'Town,' 'Devil' draw moderate auds

Sony’s resident 3D horror-thriller “Resident Evil: Afterlife” continued to show considerable moxie at the international box office, posting an additional $38.7 million over the Sept. 17-19 weekend. In only its second week of playtime, the film’s overseas cume now stands at an impressive $103.2 million from 48 territories.

With the exception of few limited rollouts in several major markets, “Afterlife” went relatively unchallenged at foreign wickets.

Warner Bros.’ Ben Affleck- helmed “The Town” debuted in France with $2.1 million at 293 locations, while horror pic “Devil” from Universal took in $1.3 million from 336 U.K. dates. Both pics placed second overall in their respective debut markets, though neither went head-to-head with “Afterlife.”

The Sony pic debuted in 17 international markets, including Germany, Mexico, South Korea and Brazil. “Afterlife” already has surpassed the series’ previous top overseas grosser “Resident Evil: Extinction,” which cumed $95.5 million in 2007.

In Germany, local distrib Constantin Films launched “Afterlife” with a chart-topping $5.8 million, more than enough to beat the $1.6 million soph sesh for 20th Century Fox’s bloodsucker parody “Vampires Suck.” “Afterlife’s” German bow now ranks as Constantin’s top 2010 opening in that territory, as well as the franchise’s highest-grossing debut at the German B.O.

Meanwhile, in Sony-distribbed market, Mexican auds shelled out $4.5 million for the pic, just behind Japan, which contributed $4.7 million in “Afterlife’s second weekend. Japanese cume for the film stands at an impressive $27.7 million to date.

Among the weekend’s new entries, the Stateside quartet (“The Town,” “Easy A,” “Devil” and “Alpha and Omega”) saw limited debuts in a just a few major markets.

Sony’s “Easy A” got off to a good start in Australia, with $1.1 million on 170 screens. The high school-laffer, toplining Emma Stone and directed by Will Gluck (“Fired Up!”), could gain steam among targeted teen femmes during the territory’s school holidays. Lionsgate kicked off a slower rollout for 3D toon “Alpha and Omega,” starting primarily in southeast Asia. Toon grossed an overall $1.8 during its debut weekend, with only Israel set to follow next week.

Several holdovers gained traction last weekend, including “Eat Pray Love” and “The American,” both of which saw sizable openings in key markets such as Japan and Spain, respectively. Foreign totals for Julia Roberts starrer “Eat Pray Love” have reached $3.7 million in five markets, while “The American” has cumed $8.4 million from 16.

Sony decided to hold “Eat Pray Love” from most markets to avoid competing with a post-summer crunch overseas. The studio kicked off the pic’s rollout in territories like Italy and Japan, where femme-driven star vehicles typically overperform.

Pic’s debut in Japan now stands as the territory’s biggest opening for Roberts, with $1.6 million; Italo auds ponied up $1.7 million, outstripping the local take for Robert’s “My Best Friend’s Wedding” by 83%.

Both openings, however, failed to crack the top spot in either market, landing in the No. 5 spot during a competitive frame at the Japanese B.O. and No. 2 in Italy. Local critics there described the film’s depiction of Italy (the source of the title’s “Eat” reference) as a stereotypical one “in which it’s raining spaghetti and everyone gesticulates,” whined a review in La Repubblica.

Last weekend in Italy, George Clooney starrer “The American” saw a disappointing opening (less than $1 million). Though Spain typically mirrors Italy, the pic wound up topping the Spanish B.O., with $1.7 million at 274 locations. Some insiders suggest the film’s local perf could have been boosted by the highly publicized San Sebastian Film Fest screening.

“The American” scored a solid per-screen average of $6,204, which may bode well for the film in holdover frames, though a logjam of titles entering the Spanish marketplace should provide strong competish. Robert’s “Eat Pray Love” is set to go there this week, and should likewise benefit from the San Sebastian buzz.

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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