Film took in $45.9 million over weekend

The Easter holiday weekend was a telling example of why the international B.O. has come to mean so much to the bottom line for films, and not just summer blockbusters.

Universal’s “Fast and Furious” may have fallen to No. 2 at the domestic B.O. in its second sesh, but it raced to the top of the international B.O. chart, grossing $45.9 million from 5,075 runs in 54 markets to unseat “Monsters vs. Aliens,” which had come in No. 1 the weekend before. The fourth “Fast” pic earned $27.2 million for the weekend domestically.

Through Sunday, the pic’s worldwide tally was $207.5 million, an unusually hearty number for this time of year, and for a film so early in its run.

Pic has earned $116.5 million domestically and $91 million overseas. Ultimately, the foreign gross should clock in ahead of the domestic total.

“Fast and Furious” opened in 18 additional international markets over Easter weekend and placed No. 1 in each. Russia led with $8.6 million from 545 playdates, the ninth biggest opening of all time there. That was followed by France, where the film earned $8.4 million from 488 locations. In the U.K, it grossed $7.5 million from 362 runs.

Film scored the biggest opening of all time — $1.1 million from 25 playdates — in the United Arab Emirates.

It also showed good staying power in holdover markets. Germany, where the franchise has always performed well, turned in $3 million at 614 for an 11-day cume of $10.7 million. It also held at No. 1 in Mexico ($2.3 million from 458). In addition, it came in No. 1 in Brazil ($1.6 million at 193) and moved up to No. 2 in Argentina ($455,000 from 47).

International studio execs say the reason “Fast and Furious” has worked so well is that it is the first pure action film to come along in some time. Action pics are consistently strong performers overseas.

Also contributing to the movie’s appeal was the reteaming of Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster for the first time since the original, “The Fast and the Furious.”

Pic has already grossed nearly as much internationally as “2 Fast 2 Furious” and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” did in their entire runs, at $109.2 million and $96 million, respectively.

U believes the film has a strong shot at reaching $400 million worldwide. That will require a continued winning run at the foreign B.O. Pic has only two weekends left before it could begin losing moviegoers to 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” which opens day-and-date on May 1.

The other title underscoring the increasing importance of international B.O. is Fox’s “Dragonball Evolution.”

“Dragonball” opened at the domestic box office over Easter weekend to $4.8 million. That was only good enough to place No. 8.

But the film’s foreign run is helping to make up for its lackluster domestic performance.

“Dragonball,” which opened five weeks ago overseas, grossed $10.3 million over Easter weekend for a foreign cume of $36.9 million and worldwide tally of $41.7 million. Much of the foreign coin has come from Asian markets.

“Dragonball” landed at No. 4 on the international B.O. chart for the weekend.

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