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Genre pix pack a wallop

Weekend's top earner o'seas was a local-lingo prod'n

Last weekend was frightfully good for genre films, as “The Grudge,” “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” and “Alien vs. Predator” terrified auds in various territories.

But the frame didn’t get much uplift from underwhelming bows by “Bad Santa” and “Birth” in the U.K. Still, British helmer Mike Leigh’s “Vera Drake” grossed a promising $379,000 on 110 screens in its offshore preem in Italy.

In a rare achievement, the weekend’s top earner abroad was a local-language production, Teutonic spoof “Seven Dwarfs,” which whistled up $10.6 million on 934 screens in soph sessions in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The UIP pickup, starring comedian Otto Waalkes as one of the little folk, singer Nina Hagen as the evil queen and her daughter Cosma Shiva Hagen as Snow White, eased by a mere 19% in Germany to $9.2 million. Market total is a stellar $24.9 million.

Swimming with ‘Shark’

“Shark Tale” spawned $10.4 million from 4,390 locations in 31 territories, propelling cume to $129.2 million. With four key markets including Japan ahead, fish tale is heading for north of $170 million. Toon caught $693,000 in Singapore (sans sneaks, 34% bigger than the first “Shrek’s” bow), $308,000 in Turkey (5% ahead of “Finding Nemo”), $280,000 in Colombia and $236,000 in Malaysia.

“Shall We Dance” waltzed away with $9.8 million in nine markets, spurred by Germany’s $3 million on 610 (outperforming “Love Actually”), Spain’s $1.7 million on 300 (comparable with “Something’s Gotta Give”), Switzerland’s $610,000 and Austria’s $477,000.

Richard Gere/Jennifer Lopez starrer kept the lead in its second turn in Italy, abating just 20% to ring up $2.4 million and lifting cume to a lusty $7.9 million. With $20.4 million in the till already, remake should beat its domestic tally, currently $42.1 million.

U.K. bears ‘Grudge’

After insipid preems in Southeast Asia, “The Grudge” redeemed itself in the U.K., grabbing $4.1 million, including sneaks. Christmas didn’t come early for “Bad Santa,” which unwrapped $870,000 on 277 in Blighty. New Line’s “Birth” took a soft $780,000 on 275, but the Nicole Kidman starrer was a bit sharper in Greece, minting $299,000 on 30.

“Finding Neverland” found $1.1 million in its soph sesh in the U.K., slipping by 27%, pocketing a solid $3.4 million to date.

Heroic Down Under

“Hero” captured a hefty $1.7 million on 163 in Australia, boosting its estimated cume to $118 million, with Brazil and Mexico ahead.

Helmer Zang Yimou’s martial arts pic proved tough competition in Oz for “The Forgotten,” which drew a fair $1.1 million on 205. Thriller toplining Julianne Moore was No. 1 in Brazil, scaring up $765,000 on 145.

The “Resident Evil” sequel devoured $2.5 million on 347 in Spain (No. 1, 38% bigger than the original), $1.7 million on 250 in Italy (73% ahead) and a mediocre $893,000 on 171 in South Korea. The latter market was dominated by local pics “An Eraser in My Head” and “Scarlet Letter.”

A sizable earner in Japan, France and Mexico but a modest contributor in Oz and Germany, zombie pic has amassed $62 million, with Russia and Holland the only remaining significant countries.

Otherworldly foes frolic

“Alien vs. Predator” swallowed $3.9 million on 561 in Germany, $582,000 in Belgium, $447,000 in Austria, $426,000 in Poland and $362,000 in Sweden. Creature feature’s cume is a hearty $52.2 million in 24 territories.

Warners’ wartime romance “A Very Long Engagement” wooed $5.6 million in France, down an acceptable 41% from its massive holiday weekend preem. Cume is $18.5 million.

A flop in Southeast Asia, “The Manchurian Candidate” showed a bit more appeal in France, rustling up $1.1 million on 309, but got few votes in Holland, Sweden and Israel. Remake helmed by Jonathan Demme dropped by 29% after a so-so debut Down Under, taking $1.5 million in 11 days.

Nearing $100 mil

Three titles are closing in on $100 million: “Collateral” hit $97.2 million, driven by Japan’s potent $9.3 million in nine days; “The Terminal” ascended to $96.3 million, with Japan ahead; and “The Bourne Supremacy” peaked at $92.8 million.

Fueled by China’s $2.5 million and Turkey’s $1.1 million in 11 days, “King Arthur” climbed to $149.7 million, trebling domestic.

Ending its horror run abroad, “Catwoman” fetched a lousy $610,000 on 243 in Japan, bringing its cume to $38.9 million.

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