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‘Beowulf’ still king overseas

Film wins foreign box office for third time

“Beowulf” remained king of the foreign box office, winning for the third straight weekend with $19.4 million at 6,700 playdates in 60 markets.

The moderate frame also saw domestic winner “Enchanted” conjure up solid returns with $10.7 million at only 1,600 for a respectable $6,687 per-location average. But “Lions for Lambs” nearly vanished overseas with only $2 million at 1,900 in 56 territories for an unspectacular four-week cume of $29.2 million.

The weekend marked one of the few frames of 2007 in which overall biz trailed the same weekend last year, which saw “Casino Royale” dominate with $44.7 million. Still, international box office for the six majors in 2007 has already topped the final 2006 foreign take of $8.6 billion; with “Beowulf” cuming $75 million overseas, Warner Bros. has announced that it’s cleared the $2 billion barrier for the year for the second time in its history.

Warner is leading the pack this year, and with Will Smith’s “I Am Legend” launching in mid-December, it could challenge its all-time record of $2.2 billion in 2004. Studio’s top 2007 performers are “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” with $645 million, “300” with $246 million and “Ocean’s Thirteen” with $194 million.

“Beowulf” generated its top weekend figures via launches in Japan with $2 million, tying for first with local pic “Always 2,” and in Australia with $1.9 million. Its third Brit frame hit $1.7 million; Blighty cume is $12.2 million.

Warner’s family comedy “Fred Claus” also chipped in with a first-place British launch of $3.8 million. 

“Enchanted” charmed its way to first place in its French launch with $5 million, representing 35% of the market and equaling the opening of “Night at the Museum.” The romancer’s soph sesh held well in Spain, off 35% to $2.2 million, and in Russia, with a 46% decline to $1.4 million.

“Enchanted,” which is meeting Disney’s early expectations, will move next frame to Italy and then launch in the U.K., Benelux and Mexico on Dec. 14.

Fox saw decent pop from foreign action fans as “Hitman” shot up $10 million at 2,200 in 29 markets, led by launches of $2.5 million in the U.K., $2.4 million in Russia and $1.2 million in Spain. Openings in Mexico and South Korea were less on target with $644,000 and $635,000, respectively.

Universal’s “American Gangster” remained a solid player with $7 million at 1,700 in 17 markets. Denzel Washington-Russell Crowe crime drama slid 41% in its third Brit frame to $2.2 million for a 17-day Blighty total of $15.7 million; pic’s already topped the final U.K. cume for “Inside Man.”

Paramount’s “The Heartbreak Kid,” continuing to post better grosses internationally than domestically, yukked up another $6.8 million at 2,191 with a $2.1 million French launch. The Ben Stiller laffer’s hit $72 million overseas, doubling its disappointing Stateside cume.

Underlining the appetite for animated fare, Par’s “Bee Movie” put the sting on $6 million at 1,345 in 11 markets, mostly via launches of $2.4 million in Mexico and $2.3 million in Spain — both better than “Happy Feet.” “Bee” has totaled $18.8 million overseas in the early part of its foreign run.

Franchise scare fare contributed with “Saw IV” grossing $4 million to push its foreign total to $49.5 million while “Resident Evil: Extinction” chipped in $1.4 million to lift the international total to $92.9 million. 

Disney’s “Ratatouille” cooked up a bit more biz with $2.3 million to push foreign cume to $406 million — $200 million above the domestic total.

And another pic aimed at families, Par’s “Stardust,” added $1.3 million at 1,104 to lift the foreign total to $94.7 million. The fantasy’s shown far more traction overseas than domestically, as international grosses represent an impressive 71% of its worldwide total of $133 million.

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