Blue brothers: ‘Smurfs’ apes ‘Avatar’

Family comedy reels in strong overseas B.O.

Not since “Avatar” has a film won overseas bragging rights for five consecutive weeks — that is until “The Smurfs” retained the B.O. crown for its fifth straight sesh over the Sept. 9-11 frame, with a weekend gross of $14.8 million.

Sony’s live-action/toon hybrid now has cumed a stellar $322.2 million internationally.

The performance helped “Smurfs” fly past another family-targeted film, 2008’s “Wall-E” and positioned it to pass 2006’s “Night at the Museum.” Though both of those films were original properties, which tend to have a tougher time finding B.O. traction, “Smurfs” is nearing the collective total of both “Alvin and the Chipmunks” installments ($363 million), as well as “Yogi Bear” ($100 million)

“Smurfs” has benefited from a late-summer berth, when few other major tentpoles bow day-and-date overseas.

Twentieth Century Fox’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” provided some healthy competition for the little blue guys, grossing just shy of $13 million over the weekend, for a cume of $208.1 million. Warner Bros.’ “Final Destination 5” came in third, with $11.3 million for the sesh.

“Smurfs” got off to a slow start in Japan, totaling just $815,000 on 236 screens. The pic’s sluggish bow at the Japanese B.O. reps somewhat of a surprise, since Sony has been marketing the film heavily in Asia — and scoring premium coin from higher 3D ticket prices.

With imminent bows in Australia and Italy, “Smurfs” could continue its overseas reign, though Universal’s aggressive early launch of “Johnny English Reborn” in 15 territories might provide stiff competition. Major markets for “Johnny English” include Australia and Russia; pic’s U.S. bow is set for Oct. 28.

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