Chinese business helps film hit number

Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” jumped the $300 million mark at the worldwide box office over the March 27-29 frame, taking in $11.2 million for the weekend.

Just a few indie films have reached those heights: Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” earned a whopping $611.9 million worldwide, while “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” earned $368.7million.

“Slumdog’s” foreign cume is $165 million; domestic, $139 million. Worldwide total is $305 million.

The $11.2 million weekend haul also was good enough to return “Slumdog” to the No. 1 spot on the international B.O. chart. The film grossed $2.2 million in its Chinese launch, a strong number for this time of year.

“Slumdog” also did good business in its sophomore sesh in Germany, grossing $2.5 million for a cume of $5.6 million via Prokino.

Before “Slumdog” numbers rolled in, it appeared Nicolas Cage actioner “Knowing” had won the weekend abroad.

“Knowing,” from Summit Entertainment, grossed roughly $9.8 million from 1,711 runs as it launched in nine markets for a foreign cume of $14.5 million and a worldwide cume of $61 million in the pic’s first 10 days in release.

It landed atop the box office in the U.K., where it opened to $3.6 million from 390 runs. That makes it one of the best showings ever for a Cage pic and ties the opening weekend of “National Treasure 2.”

“Knowing” fared well in helmer Alex Proyas’ native Australia, where it opened to $1.4 million from 192 locations.

Generally speaking, it was a modest sesh at the international box office, but “Slumdog” and “Knowing” were among a handful of consistent performers.

Warner Bros.’ “Gran Torino” placed No. 3 for the weekend, grossing $8.9 million from 2,800 screens in 45 markets for an eye-popping foreign cume of $73.3 million.

In Italy, “Torino” scored a rare coup, scaling the numero uno berth in its third frame, up from No. 2. “Torino” slid a mere 13% in its third weekend for a $1.7 million haul off 323 for a roaring $7.5 million Italo cume.

“Torino” was down only 17% in its third frame in Gaul, bringing its cume there to $20.5 million.

Twentieth Century Fox’s “Marley and Me,” like “Torino,” continued to fetch good business. The pic grossed $8.2 million from 3,064 runs in 41 markets, led by a $2.5 million third weekend in the U.K. and a $1.9 million Japanese launch. The pic’s foreign cume is $72.7 million.

American comedies don’t always play well overseas, but “Marley,” and Sony’s “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” to a lesser extent, are bucking that trend .

“Mall Cop” grossed $7.9 million from 1,572 locations in 14 markets for a cume of $14.3 million early in its run. The Kevin James laffer all but conquered Germany, where James enjoys huge popularity thanks to his TV show “The King of Queens.” The comedy opened to an impressive $4.2 million from 299.

Universal’s Julia Roberts-Clive Owen starrer “Duplicity” stayed moderate, grossing $6.9 million from 1,809 runs in 19 markets, led by a $2.5 millionFrench launch.

DreamWorks Animation and Paramount’s 3-D toon “Monsters vs. Aliens” grossed $4.6 million as it expanded into eight markets following its opening in Russia and Ukraine the weekend before. Foreign cume through March 29 was $14.4 million in the pic’s first 10 days in release. Like other family pics, “Monsters” is rolling out slowly overseas.

Paramount’s “Watchmen” continued to fade fast at the international B.O., grossing $4.6 million from 3,737 runs in 60 markets, led by a moderate $1.2 millionJapanese opening. The pic has cumed $68 million overseas.

Among local language titles, French laffer “Coco” continues to do boffo business in Gaul, cuming $18.6 million from 871 in its first 12 days in release.

Fantasy actioner “Yatterman” topped the Japanese box office for the fourth weekend in a row, bringing its cume to $22 million, the fourth-highest-grossing pic of the year in Japan.

In Italy’s arthouse arena, James Gray’s “Two Lovers” bowed decently, pulling $354,000 off 108 via local distrib BIM Distribuzione.

Elsewhere at the foreign box office for the weekend, Warner Bros. announced that “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” had crossed the $200 million milestone in foreign grosses.

David Hayhurst in Paris, Emilio Mayorga in Madrid, Ed Meza in Berlin, Mark Schilling in Tokyo and Nick Vivarelli in Rome contributed to this report.

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