'Quantum' nabs $56.1 million at foreign B.O.

James Bond remained ruler of the foreign box office, as “Quantum of Solace” again dominated the weekend, gunning down $56.1 million at 10,460 playdates in 67 markets.

Underlining the international appetite for Bond, “Quantum of Solace” has cumed a dazzling $251.6 million overseas, with Australia, Japan and Spain still to open. Mark Zucker, president of Sony’s international distribution arm, pointed to impressive holdover numbers and predicted “Solace” will pass the $430 million foreign total for “Casino Royale” to become the top Bondpic internationally.

Rivals held off on challenging “Solace,” which more than doubled the combined grosses of the next four pics — “High School Musical 3,” “Madagascar 2,” “Saw V” and “Changeling.” Clint Eastwood’s “Changeling” launched respectably in its first foreign openings with $4.7 at 727 in four markets, led by a $2.7 million French debut that came in just behind the third frame of “Solace.”

Sony-MGM’s “Solace” declined 47% from the previous frame, when it posted the 11th highest international weekend, with $107 million. It led in all but six territories, with nearly all of its coin from holdover markets, and already has topped the final totals for “Casino Royale” in 13 markets.

The U.K. led the “Solace” parade, with $8.6 million — just a 41% decline in its third weekend– for a $64.1 million cume, followed by Germany with a 37% decrease to $8.3 million in its second weekend and China, off 41% to $4 million in its second frame. Russia slid 62% in its soph sesh to $3.6 million, and the third French frame declined 52% to $3 million for a $26.7 million cume.

“Solace” showed impressive traction in Switzerland, off only 20% to $2.4 million in its second weekend after setting a record opening. Several other markets showed similar second-frame holding power, with South Korea off 39% to $2.1 million, Holland down 30% to $1.6 million and Brazil declining 36% to $1.4 million.

The Bondpic also scored solidly in its Mexican launch with $2.4 million, 80% higher than “Casino Royale.” It launches next weekend in Australia — where it held its 10th foreign premiere Saturday in Sydney — along with South Africa and Spain.

“Solace” has become the ninth 2008 title to reach the $250 million mark in international box office, which remains on a pace to equal last year’s $9.5 billion total for the six Hollywood studios. That list is led by “Indiana Jones 4″ at $469 million, “The Dark Knight,” “Mamma Mia!,” “Kung Fu Panda,” “Hancock,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” “Wall-E” and “Iron Man.”

Disney’s “High School Musical 3″ led the rest of this weekend’s pack with $7.7 million at 4,004 in 32 markets to move its international total to $122.2 million. Brit audiences have shown solid support for “HSM,” with $34.1 million in four frames.

“Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” remained a solid draw for families, with $5.4 million at 992 in seven markets to lift its foreign cume to $47.5 million — 80% from Russia — as Par opted for a gradual release strategy. The toon moves into Western Europe next weekend.

With Spain one of the few non-“Solace” markets, the launch of “Saw V” scared up first place with $2.9 million and exceeded the combined grosses of the next four entries. “Saw V” has hit $31 million in 34 markets outside the United States; the franchise has been a reliable performer with more than $300 million in foreign grosses.

Fox saw modest numbers against “Solace,” with “Max Payne” grossing $1.6 million each in France and the U.K. “Max” has cumed $30.4 million from 39 foreign markets, $9 million short of its domestic total.

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