 million at 252 and in South Korea with a tiny launch of $89,000 at 11. But even a best picture win is unlikely to lift the film’s foreign grosses to anything comparable to the takings of last year’s star-studded winner, “The Departed,” which cumed $157 million overseas.

“There Will Be Blood,” with $10 million after three weekends offshore, retains significant foreign upside with Daniel Day-Lewis vying for best actor. Holds have been impressive, with the third Brit frame down just 4% to $1 million at 137.

Universal’s “Atonement” has been the top foreign grosser by far among best pic nominees, with $70 million from 45 markets late in its run, led by $24 million in the U.K. The romancer debuted in South Korea with a decent $750,000 at 120.

Apart from the Oscar contenders, “Jumper” took advantage of its status as the sole actioner in most markets with a $5.2 million launch in France, $3 million in its Brit soph sesh and $2.4 million in its second Spanish frame, off 37%. Pic has topped Fox’s expectations with foreign cume at $61 million, already $5 million ahead of the domestic total.

“Sweeney Todd” led the rest of the pack with $8.8 million at 2,700 to lift the foreign cume to $81.5 million — nearly $30 million ahead of the Stateside total — in a demonstration of Johnny Depp’s international drawing power. The musical opened in first in Italy with $2.6 million, topping the “Rambo” launch.

Disney’s “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” finished a close third with $8.3 million at 3,060 in 39 markets, led by a second French frame of $4.4 million, off only 30%. With $213.8 million banked overseas, the sequel’s nearly matched the domestic cume.

Warner’s “The Bucket List” scooped up $5.8 million at more than 2,000 screens, led by a $1.6 million Aussie launch that beat the second frame of “Jumper” and the opening of “Rambo.” Foreign cume’s hit $34.5 million, with France opening next weekend.

Sony saw respectable day-and-date results for domestic leader “Vantage Point” with $1.8 million at 525 in half a dozen markets, including a first-place $900,000 launch in Mexico. “Vantage Point” hits major markets next weekend.

Half a dozen other pics took in more than $3 million during the frame: the launch of German soccer comedy “Wild Bunch 5″ with $4.1 million in German-speaking markets; Sony’s “Water Horse: The Legend of the Deep” with $4 million at 2,010; “Rambo” with more than $4 million, including a $2.3 million Brit opening; “27 Dresses” with $3.7 million at 1,407 for a $28 million cume; “Charlie Wilson’s War” with $3.6 million at 1,639 for a $37 million total; and “Cloverfield” with $3.5 million at 2,199 to lift its international cume to $74.9 million.

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