3D films dominate at the foreign box office

Typical of American comedies overseas, 20th Century Fox’s “Date Night” failed to get many laughs during the April 9-11 weekend at the international box office.

The laffer, starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey, debuted with a muted $7 million on 1,616 screens in 34 territories, trailing a group of 3D holdovers led by Warner Bros.’ epic “Clash of the Titans.”

Fox banked on its “Date Night” stars’ TV popularity in the U.S., both of whom topline hit NBC comedy shows, but neither have developed much of a following on the international front. Fey stars in “30 Rock,” while Carell fronts the U.S. version of British skein, “The Office.”

The thesps play a married couple whose night takes a turn for the worse after a case of mistaken identity. The pic showcases the comic timing made popular by their Stateside skeins — the kind of nation-specific humor that doesn’t translate as effectively overseas.

Still, the comedy played well in several key territories, principally Australia and Brazil. In Oz, the film grossed $1.9 million on 304 screens, the top opener in that market. The film claimed the No. 2 spot in Brazil, where it earned $1.1 million on 175.

“Date Night” has yet to open in Europe or key Asian markets, while Germany and Russia will bow the pic this week. Without the help of increased 3D ticket prices, coupled with a lackluster response to American comedies, it’s uncertain how the laffer will play out in subsequent weeks.

Leading the barrage of 3D dominance, “Clash of the Titans” earned an impressive $54 million in 34 territories on more than 7,000 screens, bringing its cume to $118.7 million through the weekend.

The epic’s 3D component repped 64% of its total revenue, and despite increasing criticism over the film’s 3D quality, top territories took in the majority of its totals on 3D runs.

“Clash” nabbed is best B.O. in Russia, where the pic debuted with $11.8 million on 919 screens, of which 398 were 3D-equipped, repping 72% of the territory’s overall gross. France followed with $7.4 million in its opening weekend on 615 screens. The 3D count totaled 175 in that market and half of the total admissions.

Germany debuted with the highest 3D share, accounting for 85% of the $6.3 million take.

“Clash” saw top results in holdover markets, led by South Korea and the U.K. Claiming the top spot in both territories, “Clash” earned $3.8 million and $3.7 million, respectively. Overall earnings in Blighty reached $19 million, while in South Korea, the film cumed $12 million.

Paramount and DreamWorks Animation’s toon “How to Train Your Dragon” followed among overseas 3D offerings. Entering its third frame, the film about a young Viking who befriends a dragon, earned $26.3 million on 7,202 screens in 53 territories. Toon’s cume soared to $150.9 million.

“Dragon” earned nearly all of its weekend take from holdover markets. Poland, with $790,000 on 95, was the only new territory.

Australia saw a fire-breathing 42% uptick in its third frame, claiming the market’s top spot with $3.2 million on 358 screens. The territory’s 3D share was 68%, helping boost overall totals to $12.4 million.

German auds also showed up for the 3D toon, which grossed $2 million on 807 for a cume of $10.5 million. The U.K. collected $2.2 million on 704, totaling $15 million.

Following “Dragon” in the 3D lineup was Disney’s holdover fantasy “Alice in Wonderland,” which took in $19 million on 7,152 screens, cuming $464.2 million overseas. France repped the top market for “Alice” in its third frame, earning $4.3 million on 737 screens.

Disney’s Xavier Albert credited “Alice” as the “best Tim Burton film,” surpassing “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” “This is also our No. 1 movie so far in 2010,” he said of the pic, which has cumed $33.3 million in the territory.

“Alice” should gain more steam this weekend, adding Spain and Japan; the latter market is particularly promising, with many 3D venues.

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

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