Film continues to dominate foreign box office

Foreign sensation “Mamma Mia!” stayed unstoppable at international multiplexes, racking up its fifth consecutive weekend victory with $14.1 million at 4,406 play dates in 47 markets.

The tuner’s taken in a dazzling $377.2 million and kept overall biz healthy during the early fall — a period when moviegoing tends to soften as studios opt for a combo of summer holdovers and smallish rollouts of new pics.

For example, the frame saw domestic winner “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” put the bite on respectable foreign grosses with $4.8 million at only 810 in five territories for a decent per-location average of $5,926 — best among major launches and mostly from $2.4 million in Australia and $1.8 million in Mexico. Paramount’s comedy “How to Lose Friends & Alienate People,” with local fave Simon Pegg toplining, opened day and date in the U.K. in first with a moderate $2.1 million at 449.

“Mamma Mia!” opened in first in Italy with $2.8 million as U noted that it expects strong word of mouth even though Italians are usually not fans of musicals. Holdover biz continued to be exceptions with the U.K. rising 25% to $1.4 million in its 13th week for a Brit cume of $123.3 million while Korean grosses slid 25% in the fifth frame to $1.6 million.

“Mamma!” still has plenty of gas in the tank with eight territories to open, including Japan on Jan. 30. Its stunning performance has left Universal with nearly $1.5 billion this year, trailing only Warner Bros. and Paramount at $1.6 billion — keeping the international biz for the six majors 2% behind last year’s record-setting pace, which finished 2007 at $9.5 billion.

Par’s been propelled by “Indiana Jones 4″ and “Kung Fu Panda” combining for nearly $900 million and should see massive offshore grosses next month from its “Madagascar” sequel. It saw solid returns during the frame from its first expansion of “Eagle Eye” with $8.3 million at 2,038, led by a $2.1 million launch in Russia.

Warners has been led by “The Dark Knight,” which has hit $461.7 million overseas. Fox has hit $1.2 billion as it’s opted for non-tentpole fare in recent months with “The Day the Earth Stood Still” expected to goose grosses at year end; “Mirrors” represented its leading player during the frame with $4.6 million at 1,500.

Disney just cleared the $1 billion mark for the year on the strength of “Wall-E” with $10.9 million at 3,583 to lift the foreign cume past $230 million. Its second German frame stayed solid with $5.4 million, topping “The Baader Meinhof Complex” at $4.5 million and the Teuton launch of “Burn After Reading” with $3 million.

The Mouse House opted for a gradual launch of the family comedy with Italy and Japan still to come for “Wall-E.” Disney, which should see impressive international numbers later this year from “High School Musical ,” continued to post strong early numbers from “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” with $3.3 million at 448 in Spain and the U.K.

Sony’s trailing the pack with $914 million this year but will begin minting money from “Quantum of Solace” when the Bond pic begins its foreign run Oct. 31. Its top title for the frame was “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” with $2.4 million at 1,325 screens in 37 markets — half of that from the Italian launch — to lift the foreign cume to $96.9 million.

“Zohan” should join “Click” soon as the second Adam Sandler title to top $100 million in foreign markets.

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