Musical grabs a cut of the foreign box office

“Sweeney Todd” sliced its way to the top during the weekend at the international box office with an impressive $18.7 million at 1,760 playdates in 11 markets, ending the five-week winning streak for “I Am Legend.”

With Johnny Depp having landed an Oscar nom for the pic last week, Warner Bros. saw “Sweeney” dominate via first-place launches in the U.K. with $8.7 million and in France with $4.4 million. Brits backed “Sweeney” solidly, with nearly 50% of the biz among the top five pics; in France, it topped the soph sesh of local entry “Enfin Veuve” and the launch of “No Country for Old Men”; and in Japan, it stayed in first with a 36% drop to $2.3 million.

“Sweeney,” with a beefy $10,624 per-location average, enjoyed the twin benefits of Depp’s international star power plus last week’s Academy Awards noms. With $30 million already banked offshore, the musical should wind up with an overseas take well in excess of the Stateside total, which is now at $50 million.

Par’s “No Country for Old Men,” with eight nods, also saw an Oscar bump with a solid $4.8 million at 671, half from its French debut.

Universal’s “Atonement,” midway through its foreign run with a respectable $55.5 million cume, posted strong holds in the wake of its seven noms with $3.5 million at 1,075.

U’s “American Gangster” — which scored Oscar noms for supporting actress and art direction — continued to shoot up solid overseas biz with $7.5 million at 1,579 in 43 markets, led by its second Italian frame of $3.1 million in a decline of only 29%. The Denzel Washington-Russell Crowe starrer has hit $104.3 million overseas and, with launches next weekend in Japan and Mexico, could see its foreign total match the $130 million domestic take by the end of the pic’s run.

U’s “Charlie Wilson’s War,” with Philip Seymour Hoffman nommed in the supporting actor category, grabbed $3.7 million at 1,100, led by a $700,000 Oz launch to lift its early international total to $15.4 million.

Fox’s “Juno,” with four Oscar nods, showed excellent traction with $1.5 million at only 208, mostly in its second Australian frame.

Of the non-awards fare, “I Am Legend” remained the most powerful player with $15.8 million at 5,400 in 57 markets, led by its second Mexican frame with $2.3 million and topping the launch of Spanish hit “The Orphanage.” “Legend” has hit $290 million overseas, nearly $40 million above the domestic cume.

Disney’s “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” continued to find foreign coin with $13 million at 3,939 in 38 markets, lifting its international cume to $159.5 million. Sequel scored best in its German launch with $5.6 million and its Brazilian opening with $1.1 million.

“Book of Secrets” has met Mouse House forecasts and will easily top the final foreign cume of $173 million for the original “National Treasure” in another week. It’s on track to match the domestic take, currently at $205 million.

Par’s “Cloverfield” scared up solid biz in its first moves into major foreign markets with $9.2 million at 1,345 in a dozen markets, mostly from a $3.5 million Russian launch and a $2.4 million South Korean opening. It also won in its launches in Taiwan and Portugal.

Initial international “Cloverfield” results topped “The Ring,” which went on to take in $120 million overseas. With little current competition in the horror arena and respectable returns so far, “Cloverfield” may lead next weekend when it opens in Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain and the U.K.

Another scare-fare entry, “Alien vs. Predator — Requiem” also stayed in tune with horror fans with $6.1 million at 3,500 for a foreign cume of $79.3 million for Fox — nearly double the domestic total.

Family faves continued to show decent traction in overseas markets with “Alvin and the Chipmunks” stowing away $6.5 million at 3,000, led by its sixth frame in the U.K. with $1.4 million. “Alvin” has warbled its way to an impressive $105.6 million internationally; with the spectacular domestic results, the worldwide total has topped $310 million.

Disney’s family fave “Enchanted” continued to work its charms overseas with $4.1 million at 3,750 in 34 markets to push the international total to $167.2 million — $42 million above the domestic tally.

Par’s “Bee Movie” added $3.1 million at 2,627 for a foreign cume of $152 million.

Warner saw moderate biz from its foreign launch of “The Bucket List” with $4.5 million at more than 1,000, led by a $1.6 million German launch. Fox’s third Australian frame of “27 Dresses” edged out the second frame of “Juno” with $1.3 million for a fashionable $9.6 million cume.

Sony’s “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story” stayed quiet on the foreign front with a 12th-place launch in Australia with $325,000 at 150.

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