‘Sucker Punch’ KO’s ‘Battle’ overseas

Sony pic falls after two weeks at the top

After heading to neutral corners, Warner Bros.’ “Sucker Punch” was declared winner of its fight at the overseas B.O. with “Battle: Los Angeles,” for the April 1-3 weekend, knocking the Sony pic from its two-week perch atop the international charts, but not without shedding some blood. The revised total for “Sucker Punch” was $11.5 million, down slightly from the pic’s estimated weekend take of $12.4 million internationally.

“Battle” realized $10.4 million for the weekend, off considerably from the film’s original estimated $14.7 million weekend take. “Battle” has cumed $96.1 million from 60 overseas markets, while foreign totals for “Sucker Punch” rose to $20.3 million, playing in 39 territories.

Despite losing significant coin overall, likely because of improved weather in European markets, Sony still scored a one-two punch over the April 1-3 weekend, with Adam Sandler starrer “Just Go With It” performing better than expected, with $10.9 million vs. an estimated $10.7 million weekend take for a cume of $76.3 million internationally.

Overall, business was down more than 25% in the U.K. and European markets, compared with the previous weekend. The first bit of warm weather drew most moviegoers outside.

In Spain, for instance, the combination of a warming trend and free-to-air broadcast soccer matches contributed to the market’s approximately 21% decline, while German box office was off by 20%, troubling news for a market that has struggled so far in 2011 with year-to-date totals off 21% — the most of any other European market — compared with first-quarter 2010.

“Battle” fared better in Spain than did “Sucker Punch” in Germany; both films bowed at No. 1 in their respective countries. “Battle” launched to a respectable $2.7 million at the Spanish B.O. at 299 locations, while “Sucker” earned less in Germany, with $1.8 million in 451 brawls.

It remains to be seen whether “Sucker” can gain much traction in Germany after garnering harsh critical response. Der Spiegel, the nation’s leading publication, said the film “offers embarrassment as provocation and, in the final analysis, reduces all the female characters to bizarre fetish objects.”

Outside of Germany, “Sucker” did better in other key debut markets like France and Russia. Gaul was the film’s top weekend territory, contributing $2.3 million, followed by Russia with $2 million. Blighty auds warmed least to the film, shelling out just $1.3 million during the pic’s opening weekend. Most U.K. moviegoers instead went for Universal’s new entry, live action-toon hybrid “Hop,” which topped the local frame with $2.5 million at 476 gardens.

“Hop,” which took in $6.7 million overall for the weekend, also bowed in Germany and Italy, with the latter contributing $830,000 at 333 locations, third best in the territory. Pic finished fifth in Germany, earning $750,000 on 556.

Toon hybrid has 34 more territories to go (it debuted in 26), with five skedded to launch this weekend, including Australia, where “Hop” will compete for family auds with 20th Century Fox’s 3D toon “Rio.” That pic opens in 45 international markets a week before its Stateside bow on April 15. Fox’s early launch for “Rio” is meant to position the film for Asian markets, as well as school holidays — something “Hop” will look to tap into as well.

Meanwhile, Stateside debut title “Source Code,” opened day and date with the U.S. in seven overseas territories, including Blighty and Russia, for a weekend total of nearly $5 million. Pic tallied $2.1 million at U.K. wickets, behind only “Hop.”

In Russia, “Source Code” grossed $2.6 million. The Jake Gyllenhaal starrer, which expands to Brazil in its second overseas frame, had a solid start given its limited number of markets. The film is being released internationally through Optimum Releasing in Blighty and Central Partnership in Russia. Imagem is releasing the film in Brazil.

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

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