Top five territories each have different leaders

LONDON — Yet more strong holdover biz for feelgood tuner “Mamma Mia!” underpinned a solid weekend at the European box office where different pics topped the charts in the big five territories.

Best home turf performer was Gallic Palme d’Or winner “Entre les murs” (The Class), which claimed top spot at French wickets. Hyped Teutonic opener “The Baader Meinhof Complex” did solid biz but had to settle for second behind rival opener “Wall-E.”

In the U.K., “Tropic Thunder” (Paramount) held top spot in its soph sesh with $2.4 million at 461. Pic dropped 33% (excluding previews) but still comfortably held off three openers, which opened in second, third and fourth. Overall weekend biz was dented considerably by a last few days of warm summery weather, which had Brits seeking outdoor entertainment before the scarves and hats are on.

Abduction thriller “Taken” placed second with $2.1 million at 396 via Fox. Pic performed particularly well in Ireland due to the home turf popularity of topliner Liam Neeson, according to bookers. Ireland usually accounts for roughly 10% of the U.K./Ireland box office, but “Taken” took closer to 20% of its opening haul on the Emerald Isle.

“Righteous Kill” missed the target on its bow, taking $1.4 million at 322 for Lionsgate. Despite the pairing of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, the pic only did reasonable biz in Blighty. Bookers partly attribute the quietish opening to the poor trailer.

Jason Statham starrer “Death Race” (Universal) failed to make a fast start. The high-octane actioner netted $1.2 million at 371 for Universal.

Of the holdovers, whammo box office phenomenon “Mamma Mia!” (Universal) once again showed incredible traction. The tuner dipped just 14% in its 12th weekend pushing the cume to a monster $112.9 million and counting.

Holocaust drama “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” is also displaying great staying power. The Disney release fell just 11% in its third frame for a $3.7 million running cume.

In Germany, cute robots vanquished left-wing terrorists as Disney’s “Wall-E” outperformed “The Baader Meinhof Complex” in the anticipated big box office battle of the openers.

“Wall-E” waltzed in with $5.2 million at 690 locations, with “The Baader Meinhof Complex” next best with $4.6 million at 550. But “Complex” posted the better screen average; $8,377 vs. $7,587 for the kid pic. The combined punch of the two high-profile openers gave the weekend a hefty 58% bump from last week and a 9% rise from the same weekend last year.

Euro box office hit “Mamma Mia!” reached 3.9 million total admissions from 11 weeks in the top 10, making it the most successful film in Germany this year. While German juggernaut “Keinohrhasen” racked up a 5 million tix total, its take was split due to its 2007 opening. Despite a modest weekend take of $555,782 at 613 this weekend, the Abba tuner boasts a massive $34.3 million cume.

In Spain, BVI’s “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” opened top and ahead of “Tropic Thunder” in a competitive frame.

“Striped Pajamas” nabbed $3.2 million on 260 at a strong copy-average of $12,210, placing comfortably top ahead of holdover “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” which dropped 40% for an impressive $6.4 million cume. Paramount’s “Tropic Thunder” landed in fourth place, with a below-par $1.3 million off 325.

“We expected a nice performance of ‘Boy.’ It got a very good response at the San Sebastian fest. However, most of us thought that ‘Tropic’ could snatch the first place from ‘Boy’,” said a local booker.

Aurum’s fantasy actioner “Babylon A.D.” opened to $1.4 million on 303, satisfying expectations.

Alta’s “The Blind Sunflowers,” Spain’s entry for the Oscars, surged up 12% in its fifth sesh for a good cume of $4.4 million.

As elsewhere, Universal’s “Mamma Mia!” continues to tally top numbers in Spain. It dropped 23% in its eighth frame for a $17.6 million cume.

In France, “Entre les murs” (The Class) rode mostly rave reviews and the kind of credibility a Palme d’Or award proffers to the top of the Gallic weekend box office. The tale of the year in the life of a teacher and his junior high school students in a tough quarter of Paris took in more than $3.1 million on 368 in its first five days for a delighted Haut et Court. Fellow new release “Faubourg 36” (Paris 36) was a close second at more than $3 million on 594 for Pathe.

StudioCanal release “Parlez-moi de la pluie” (Let it Rain) tailed off 45% in its second frame. The dramedy toplining Jamel Debbouze and helmer Agnes Jaoui has cumed $5.1 million on 466.

While not the socko B.O. performer in Gaul it has been elsewhere in Europe, “Mamma Mia!” is showing some legs, off by only 25% in its third frame. A cume of nearly $8.5 million on 462 has Universal happy. “We’re pleased because most Broadway musicals are unknown in France,” said distribution topper Stephane Huard.

In Italy, “The Mummy: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” easily conquered the numero uno slot scoring $3.1 million off 466 via Universal.

“Righteous Kill” bowed a distant second with $1.54 million from 362 via 01 Distribuzione, proving the De Niro and Pacino starrer still have Italo pull, despite a barrage of critical drubbings.

Julia Roberts starrer “Fireflies in the Garden” failed to fly, bowing in seventh at a mere $425,000 off 174 via Medusa.

“Burn After Reading” slipped 45% in its soph sesh for $1.53 million from 421, at number three, and a $5.3 million running cume via Medusa, while “Hancock” dropped 63% in its third frame, at number four, for $1.3 on 468 and a stellar $15.5 million cume to date.

Among local holdovers, Pupi Avati’s drama “Giovanna’s Father,” which won the Venice actor nod for protag Silvio Soldini, is at number six with $524,000 off 260 in its third frame and a $3.9 million running cume via Medusa.

But the real standout Italo pic is 59-year-old first-timer Gianni Di Gregorio’s “Mid-August Lunch,” winner of Venice’s Lion of the Future. “Lunch” slipped only 18% in its fourth frame, pulling $320,000 from 116, via Fandango. Bittersweet comedy, shot on a $70,000 budget, has cumed a tasty $1.7 million to date.

Additional reporting by Andrew Horn (Germany), Emilio Mayorga (Spain), Nick Vivarelli (Italy) and David Hayhurst (France).

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