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Dragon wings help ‘Eragon’ fly to top overseas

Film's international box office total stands at $63.9 million

Even after dropping steeply in its second frame of release in the U.S., Fox’s fantasy pic “Eragon” still flew high abroad taking the No. 1 spot with $21.9 million from 52 territories.

Pic’s cume stands at $63.9 million at the international wickets.

Family-friendly action-fantasy, which had also won the previous frame abroad ahead of Sony’s “Casino Royale,” has passed more than $100 million worldwide.

Pic dislodged James Bond’s “Royale” from the top spot, edging out the secret agent by only a bit more than $2.5 million.

“Eragon” turned in its top perf with a Gallic bow of $4.4 million at 754.

Pic landed at No. 2 in its Italian bow, with $2.1 million at 477, behind the second frame of local product “Vacanze di Natale a New York.” Germany led in holdover biz for “Eragon” with a first-place finish and $1.9 million off 746.

However, superspy Bond still had some tricks up his sleeve even with a No. 2 finish.

Playing in 62 markets, “Casino” became the highest- grossing Bond film ever over the Christmas frame, having shot down $309.3 mil overseas and $454 million worldwide, passing “Die Another Day.”

“Casino” spun $19.4 million more over the extended holiday sesh — including $4 million on Christmas Day — to also become the 41st biggest film of all time internationally.

Bond and distrib Sony have learned that it can be better being No. 1 overseas than at home. Though “Casino” has never topped the charts in the U.S., the Brit property has scored high marks with international auds, with nearly 70% of its worldwide take from the international scene. Worldwide cume stands at nearly $280 million.

Over the latest frame, “Casino” opened strongly in an Asian invasion: South Korea gave Bond $3.8 million from 347, while Hong Kong added $1.3 million from 105.

But beyond Bond, “Eragon” and third-place finisher “Happy Feet,” overall overseas B.O. was slow.

Many exhibs tend to shut down in Europe and Latin America on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and estimates were hard to come by from shuttered studios’ international outposts.

“Eragon” would have trailed three films in the Christmas frame a year ago, when “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” led with $35.2 million, followed by “King Kong” with $34.3 million and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” with $23 million.

CG-animated “Feet,” meantime, strutted again in 55 territories, adding $13.1 million and raising its cume to an even $80 million internationally. Worldwide B.O. stands at $240.5 million for the penguin pic.

Best “Feet” figures arrived from a third straight U.K. victory, with $4 million from 466. Pic did so well in Blighty, it had no drop whatsoever, equaling its soph sesh and lifting its cume there past the $20 million mark.

But other launches weren’t as happy for “Feet.”

Pic landed in South Korea with $1.2 million from 178, and in Russia with $1.1 million off 315. Hong Kong auds added just $422,000, off 36, to the toon titan’s take.

Rounding out the top five charts were the CG-animated “Flushed Away,” which took in $8.5 million in 50 markets, and sci-fi actioner “Deja vu,” which hit $6.4 million off 19 territories.

America’s No. 1 movie “Night at the Museum” enjoyed a stellar opening weekend in South Korea, outdoing fellow newcomers “Casino” and “Feet.”

Ben Stiller-starring family comedy pulled in more than 1.3 million viewers to 357 screens for a healthy $8.9 million Thursday-to-Monday gross.

Hollywood films, such as “Feet,” in general fared poorly in South Korea in 2006, making it all the more surprising that a family comedy should perform so well.

In other Asian action, Japan continued to provide surprisingly big bucks for Clint Eastwood’s “Letters From Iwo Jima,” which led to a third straight No. 1 finish, with $2.6 million at 322.

Pic dipped just 17% and has cumed $17.9 million in Japan, easily topping the eight-week tally for Eastwood’s “Flags of Our Fathers” by $4.5 million.

In other overseas B.O. news, Sony’s “The Holiday” remained an attractive overseas performer — even though it hasn’t lit the domestic B.O. on fire this season.

Pic hit $11 million at 2,900 in 40 territories through Dec. 24and $1.2 million more on Christmas Day, lifting international B.O. booty to $48 million.

Brit stars Kate Winslet and Jude Law have helped power the romcom to connect in its third U.K. frame with a second-place finish and $2.2 million at 432 dates, off 29%, for a $16 million market cume.

“Charlotte’s Web” ensnared $2.4 million at 925 in half a dozen markets in an estimate including Christmas Day.

Japanese launch for the kids’ classic took in $1.1 million from 450.

Darcy Paquet in South Korea and Dave McNary in Hollywood contributed to this report.