Local titles profit from Hollywood lull
“No Country for Old Men” got new bounce in Europe’s post-Oscar frame, which was otherwise flat, especially for mainstream Hollywood fare, while several Euro titles reaped rather nicely.In Italy, “No Country” shot up to numero uno after opening last week in the second position. The Coen brothers’ pic took in $1.9 million from 308 for a $4.6 million two-week cume, scoring the frame’s highest per-screen average — $6,100 — via Universal. “No Country” leapt over “Jumper,” which opened number two at Italian wickets with a relatively robust $1.7 million via Fox for the Doug Liman-helmed sci-fi actioner. Meanwhile Spanish chiller “Rec,” by Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza, debuted surprisingly well with $663,000 from 143 via local distrib Mediafilm. “Rec,” in sixth place, opened ahead of Sony’s political assassination thriller “Vantage Point,” which misfired in Italy with a disappointing $622,000 off 274. In the Italo arthouse arena “Persepolis” opened nicely for an arty toon drawing $305,798 from 87 via BIM Distribuzione for the multi-prized autobiographical Marjane Satrapi pic. In the U.K., where total grosses were down 20% on the previous weekend — and minus 14% compared with the same frame in 2007 — “No Country” still rose 22% in its seventh frame to $583,341 and a running cume of $12.5 million. The flat Brit frame saw Roger Donaldson’s 1970s London-set crime caper “The Bank Job” take the top spot in Blighty with $1.9 million ($188,246 in previews) at 324 screens. The Jason Statham starrer, based on a real-life 1971 London bank robbery, benefited from a warm reception from the Brit crix. Exhibs credit Lionsgate U.K. with a strong campaign. No pic topped $2 million in a tepid weekend populated by a flurry of soft openers. Not that any of them had generated much pre-release buzz. Underdog sports comedy “Semi-Pro” took second place with $1.5 million at 345 via Entertainment. Result roundly satisfied bookers given that basketball is not a popular sport in Blighty. Colin Firth and Uma Thurman romantic comedy “The Accidental Husband” — universally panned by the Brit crix — managed $1.4 million at 323 for Momentum. Serial killer thriller “Untraceable” failed to excite at U.K. wickets with just $1.1 million at 280 per Universal. Even in a soft frame, that was only good enough for eighth spot in the charts. Daniel Day-Lewis starrer “There Will Be Blood” showed some sanguine Oscar muscle posting the frame’s biggest screen average — $6,241 — in its fourth frame. Paul Thomas Anderson’s pic benefited from an 41% expansion in screens, timed to capitalize on Day-Lewis’ widely-anticipated best-actor win and has now banked $5.3 million. In Germany, BBC docu “Planet Earth” topped the charts in its fourth frame, as expected, drawing in $3.35 million at 421 screens for a lush green cume of $15.7 million. The Teutonic upset came from Fox spoof “Meet the Spartans,” which came in at number two with $3 million in admissions from 304 screens, snatching the best per-screen average at $11,016. “The Spartans” unexpectedly bested Disney’s local kiddie franchise pic “Die Wilded Kerle 5,” which despite a 16% drop actually scored the week’s top admissions, but due to lower kid tix prices pulled $2.9 million from 706 screens to place number 3 with a two week $7 million running cume. “No Country” rode into Germany with some Oscar momentum, opening at number five on just 138 screens with $1.3 million and a tidy $9,320 per screen average. But Oscar buzz didn’t much help “Michael Clayton” at Teutonic wickets where the George Clooney legal thriller opened at number 7 pulling in $1.1 million from 250 locations. Spring weather in Spain and some hot soccer games on the tube didn’t help perk up the local B.O., which nevertheless saw Sony’s “Vantage Point” hit the bull’s eye. As expected, “Vantage,” which is set in the Spanish town of Salamanca and toplines Spanish thesp Eduardo Noriega, clicked with local auds, scoring $2.2 million from 376 prints and placing first with a $5,980 copy-average. Fox’s romcom “27 Dresses” followed, bagging $1.5 million off 305. Universal’s “The Other Boleyn Girl” placed third taking $1.2 million from 213 prints, setting the second best per copy average with $5,684. “Girl” performed according to most bookers expectations. Meanwhile “No Country ” dipped just 8% in its fourth sesh, cuming $8 million to date. “Juno,” which has been doing boffo biz in Spain, dropped 33% in its fifth frame for a $5.5 million running cume. In Gaul, local product took the four top spots. Helmer/thesp Dany Boon’s megahit laffer “Bienvenue Chex les Ch’tis” had a record-breaking nationwide bow, pulling $32.5 million on 793 in five days for Pathe. Pathe’s smart limited launch the previous week in Northeastern France where the film is set — a big buzz generator — made for a cume of more than $37.5 million. Meanwhile, “Asterix at the Olympic Games” dropped 44% in its fifth frame for a $58.6 million cume, also for Pathe. Down 48% in its second frame, helmer Cederic Klapisch’s “Paris” has cumed $9.9 million on 482 for Mars. French helmer Pierre Morel’s “Taken” had a half-decent bow considering the fierce competish, raking in $2.4 million on 350 after five days for EuropaCorp. Flying the Hollywood flag, Disney’s “National Treasure: The Book of Secrets” was down 44% in frame three, for a $14.4 million running cume. Additional reporting by Archie Thomas (U.K.), Andrew Horn (Germany),Emilio Mayorga (Spain) and David Hayhurst (France).