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‘Smurfs’ outplay ‘English’ spy

Bean fights blue beings at the box office

Mr. Bean could not take down the Smurfs at the overseas box office, but that doesn’t mean Universal’s “Johnny English Reborn” will be retiring spy games anytime soon.

Rowan Atkinson as “Johnny English Reborn” took $12 million overseas, while Sony’s “The Smurfs” held on to its top spot internationally over the Sept. 16-18 frame, grossing $18.2 million for a cume of $345.6 million.

The toon-hybrid’s weekend take — up 23% from the previous weekend — was boosted by its $2.74 million four-day opening in Australia, ranking 5% bigger than the local bow of similar family toon “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.” Pic also took the top spot in its Italian debut with $3.7 million.

Meanwhile, U bowed “Johnny English” in Australia, where the film trailed “Smurfs” with a total of $2.72 million. Both “Johnny English” and “Smurfs” — though perhaps more so with the latter — should continue to play well in Oz, since 20% of students are on school holidays. (An additional 65% of students started their holiday Sept. 23.)

“Johnny English” did land in first place in Russia, with $2.5 million locally; that’s bigger than the total B.O. of any Atkinson pic in Russia, as well as U’s biggest opening there for a comedy.

In total, U launched early “Johnny English” in 15 territories outside the U.S., where it opens the weekend of Oct. 28. The laffer was produced for a reported $45 million, and according to U, should land somewhere around $150 million internationally, based on the film’s opening perf. Atkinson’s previous three films (“Bean,” “Johnny English” and “Mr. Bean’s Holiday”) collectively grossed more than $600 million worldwide, of which just north of $500 million came from overseas grosses. n

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