Local hits take on holdovers o’seas

Few new offerings gives holdovers upper hand

With few fresh offerings to tempt overseas auds over the April 16-18 weekend, the international B.O. was dominated by a host of holdovers, led by Warner Bros. 3D giant “Clash of the Titans,” which grossed $55.3 million on 10,850 screens in 57 territories.

The frame’s other 3D holdovers, Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” and Paramount and DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon,” added to the frame’s 3D might with $34 million and $16.5 million, respectively.

Still, several local productions saw healthy bows, including EuropaCorp’s French debut of Luc Besson’s “The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec,” which topped the frame in that territory with $4.4 million on 636 screens.

Set in the early part of the 20th century, “Blanc-Sec” tells the fantastical story of a novelist and her misadventures with possible suitors, local police and even a pterodactyl. Pic toplines popular French thesp Louise Bourgoin in the title role, with co-star Mathieu Amalric.

Besson’s fantasy pic marks only one of four $32 million-pics shot in 2009, repping a steady decline in local Gaul productions. Given the French director’s success with his “Arthur” toon series, “Blanc-Sec” could hold well in that territory. The first two “Arthur” installments grossed a collective $83.5 million.

“Clash” fell to the No. 2 spot in Gaul, earning $3.5 million on 640 screens, with 83% of the weekend take coming from 3D-equipped screens. The pic’s French total reached $12.9 million in its soph sesh.

Strong openings for “Clash” in key territories like China and Italy helped boost the 3D holdover’s overseas cume to $189.7 million. In China, the film debuted with $7.4 million at 1,310 screens, all of which are 3D-equipped; while in Italy, 84% of the film’s $4.5 million take came from 3D screens.

Mexico also ranked high for “Clash,” slashing through the frame with a $7.4 million opening. The debut marks Warner’s second-highest opening ever in that territory, as well as the eighth-highest industry debut. Perf reps a significant gain for the film given that less than half of the territory’s total earnings came from 3D screens.

Also boosted by 3D revenue in key overseas territories was “Alice,” which opened in Japan and Spain with high-end results.

Japan repped the top market for “Alice,” with $14 million on 654 screens, of which 249 were 3D-equipped. The 3D count made up 38% of the total screens, earning between 65% and 70% of the weekend take. The film’s bow now stands as Japan’s highest opening for a 3D title, more than doubling “Avatar’s” $6.6 million debut.

Imax recently entered into a partnership with Tokyu Recreation, a Japanese owner of 109 theaters, to install five digital Imax theater systems in that territory. “Alice” generated a total $335,882 on four Tokyu Imax screens in only two days. The first two of the new Imax locations are set to be installed late this year.

In Spain, “Alice’s” 3D component accounted for 66% of the $10.1 million take. The 3D fantasy played on 349 screens, with 35% of them 3D.

Overall, “Alice” reached a massive $511.8 million internationally, ranking as the fourth-highest overseas grosser for the Mouse House and the sixth-highest non-sequel. Pic’s worldwide cume is $836.0 million.

Par’s 3D toon “How to Train Your Dragon” claimed the No. 3 spot overseas with a cume of $177.7 million, with approximately 65% of the weekend gross coming from 3D runs.

In Blighty, “Dragon” dropped a slight 3% in its third frame, grossing $2.1 million on 683 screens. Some 80% of the weekend gross came from 3D screens, boosting the territory’s cume to $20 million.

French auds also flocked to the toon, which earned $2.5 million at 784 locations; while in Oz, “Dragon” held onto the top spot, grossing $1.9 million on 346. Toon’s cume roared to $16.1 million in Australia, and $13.9 million in France. “Dragon” opens in Japan later in the summer.

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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