Filmgoers take 'Ghost Protocol' to top of overseas chart

Thanks to a sparkling two-day perf in China, Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” retained the top overseas spot over the Jan. 27-29 weekend, grossing $25.2 million and sending the fourth installment to a series-best $571.9 million worldwide cume.

In seven weeks of release, “Ghost Protocol” posted its fourth frame at No. 1 internationally, with an offshore take of $369.4 million.

“Ghost Protocol” surpassed the franchise’s previous global best, “Mission: Impossible II,” which raked in $546 million worldwide in 2000. On a local level, the fourth “Mission” scored the series’ best opening at the Chinese B.O., with a boffo $12.7 million from Jan. 28-29, outgrossing by more than five times the local bow of “Mission: Impossible III.”

In Norway, “Ghost Protocol” also outperformed its immediate predecessor — by approximately 88% — bowing to $1.2 million, while Italian auds contributed a debut on par with “Mission 3,” at $3.1 million.

The success of “Ghost Protocol” — five years after “Mission 3″ posted nearly $400 million worldwide — has helped rejuvenate the franchise for Par.

Paramount’s vice chairman Rob Moore credited director Brad Bird, producer J.J. Abrams and star Tom Cruise for delivering an entertaining film embraced by fans worldwide.

Meanwhile, Warner Bros.’ “Sherlock Holmes” sequel, “A Game of Shadows,” posted a weekend take of $18.1 million, boosting its international tally to $294 million. Globally, the film has cumed $476.2 million as of Jan. 29 (compared with the first pic’s lifetime worldwide cume of $500 million).

“Game of Shadows” launched in France with $7 million including previews, which beat the original’s Gaul debut by 33%.

Top markets for “Shadows” include the U.K., having grossed nearly $40 million, followed by Russia, Italy and China, all of which have contributed north of $20 million. “Shadows” will launch in Japan on March 12.

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