‘Paranormal’ scares up overseas

Also doing well abroad: 'Arthur,''Twilight' sequels

Oren Peli’s suspense-horror pic “Paranormal Activity” climbed up the international box office chart over the Dec. 4-6 weekend to narrowly beat Robert Zemeckis’ “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” for the No. 3 spot at the international box office, while Summit Entertainment’s “New Moon” and Sony’s disaster pic “2012” stayed at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively.

“Paranormal” grossed an impressive $19.4 million from 2,219 playdates in 24 territories for a foreign cume of $34 million. It topped the box office in both the U.K. and Australia.

“Christmas Carol” grossed $18.3 million from 5,459 playdates in 48 territories for a foreign cume of $128.6 million and worldwide total of $243.8 million.

“New Moon,” meanwhile, grossed $40.7 million in its third sesh for a whopping foreign total of $314.5 million and global haul of $570 million. That’s nearly $200 million more than “Twilight’s” worldwide cume of $384 million.

The foreign performance of Roland Emmerich’s “2012” is arguably even more impressive. The film grossed $37.1 million in its fourth weekend for a foreign cume of $519.3 million. Domestic cume is $149 million, bringing the worldwide figure to $668.2 million.

No one was quite sure how “Paranormal” would play overseas, where distribution rights were handled by Stuart Ford’s IM Global. Horror often doesn’t translate. Produced for a mere $11,000, the pic was a runaway blockbuster at the domestic B.O., grossing $107.4 million for Paramount.

But overseas auds wanted in on the scares, too. For the Dec. 4-6 weekend, “Paranormal” launched No. 1 in Australia, besting titans “New Moon” and “2012” while grossing $2.6 million for a strong per-location average of $9,495.

And the horror pic remained No. 1 at the U.K. box office for the second-straight week, grossing $3 million for distrib Icon to put its cume cume at $11.7 million. Icon also is distribbing in the U.K.

The pic launched No. 2 in France via Wild Bunch, grossing $5.4 million. “Paranormal” has yet to open in a handful of major territories, including Japan, Italy and South Korea.

Coming in No. 5 at the international B.O. was Luc Besson’s French toon “Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard.” Film is a sequel to “Arthur and the Invisibles.” “Maltazard” grossed a boffo $14.1 million in its debut in 15 territories, led by $11.3 million at the French box office, where it is being distribbed by Europa.

In Germany, Warners’ “Zweiohrkueken,” Til Schwei­ger’s follow-up to his massive 2007 hit romantic comedy “Keinohrhasen” (Rabbit Without Ears), opened to a boffo $9.6 million from 714. Pic also opened in Austria and Switzerland for a total opening haul of $10.6 million, enough to place No. 6 at the international B.O.

“Spanish Movie” spoofs recent local box office hits like “The Orphanage” and “Broken Embraces.” Bookers had questioned whether the send-up would work.

“There were some doubts, but the slapstick tone and Fox’s excellent marketing campaign have conjured up some very nice figures,” says one exhib.

Another Spanish production, “Planet 51,” placed No. 7 overall for the sesh at the international B.O., grossing $8.1 million from 20 territories.

In Japan, “Up” scored the second-best opening for a Disney/Pixar toon after “Finding Nemo,” which finished with $124 million in 2003.

Disney’s John Travolta/Robin Williams comedy “Old Dogs” placed No. 9, grossing $4.7 million from eight territories.

Emilio Mayorga in Barcelona, Ed Meza in Berlin, Mark Schilling in Tokyo and Nick Vivarelli in Rome contributed to this report.

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