Smith thriller still tops a foreign box office

Will Smith’s “I Am Legend” remained stellar at the foreign box office, easily winning its fourth straight frame with $36.2 million from 5,000 prints in 47 markets.

“The Golden Compass” led the rest of the pack with its fourth consecutive second-place finish, grabbing $15 million at 5,600 in 54 territories.

In Australia, Fox debuted “27 Dresses” a week ahead of its domestic launch and took in $3.1 million — the best Oz opening ever for a romantic comedy.

The one-two punch of “Legend” and “Compass” has kept international biz in the pink for the past month with combined offshore grosses approaching half a billion dollars. “Legend” has cumed $218 million internationally, trailing the pic’s Stateside total by $22 million; “Compass” continues to shine, hitting $247 million overseas, nearly four times the domestic gross, in a performance highlighting the traction of fantasy fare outside the U.S.

With the top four pics combining for $80 million, overall biz finished ahead of the same frame a year ago, when “Night at the Museum” led with $19 million.

“I Am Legend” took in its top numbers via impressive launches in Germany with $9.1 million and Italy with $7.1 million, grossing a respective 57% and 48% of the top five films in those territories. Its third Brit frame, with $4.3 million, easily topped the launch of “Charlie Wilson’s War,” and its Aussie soph sesh of $3.1 million tied “27 Dresses” and edged the debut of “American Gangster.”

With openings next frame in Brazil and Mexico and strong holdover biz, “Legend” should continue leading the foreign box office for several more weekends and finish its foreign run with more than $300 million, again underlining Smith’s worldwide star power. His last two pics — “The Pursuit of Happyness” and “I, Robot” — combined for nearly $350 million overseas.

Disney’s “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” nearly beat “Compass” for second place with $14.7 million at 4,700 in 31 markets, pushing its foreign cume to $127.5 million midway through its offshore run. The sequel’s on track to top Mouse House expectations by finishing well above the $174 million international total for “National Treasure.”

“Book of Secrets” opened solidly in the Philippines with $1.2 million and topped $1 million in its fourth frames in Spain and Japan.

Amid a market well stocked with family fare, Fox counterprogrammer “Aliens vs. Predator — Requiem” scared up respectable biz with $13 million at 4,300 as the sequel debuted in Russia with $3.4 million and in Spain with $2.5 million. “AVP 2″ has cumed $53 million offshore.

Fox’s family entry “Alvin and the Chipmunks” stayed tuneful with $9.6 million at 4,000 in 50 markets thanks to solid holdovers as its second Oz frame slid only 37% to $2.2 million. “Alvin,” which carried only moderate expectations, has performed decently overseas, amassing an $81.4 million cume; its combined worldwide total has hit a spectacular $270 million.

Other family fare, held over from the holidays, remained respectable. Disney’s “Enchanted” took in $7.7 million to push the fantasy’s foreign total to $152.3 million — $35 million ahead of the domestic total — and Paramount’s “Bee Movie” buzzed up $6.5 million at 4,391 for an international total of $141.5 million.

Award-season fare continues to expand steadily overseas. Universal’s “American Gangster” did more solid foreign biz with $7.1 million at 1,800 in 37 markets, led by its Aussie launch of $2.9 million — 75% bigger than “The Departed.” “Gangster” has cumed nearly $82 million overseas and opens next weekend in Italy.

U also widened “Charlie Wilson’s War” to take in $3.4 million at 525, mostly via a third-place Brit launch behind “I Am Legend” and “P.S. I Love You.” Universal’s “Atonement” took $3.4 million at 735 with a third-place opening in Spain, where the romancer posted the highest per-screen average, for a $42.7 million foreign cume.

Paramount’s “The Kite Runner” flew to $1.6 million at 394, led by a second-place launch in Holland. International take from four markets has hit $4.8 million.

Perf of Fox’s Russian production “Irony of Fate 2″ remained sensational with $2.5 million at 740 in its fourth frame for a $44.1 million cume, solely from Russia.

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