Low-budget horror pic tops U.K., Australia box offices

Oren Peli’s suspense-horror pic “Paranormal Activity” is scaring up plenty of interest in the U.K. and Australia, coming in No. 1 in both territories last weekend.

For the frame, the film grossed $19.4 million from 2,219 playdates in 24 territories for a foreign cume of $34 million.

That was enough for “Paranormal” to narrowly edge out “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” ($18.3 million) for the No. 3 spot on the international B.O. chart after “New Moon” ($40.7 million) and Sony’s “2012″ ($37.1 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.

“Paranormal,” produced for a mere $15,000, was a runaway blockbuster at the domestic B.O., grossing $107.4 million for Paramount.

Last weekend, “Paranormal” launched No. 1 in Australia, besting titans “New Moon” and “2012″ in grossing $2.5 million for a strong per-location average of $9,418.

Pic stayed No. 1 in the U.K. for a second straight week, grossing $2.1 million for distrib Icon and putting cume at $11.8 million. Icon also is distributing in the U.K. Pic launched No. 2 in France via Wild Bunch, grossing $5.3 million.

“Icon and Wild Bunch have done every bit as enthusiastic and skillful a job as Paramount did in the U.S. We are delighted the film is achieving the results their passion deserves,” Stuart said.”Paranormal” has yet to open in a handful of major territories, including Japan, Italy and South Korea. Pic hasn’t set the world on fire everywhere and has done softish biz in a number of smaller territories.

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