‘Ice Age 3’ roars into record books overseas

Toon becomes fourth-highest international grosser

The end of summer capped an impressive performance in foreign markets for “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” which managed to finish third during the Sept. 4-6 frame with $10.8 million at 5,000 playdates in 39 markets.

In its 10th weekend of release, the toon has replaced “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” to become the fourth-highest international grosser of all time. And “Dawn” then topped “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” on Sept. 8 for the No. 3 slot, going past $658.9 million to $660.4 million.

“Ice Age 3” won’t approach the two leaders on the foreign grosses list — “Titanic” at $1.24 billion and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at $742 million. But it will probably put some further distance between it and the first Harry Potter film in coming weeks.

The third installment of the “Ice Age” franchise has topped the second — “Ice Age: The Meltdown” by more than $200 million. Two factors were at play:

n The absence of direct competition, with Disney waiting to release “Up” in most key markets to avoid going head to head. “Up” had grossed $172 million overseas as of Sept. 8 with Germany bowing on Sept. 16 and several other key markets such as the U.K. and Japan still not open.

  • The growing popularity of 3-D venues proved a tonic for the dino-toon.

Italy contributed most of the frame’s coin for “Ice Age 3” with $7.3 million at 911 screens, down 31% from its beefy launch, for a $25.3 million cume.

“Ice Age 3” still generated decent grosses during the weekend in its 10th sesh from several major markets — Germany with $933,000 for a $77.9 million cume, France with $551,000 for a  $69 million cume and the U.K. with $261,000 for a $56.6 million total.

But it wasn’t just the biggest territories. The totals from mid-tier markets represented a testament to the worldwide appeal of the “Ice Age” franchise with Mexico at $42 million, Switzerland at $14 million, Holland at $12 million and Belgium at $8.5 million.

And in a sign that summer tentpole season is ending, a pair of non-tentpoles — “Final Destination” and “Inglourious Basterds” — battled for the top slot during the first frame of September. “Destination” scored a narrow victory with $15.5 million in 18 markets for a cume of $32.5 million in its first two weekends.

Germany opened to a first-place finish with $4 million including previews with  68% of box office from 3-D screens. In the U.K. soph sesh, “Destination” grossed $3.2 million at 550 to finish second behind the launch of “District 9” with 84% of “Destination” box office from 3-D sites for a Brit cume of $14.3 million.

The second French frame saw “Destination” take $1.7 million for a $6.1 million cume, surpassing all three previous films in the series.

The strong opening of “Destination” contributed to a 30% boost at the German box office, which also benefited from rainy weather over the weekend.

“Basterds” took in $14.3 million at 2,946 from 35 markets for a solid international total of $83.3 million. In Germany, the Quentin Tarantino pic kept a strong hold on the Teuton audience with $3.2 million at 449, off just 2% in its third weekend for an 18-day total of $14.1 million.

“Basterds” also stayed first in France for third frame in a row with $2.7 million at 234, off 36% for a 19-day total of $16.1 million.

Spanish B.O. was down for the weekend, due to lackluster perfs for summer titles “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” “The Hangover” and “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.”

Tripictures’ opener “He’s Just Not That Into You” topped Spanish weekend charts with $2.2 million on a generous copy spread of 332.

BVI’s “Up” landed at No. 2 with a healthy cume of $32 million after six frames. OnPictures’ “Gamer” bowed on 303 and nabbed a moderate $925577, just enough to place third. “Gamer” will be the last release of Spanish independent distribution house OnPictures. Company has halted new film distribution.

Ed Meza in Berlin, Emilio Mayorga in Madrid and Lauren Seligman in Paris contributed to this report.

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