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3-D runs help ‘Ice Age 3’ rule world

Fox sequel grosses $332.6 million in 10 days

Twentieth Century Fox’s “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” has quickly hatched into one of the most powerful players of the year at the foreign box office, grossing a boffo $332.6 million in its first 10 days.

For the July 10-12 weekend — its second sesh — the 3-D toon grossed $101.9 million from 12,057 runs in 101 markets to stay No. 1 internationally.

Overseas auds are proving every bit as willing as moviegoers in the U.S. to pay a premium for 3-D films. Of the 11,652 screens that “Dawn of the Dinosaurs” opened on, only 2,126 were 3-D screens, or 18%. Yet the 3-D playdates generated $51 million in ticket sales, or 34% of the total opening gross.

The dazzling overall results underscore the revenue potential of 3-D titles, as well as the value of a family franchises like Ice Age, of which “Dawn of the Dinosaurs” is the third installment.

“Dawn of the Dinosaurs” should ultimately gross more than any summer tentpole besides “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” It’s already passing Sony’s “Angels and Demons” ($334 million to date) and should soon overtake Paramount’s “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” ($365.1 million to date).

Theater owners also say the return on the investment they made to install 3-D screens has been quicker than expected.

Moviegoers in France remained delighted with the animated dinos. The pic’s French cume through July 12th was a hefty $34.6 million.

“Dawn of the Dinosaurs” also continued to dominate the box office in Germany, dropping a mere 7% in its sophomore frame to $14.9 million, as rainy weather and summer holidays helped boost the overall cume to $37.8 million, the highest of any territory.

In Spain, “Dawn of the Dinosaurs” stayed at No. 1 in its second frame. Better yet, grosses from 3-D screens dropped just 36%, while grosses from 2-D screens slid 45%. Exhibs say this provides more evidence 3-D pics not only gross more, but give the film longer plays. Total cume in Spain is $17.2 million. Central and South America are likewise dino strongholds”Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” placed No. 2 for the frame, grossing $32.7 million from 8,210 locations in 60 markets in its fourth week. The pic has already caught up with the first “Transformers,” which grossed $369.3 million at the international B.O.

The most buzzed-about title in the U.K. and Europe was Sacha Baron Cohen’s mockumentary “Bruno,” from Universal. The film is the Brit comedian’s follow-up to “Borat,” which did runaway biz at the foreign box office, including a gross of $46.1 million in the U.K.

“Bruno” did solid, but not spectacular, business in its first sesh internationally, grossing $19.8 million from 1,459 locations for Universal. The pic grossed another $5 million in territories where Mandate and Sony are distributing.

In the U.K., “Bruno” opened to $14.1 million. Throughout opening weekend, exhibs reported they had to turn away teenagers as a result of the film getting an “18” rating by the British Board of Film Classification. On the Monday following the film’s debut, Universal Pictures Intl. announced it was resubmitting the film in order to get a “15” rating, meaning anyone 15 and older can buy a ticket. U said it was willing to cut the three scenes that had earned the more restrictive rating. Both versions of “Bruno” will play simultaneously once the watered-down version is released on July 24.

After the U.K., Australia and Germany were the top grossing territories for “Borat,” at $14.6 million and $13.5 million, respectively. “Bruno” opened with $2.9 million from 470 in Germany, equaling the first weekend take of his “Borat.” In Spain, the pic bowed on a generous 307 and nabbed $882,445, placing third for the frame. “Borat” grossed $3 million in its November 2006 bow.

The weekend was the last one before the onslaught of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” Warner Bros. opened the sixth installment in the blockbuster franchise day and date around the globe July 15. Early results showed the film scoring the best midnight gross of all time — $22.2 million — at the domestic B.O. alone. Many box observers expect “Half-Blood Prince” to be the biggest international performer of the summer.

David Hayhurst in Paris, 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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