Local animated pics top Japanese B.O.

Family-themed films enchanted overseas auds over the March 19-21 weekend, led by Disney’s 3D powerhouse “Alice in Wonderland,” with with profitable local fare added to the overseas mix.

In just its third frame at the international B.O., “Alice” amassed top coin, earning a weekend take of $48.4 million on 6,687 screens in 49 territories for a staggering haul of $300.4 million.

Combined with a domestic $265.4 million as of Sunday, the film’s worldwide total stands at $565.8 million, ranking as director Tim Burton’s all-time highest-grossing film. Previous record holder was Warner Bros.’ “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which grossed worldwide $475 million in 2005.

The film’s worldwide performance is unusual for the late winter/spring period, since typically, only summer tentpoles or holiday releases see box office revenue on par with “Alice.”

With the day-and-date launch of Paramount and DreamWorks Animation’s 3D toon “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Alice” could lose auds in several key overseas territories. “Dragon” bowed early in three markets, including Russia, where it grossed $7.5 million on 600 screens. “Alice” dropped 72% in that territory, with $2.7 million on 576.

Still, “Dragon” reps 50% less than the “Alice” opening in Russia. Early bow was a result of spring holidays in those territories; Par will hope to continue benefiting from holidays as it launches day-and-date on Friday.

“Dragon’s” total weekend take was $7.9 million on 771 screens, with more than 60% of them 3D-equipped. Pic launches in some 30 territories, among them Germany, Italy, Spain and Australia, which should provide stiff competish for “Alice.”

Top territory for “Alice” was the U.K. in its third frame, down 34% for a weekend take of $7.3 million on 753 screens. Overall gross in that territory stands at $47.2 million as of March 24.

In Germany, the film took in $4.8 million on 509 screens, slipping 38% in its third frame. With a cume of $47.2 million, “Alice” stands as Burton’s most profitable film in that market, and tracking 15% a head of the studio’s 2005 “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” over a comparable release frame.

“Alice” now ranks as Disney’s highest-grossing film ever in 24 overseas markets, including Italy, Mexico, Russia and Poland.

The film launched in France and China on March 26, the latter repping a significant gain for “Alice” as a 3D mainstay. China boasts approximately 1,100 3D-equipped screens — second only to the U.S. — with “Alice” occupying a majority of those screens.

Japan, another significant 3D territory, will launch “Alice” on April 17.

Meanwhile, two local toons drew sizeable performances in Japan: “Doraemon: Nobita’s South Sea Adventure” and “Pretty Cure All Stars DX2.”

“Doraemon,” the 30th installment in the feature toon series, tells the story of a blue robot cat and its boy companion. Toon took in $3.1 million on 366 screens, enough to top its third consecutive frame. Overall totals reached $16.7 million on 1.4 million admissions.

Japanese auds also turned out for the launch of the latest in the anime toon series, “Pretty Cure,” earning $3.5 million. Territory celebrated a national holiday on March 22, which could have accounted for the kidpic popularity.

Enchanting older auds, local French romcom “Heartbreaker” debuted in the top spot in that territory. Pic, a co-production between Universal and Quad, earned $4.6 million on 379 screens, ranking as this year’s highest-opening French film in that territory. “Heartbreaker,” which is set to showcase at the Tribeca Film Fest and Colcoa in Los Angeles, also ranks as the market’s fourth-highest opening of the year.

“Heartbreaker,” about a brother and sister who run a business designed to break up relationships, marks the second French-language co-production from Focus Features Intl. U has already nabbed remake rights for the film.

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