Expansions add boost to foreign markets

The lack of many new entries left the overseas playing field wide open for winning holdovers like “Black Swan” and “The King’s Speech” to further their B.O. dominance. However, some key expansions for pics including “I Am Number Four” and “True Grit” added considerable steam as those films continued to roll out over the Feb. 25-27 weekend.

Fox Searchlight broadened “Black Swan” to Italy and Mexico, which helped the pic claim the overseas crown for its third straight week, with a weekend take of $17.5 million. Pic’s international tally reached a resounding $124 million through Feb. 28.

Meanwhile, the Weinstein Co.’s Oscar pic winner “The King’s Speech,” with Japan as its only major opener, collected another $14.7 million over the weekend, boosting its overseas totals north of $154 million. Both “Black Swan” and “The King’s Speech” have made significant waves at the international box office, matching stellar Stateside perfs. Worldwide tallies for “The King’s Speech” now stand at $268 million, while “Black Swan” has grossed $228 million globally.

Aided by Oscar wins, those titles should continue to sell tickets over the next few weeks both domestically and abroad.

But as multiplexes get crowded with new spring titles (up next are “Rango” and “The Adjustment Bureau” launching wide day and date with the U.S.) and broadening holdovers, overseas moviegoers will have more to choose from, such as DreamWorks’ “I Am Number Four,” which until last week hadn’t bowed in many major markets. Pic launched in South Korea, the U.K. and Australia, where it debuted in the No. 1 spot with $3.1 million at 356 locations.

Russian auds also shelled out top coin, with $3.1 million on 456, enough to dislodge local hit “Vikrutasy.” In Blighty, “Four” tallied $2.7 million in a crowded market, while South Korea contributed $2 million behind “Black Swan’s” $2.2 million debut.

So far, “Four” has launched in 21 markets, with a weekend take of $16.4 million. Pic’s overseas cume now stands at $26.8 million after two weeks.

Also extending its legs over the weekend was Paramount’s Joel and Ethan Coen Western “True Grit,” with 19 new territories for a total 56 in release. “True Grit” posted $13.3 million, bringing its international cume to $47.1 million.

France came in as the film’s top territory, debuting with $3.5 million, 42% more than Gaul’s bow for the Coen brothers’ “No Country For Old Men.” The Coens usually do well in France, and “True Grit” should continue to play well there, with excellent critical response. “The Western has just refound its pedigree,” opined a critic from Le Journal du Dimanche.

“True Grit” opened in third place at the German B.O. after its Berlin Film Fest premiere. The film scored $2.2 million at 267 locations, behind local runaway hit “Kokowaah” in the top spot and Sony’s “Just Go With It,” but ahead of “The King’s Speech.”

“Kokowaah” raked in another $3.6 million in Germany, bringing its local cume to an outstanding $31.6 million, while “Just Go With It” bowed with $3 million in the territory over the weekend. In its soph sesh in Germany, “The King’s Speech” earned $2.1 million, falling just 4%, for a $5.2 million cume.

Elsewhere in Europe, “Black Swan” extended its roost atop the Spanish B.O. with a weekend take of $2.5 million, down just 16% in its second outing, for a local cume of $6.4 million.

“The King’s Speech” is expected to parlay its Oscars into continued orations overseas, with one Spanish booker saying, “?’King’ already has shown signs of a true sleeper. So now, you should expect a long performance, with more second viewers added.”

Emilio Mayorga in Barcelona, Mark Schilling in Tokyo, Ed Meza in Berlin, David Hayhurst in Paris and Nick Vivarelli in Rome contributed to this report.

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