Cruise's WWII thriller grosses $18.59 million

Tom Cruise Nazi thriller “Valkyrie” hit its target at the international box office for the weekend of Jan. 30-Feb. 1, landing at No. 1 for the second weekend in a row and grossing an estimated $18.59 million from 3,900 playdates for a foreign cume of $38.9 million.

“Valkyrie’s” strong run overseas is an important victory for both Cruise and United Artists/MGM. Pic also has done well in North America, with its worldwide total now at $121.1 million.

The other impressive winner of the weekend was Warner Bros. Intl.’s Oscar best pic nominee “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which grossed $12.1 million from 2,335 screens in 25 markets for a foreign cume of $38.3 million. That’s a handy sum considering pic is still early in its run.

Paramount’s Kate Winslet-Leonardo DiCaprio drama “Revolutionary Road,” another awards contender, did a tidy $10.9 million as it expanded successfully. Foreign total is $26 million.

“Button’s” fellow best picture contender “Slumdog Millionaire” grossed $7 million, mostly from the U.K. ($3 million) and India ($4 million). Film’s foreign total through Feb. 1 was $39.6 million. Pic placed No. 7 overall.

Hollywood holdover titles “Yes Man,” “Seven Pounds” and “Twilight” placed No. 4 through No. 6, respectively. “Yes Man,” toplining Jim Carrey, grossed an estimated $9.3 million from 3,525 playdates in 57 markets for a cume of $97.4 million abroad.

Sony’s Will Smith drama “Seven Pounds” grossed $8 million from 2,913 runs for a foreign cume of $71.7 million. “Twilight” grossed $7.2 million from 2,657 runs, pushing its foreign cume to $161.6 million.

In the U.K., “Slumdog Millionaire” stayed top dog for the third weekend running. Danny Boyle’s Oscar hopeful slipped only 16% to $3.4 million from 416 screens via Pathe. “Slumdog’s” running cume in Blighty is $20.3 million, and it shows little sign of slowing up. Awards season buzz and word-of-mouth has made it the most talked about pic since its debut a month ago.

Top opener in the U.K., was “Revolutionary Road,” which placed third with $1.5 million at 252 via Paramount. Its bow dwarfed other openers.

“Benjamin Button” landed at the top of the charts in Germany, where the multi-Oscar contender took in $4.9 million from 605 via Warner Bros. Boosted by rave reviews and the star power of Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, pic easily knocked “Valkyrie” off the number one spot.

“Valkyrie” fell nearly 41% in its second frame, garnering $2.2 million for third place and a $6.7 million cume.

In Spain, auds disregarded tepid reviews for “Valkyrie,” which pulled $2.8 million from 400 at a $7,242 playdate average. Free broadcaster Antena 3 had aired Jo Baier’s TV movie “Operation Valkyrie” on Jan. 27, securing a 11.5% share and 214,6000 viewers. Bookers feared this would put off, rather than encourage auds, to go see the Cruise pic

Standout homegrown performer in Europe for the frame was lowbrow laffer “Italians,” a satire involving Ferrari thieves and Russian prostitutes.

“Italians,” toplining local stars Carolo Verdone and Sergio Castellitto, grossed a boffo $3.6 million in its sophomore frame off 609 via Filmauro, proving that local celebs can prevail. Film’s cume is $11.5 million.

Second-placed “Valkyrie” launched at $2.1 million from 394 via local distrib 01 Distribution.

In France, “Twilight” stayed top of the heap in its fourth frame. Down just 17%, the vampire romancer cumed $15.8 million on 457 for a delighted SND.

Both crix and auds gave “Valkyrie” a warm welcome as it netted $2.2 million on 450 in its first five days. “At the moment it looks set to meet our expectations of around 900,000 admissions,” says TFM marketing topper Henri Ernst.

“Revolutionary Road” is showing good legs for Paramount France, declining 28% in its second frame for a cume of $5.1 million. Also showing legs is local laffer “De l’autre cote du lit” (Changing Sides). Down 20% in its fourth frame, the Mars release has cumed $11.6 million — the second-best performer of the year so far in Gaul.

David Hayhurst in Paris, Emilio Mayorga in Madrid, Dave McNary in Hollywood, Ed Meza in Berlin and Nick Vivarelli in Rome contributed to this report.

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