'Afterlife' walks over 'Street' at foreign box office

Launching day and date in mostly smaller overseas markets, 20th Century Fox’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” totaled a quiet $9.3 million over the Sept. 24-26 weekend.

The bow was not bullish enough to topple Sony’s reigning champ “Resident Evil: Afterlife,” which claimed $24 million in its third outing at foreign wickets. “Afterlife” cumed an impressive $154.1 million as of Sept. 26, having gone out in 46 markets.

On paper, “Wall Street” had an impressive rollout in some 40 territories, though only two ranked among the top 10 international markets, Australia and Brazil. In Oz, “Wall Street” bowed in the No. 2 spot, with $1.7 million from 283 screens, while Brazilian auds showed little interest, shelling out just $815,917 to earn the pic a fourth place ranking in that territory.

“Wall Street” could have a tough time internationally given the film’s U.S.-centric plot. Pic bowed at the Cannes Film Festival in May to lukewarm responses.

Auds in France, Russia and Mexico will next get a look at Oliver Stone’s latest, as the film is set to open in those territories this weekend. Meanwhile, major markets like the U.K. and Spain will wait until Oct. 8.

“Wall Street” and Warner Bros.’ 3D toon “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole” claimed the respective top two spots domestically during their opening weekend, Like “Wall Street,” “Legend” saw a limited day and date debut.

“Legend” opened in only four markets, totaling $1.2 million on 377 screens. And while Warner has yet to launch “Legend” in any major territories, the toon took in sizable grosses in the Philippines, where it accounted for 42% of the territory’s total market share. Pic earned there an estimated chart-topping $479,000 that far outpaced similar 3D toons like “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” (174%) and “Monsters vs. Aliens” (38%).

Warner looks to benefit from upcoming school holidays in some overseas territories, such as Australia and key European markets. Oz auds likely will respond best to the toon’s homegrown voice cast, which includes Geoffrey Rush, Abbie Cornish, Anthony LaPaglia and Ryan Kwanten.

“Legend” bows Sept. 30 in Oz and Russia, followed by Germany a week later and Spain and the U.K. on Oct. 22.

Also on the 3D front, Sony’s holdover “Afterlife” expanded to France, with notable holds in Germany and some Asian countries, including South Korea, down 25% in its soph sesh, and Japan, where the film displayed a better-than-expected hold of 45% in its third frame.

In Japan, “Afterlife” faced tough competish from local fare — “Umizaru 3,” “Kimi ni Todoke” and “13 Assassins” — occupying the market’s top three spots, respectively. “Afterlife” grossed $2.8 million at the Japanese B.O., lifting its local cume to $38.3 million to rank as the film’s highest-grossing territory to date.

In Gaul went out through Metropolitan Film Export, totaling $3.4 million from 884 screens in its debut. Though “Afterlife” saw enough interest from French moviegoers to outstrip Sony’s debut of “Eat Pray Love,” the 3D three-peat could lose support in repeat frames as most local critics panned the pic.

“Eat Pray Love,” which struggled to reach $2 million in Gaul, received similar reactions from French critics. Local publication Le Journal du Dimanche described the film as “cosmetic cinema.”

Other key European markets, however, warmed to the Julia Roberts starrer, including Spain and Germany, where the film debuted at No. 2 behind “Afterlife,” with $3 million on 500 screens. Spanish auds contributed a chart-topping $1.9 million on 337 after Roberts paid a visit to receive an award at the San Sebastian Film Festival. Sony delayed the launch to avoid competing with a crowded summer frame.

Pic bowed Sept. 17 in Italy with $3.4 million and Japan with $4.9 million.

Overall, “Eat Pray Love” grossed a tasty $12.6 million, bringing international totals to $20 million from 2,468 screens in 13 markets. Sony expands the film this week to Brazil 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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