'Megamind' provides counterprogamming in some territories

Lionsgate’s “Saw 3D” started out strongly during its debut sesh at the international B.O., turning in $13.3 million from 12 territories, where the last-planned installment mostly outstripped the franchise’s previous offerings.

The 3D scarer posted a record-setting debut in the U.K., with $5.8 million including previews, to become the territory’s biggest opening for an 18 certificate (Blighty’s R-rating equivalent) horror pic. The film’s U.K. take also ranked 30% higher than any of the previous six “Saw” pics, this time around boosted by increased 3D ticket prices.

In Russia, however, “Saw 3D” fell behind Paramount’s opening of DreamWorks Animation 3D toon “Megamind,” bowing to an animated $6.6 million drawn from 616 screens. “Megamind” benefited from a favorable counterprogramming bid to “Saw 3D,” which launched in the No. 2 spot with an understated $2.2 million.

Overall, “Megamind” earned $7.7 million from Russia and Ukraine, the other debut market. Par bowed the toon early in both territories, likely as an attempt to counter growing piracy. The toon went wide Stateside on Nov. 5, with overseas expansions that weekend in primarily smaller Asian markets.

Elsewhere on the 3D animation front, Universal’s holdover “Despicable Me,” another villain-centric toon, took in an additional $18.7 million in overseas grosses for a cume of $231.5 million.

“Despicable Me” expanded to Japan, where it also beat the opening of “Saw 3D.” U’s 3D toon posted $2.7 million at the Japanese B.O., compared to $864,000 for “Saw 3D.” Both pics, however, were outmatched there by local title “SP: The Motion Picture 1,” a thriller based on a popular Fuji TV show about cops, which earned $6.6 million.

Top holdover markets for “Despicable Me” were France and the U.K., contributing $6.9 million and $4.5 million, respectively.

“Despicable Me” was up a whopping 117% in Gaul during the toon’s fourth weekend, thanks mainly to fall school holidays. Blighty students, likewise, boosted the toon’s take, with an 11% uptick in its third frame. Pic’s local total in Blighty reached $24.3 million, while French auds have shelled out a total $23.4 million.

Sony’s “The Social Network” scored high marks in some debut markets, with holdovers like France and the U.K. still showing resilience.

In Australia, the David Fincher-helmed pic opened with $2.7 million from 284 screens, enough to claim the territory’s No. 1 spot. Pic’s Oz take ranked 4% higher than Fincher’s 2002 “Panic Room.” France came in as “The Social Network’s” second-highest grossing market, with $2.1 million in its third week for a total there of $9.8 million; the U.K. contributed $1.6 million also in its third frame, cuming $12.3 million.

Meanwhile, a clutch of local productions made waves, including U’s Spanish-language horror entry “Julia’s Eyes,” which earned a chart-topping perf in Spain with $2.1 million. Produced by Rodar y Rodar, Guillermo del Toro and Antena 3, with U distribbing, “Julia’s Eyes” toplines Belen Rueda as the title character. Pic became Spain’s highest-grossing local opener, beating “To Hell With the Ugly,” which opened in April, taking in $1.8 million during its debut weekend.

“Julia’s Eyes” benefited from a well-timed Halloween berth. Along with Spain, U holds distribution rights in France, launching Dec. 22, and Latin America, where the pic is set for release in Mexico Feb. 4.

The Italian B.O. similarly was fueled by local pics, including “Males Against Females” and “Winx Club 3D: Magic Adventure,” the country’s first 3D toon.

Local helmer Fausto Brizzi’s laffer “Males” topped the Italo charts with $4.2 million from 572 debut screens, while family auds showed slightly less interest in “Winx,” shelling out only $940,000 from 360. Toon debuted in the No. 5 spot in Italy.

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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