'Dispicable Me' places second amid animated returns

Femmes and families fueled the international box office over the Oct. 8-10 weekend, turning out for Sony’s Julia Roberts starrer “Eat Pray Love” and Universal’s 3D toon “Despicable Me.”

Both pics, which earned top coin last weekend in several key debut territories, continue to see hearty expansions after being withheld from major markets due to a post-summer crunch overseas and also to benefit from tykes on school holidays.

“Eat Pray Love” debuted Aug. 13 and has tallied $79.9 million internationally, while foreign grosses for “Despicable Me” have reached an animated $136.9 million since its overseas bow July 8.

“Eat Pray Love” expanded to 10 territories, including Australia and Russia, with a weekend take of $18.6 million, enough to beat “Despicable Me’s” $17.8 million weekend gross.

In Oz, Roberts’ latest scored a chart-topping $3.6 million, which outpaced similarly targeted pics like “The Devil Wears Prada” and “27 Dresses” by 5% in that territory. Russian auds shelled out $1.6 million, behind local 3D fantasy “Dark World,” which totaled $3.3 million.

Meanwhile, “Despicable Me” debuted in the top spots in both France and Spain, where the pic should see a substantial boost from national and school holidays this week. U delayed “Despicable Me” until October, when most Euro students went on vacation. The move also gave “Despicable” more breathing room on the 3D front, with exhibs adding 3D screens throughout the summer.

Gaul ranked as the toon’s highest-grossing market, contributing $5.3 million at 655 locations. The toon earned positive reviews from local critics, with Le Figaroscope calling the film “a super original animated film … full of visual excitement.”

At the Spanish B.O., families were eager to spend the country’s version of Columbus Day at the theater, as “Despicable Me” saw a huge increase from Friday to Saturday, up 280%.

Overall, the toon earned $3.1 million in Spain over the weekend, beating 20th Century Fox’s debut of “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” which posted $2.2 million.

Holdover territories also were strong for “Despicable Me.” The toon posted $3.8 million in Germany, coming in at No. 1 in its second outing for a local cume of $10.6 million. In Oz, the pic was down only 40%, totaling $19.4 million in five weeks of play.

Falling from its reign atop the B.O., Sony’s 3D franchise pic “Resident Evil: Afterlife” posted an additional $8 million to its international cume of $197.2 million.

The film had a solid hold in Japan, slipping just 34% in its fifth frame for a weekend take of $2 million. Pic’s Japanese total now stand at nearly $50 million.

Fox’s “Wall Street” sequel posted solid figures during its third week of release, with $10.8 million at 3,426 locations in 59 markets. The reboot’s overseas cume reached $37.7 million.

“Wall Street” bowed in the U.K. and Spain, with a hefty hold in France. In Blighty, the film topped the charts with $2.8 million, while French totals reached just north of $1 million in its second outing. Fox plans to expand the pic to China next weekend.

Fox saw considerable mileage from another holdover: “Knight and Day,” which bowed in Italy and Japan, boosting weekend totals to $7.2 million at a collective 1,022 locations in both markets.

“Knight” bowed during the heat of the World Cup soccer tourney, but thanks to Fox’s staggered rollout, the film has cumed $162 million to date.

With stars Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, “Knight” seemed likely to appeal to foreign auds, especially in Japan, where both stars were on hand to tubthump the pic Oct. 6.

The film opened to a stellar $6 million on 589 screens, including sneaks, and benefited from the market’s three-day holiday frame. Fox said “Knight and Day” should play well there through the week.

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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