‘Avatar’ poised to break records overseas

'Sherlock Holmes' spies No. 2 spot at international B.O.

Twentieth Century Fox and James Cameron’s Avatar” continued unabated at the foreign B.O. over the Jan. 8-10 weekend, up more than 10% to $151 million on the strength of a $40 million launch in China.

“Avatar’s” foreign cume ended the frame at $915.1 million, making it all but certain that it will match the $1.2 billion earned by Cameron’s “Titanic,” the highest foreign grosser of all time. Pic’s screen count in a total 111 territories was 15,301.

Domestic total through Jan. 10 was $480.8 million for a worldwide haul of $1.4 billion, the second best of all time after “Titanic’s” global cume of $1.8 billion.

Fox was wowed by the pic’s debut in China, where it scored a record gross in its first seven days, including a record Sunday of $8.3 million.

Pic continued its torrid run in holdover markets, including France, where it grossed $12.6 million for a cume of $101.4 million. That made France the first territory to jump $100 million.

That was followed by $11.1 million in Russia, where “Avatar” has cumed $78.4 million, an industry record. It’s also set records in Spain and Australia, where it has cumed $60.1 million and $57.9 million, respectively, the top gross of all time for any film.

“Avatar” slid only 32% in its fourth frame in Spain.

With this sort of narrow fall in percentage, ‘Avatar’ will still show good stamina over the coming frames,” one Spanish exhib said.

“Avatar” stayed top at the Japanese B.O. with hardly any drop off for a cume of $54.2 million. Exhibs in Japan say it is destined to cross the $100 million mark, a feat most recently accomplished in 1997 by “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” which reached $118 million.

Cameron’s 3D sci-fi fantasy has been a boon for Imax theaters, both domestically and overseas. For the weekend, Imax bested its own highest gross with $4.5 million from 82 screens, as well as highest grossing single day with $1.6 million (Saturday). Imax foreign cume is $29.3 million, or 3.2% of the total gross.

Coming in No. 2 at the international B.O. after “Avatar” was Warner Bros.’ Robert Downey Jr. starrer Sherlock Holmes,” from Brit director Guy Ritchie. Film has proved an impressive player globally.

“Sherlock,” also toplining Jude Law and Rachel McAdams, grossed an estimated $26.9 million from 5,380 playdates in 45 markets for a foreign cume of $131.1 million in its third frame. Domestic total was $165.2 million for a global total of nearly $300 million, or $296.3 million.

U.K leads with a cume of $25.1 million, followed by Italy with $24.3 million, Australia with $15.8 million, Russia with $14.2 million, South Korea with $10.6 million and Mexico with $6.9 million.

Fox’s other Christmas entry Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” placed No. 3, grossing an estimated $21.8 million from 6,248 screens in 56 territories for a foreign total of $136.2 million. Domestic cume was $178.5 million for a global total of $314.7 million.

“Squeakquel” grossed an impressive $5.4 million from 394 in its launch in Brazil.

Among holdover markets, the U.K. leads with a total of $24.5 million, followed by Australia at $14.8 million and Spain at $11.1 million and Germany at $10.7 million

Placing No. 4 for the frame was Sony’s comedy Did You Hear About the Morgans?” The Sarah Jessica Parker-Hugh Grant topliner grossed $8.2 million from 1,889 screens for a cume of $15.5 million from 18 territories for a foreign cume of $15.5 million. Universal’s comedy It’s Complicated” came in No. 5, grossing $7.7 million from 1,758 playdates in 17 markets for a foreign cume of $23.8 million in its third weekend. Domestic total through Jan. 10 was $76.4 million for a worldwide total of $200.2 million. Opening in a handful of markets, “It’s Complicated” launched a strong No. 2 behind “Avatar” in Australia at $3.1 million from 239 theaters, and No. 5 in the U.K. at $1.8 million from 434 screens.

Weekend was led by Russia at $1.3 million from 310 for a cume of $4.2 million. The Australian B.O. ponied up $1 million from 220 for a total of $3.4 million in the pic’s first 10 days in release.

Russian film “Black Lightening” came in No. 8 internationally, grossing an estimated $4.7 million from 815 for a foreign total of $18.3 million in its second frame. The fantasy-hero pic is a co-production of Timur Bekmambetov’s company Bazelevs and Universal.

Film is doing boffo biz in Russia, grossing $6.5 million in its second frame for a cume of $17.4 million. It’s also playing in a number of neighboring countries, as well as Israel.

Emilio Mayorga in Barcelona, Ed Meza in Berlin, Mark Schilling in Tokyo, Lauren Seligman and Nick Vivarelli in Rome contributed to this report.

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