3D toon to face stiff competition next week

Universal’s 3D toon “Despicable Me” posted another strong weekend at the international box office for the Oct. 15-17 sesh, this time topping the charts with a stellar $27 million at 4,751 locations in 40 territories.

Last weekend, Sony’s “Eat Pray Love” narrowly beat “Despicable,” but without expansion in major markets, the Julia Roberts’ starrer fell behind this weekend, with a take of $13.3 million. To date, “Eat Pray Love” has cumed $86.7 million internationally, while the overseas total for “Despicable Me” reached an impressive $170.3 million.

Both pics may have a tough time staying on top, however, as Paramount readies for an expansive day-and-date rollout of “Paranormal Activity 2″ this weekend in France, the U.K., Spain, Italy, Australia, Russia, Mexico and Brazil.

“Despicable Me,” which continues to roll out in only a few smaller territories that weekend, hopes to benefit from a counterprogramming bid in holdover territories where “Paranormal” is set to launch, including the U.K. and Italy. In Blighty, the toon launched Oct. 15, earning a chart-topping $6.2 million at 522 locations, while the Italo B.O. contributed a second place $4.3 million take on 490.

U had held “Despicable Me” from most major European markets to coincide with school holidays, and attributes strong word of mouth as a driving factor in holdover markets. “Despicable” slid just 35% in Spain, with $2.3 million, enough to maintain the top spot in its second animated sesh for a local cume of $8.2 million.

The 3D toon conquered the German B.O. for the third-straight week, with a hearty 3% uptick and a weekend gross of $3.8 million. The pic’s totals there rose to $16.2 million.

In France, the pic has tallied $10.8 million in two weeks, landing in the No. 2 spot with $4.4 million over the weekend, just 20% behind French helmer Luc Besson’s first place toon “Arthur and the War of Two Worlds,” which debuted with $6.1 million for EuropaCorp.

Sony’s “Eat Pray Love” saw a solid hold in Australia where it took in $2.1 million in its soph sesh, down 38%, for a total of $7 million. The film won the weekend there, as well as in Indonesia, location of the “Love” portion of the film’s title. That territory contributed just north of $500,000 at 40 love nests, scoring four times higher than the cume of Roberts’ “Erin Brockovich.”

“Eat Pray Love” has expanded to most international territories — 67 so far – — with mostly smaller markets like Venezuela and Thailand still to come.

Sony also had considerable success with David Fincher’s “The Social Network,” which made friends in new markets like the U.K., France and Spain. Pic scored an overall $13 million, bringing its international cume to $17.5 million. “Social Network” scored the highest-grossing opening for Fincher in the U.K., beating “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” by 10% and “Panic Room” by 32%.

Blighty was the pic’s top market over the weekend, with $3.9 million from 439 locations, ahead of France, which took in $3.6 million from 351. In Spain, “Social Network” scored the territory’s best per-screen average for the frame, with $4,843 off a weekend take of $1.7 million at 352.

Most overseas B.O. pundits expect the film to mirror its domestic perf by gaining steam among older demos in repeat frames. “Mainly targeting youngsters and network maniacs, adult auds will discover this movie through word of mouth,” a Spanish exhib says.

A pic that’s been showing less longevity at foreign wickets is 20th Century Fox’s adult-skewing “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” In Spain, the film fell a steep 50% from the previous weekend, grossing $1.1 million for a local cume of $4.6 million. “Wall Street” held better in the U.K., down 44%, also with $1.1 million in its second frame. Pic’s Blighty total stands at $4.9 million to date. Overall, the “Wall Street” sequel added $7.2 million to an international cume of $49.4 million through Oct. 18. Fox plans to launch the film next in Germany, Italy and South Korea.

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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