‘Museum’ on top shelf o’seas

Stiller comedy edges 'Diamond,' 'Pursuit'

“Night at the Museum” checked back in to the top spot at the international box office, winning for the sixth time in seven weekends with $13.7 million at 4,800 playdates in 43 markets.

The Ben Stiller comedy edged “Blood Diamond” and last weekend’s winner, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” as the trio continued to top the charts, mostly via impressive holding power in major markets.

Fox’s “Museum” has shown traction in every territory to reach an overseas cume of $230.8 million, nearly matching the domestic total. Its top figures came from France, with a first-place launch of $4.3 million at 676; Italy, with a No. 1 soph sesh of $3.6 million at 537, down only 30%; and its third Spanish frame, with $2 million at 474, down 43% for a second-place finish behind newcomer “Blood Diamond.”

“Museum” still has gas in its tank overseas, with openings ahead in Belgium, Holland and Japan.

“Blood Diamond” finished a close second with $12.3 million at 3,800 screens in 58 markets, led by its Spanish opening of $2.2 million at 350; its French second frame, with $1.7 million at 459; its third Brit weekend, with $1.5 million at 322; and its Mexican launch of $958,000 at 350. Warner Bros., which held off releasing “Diamond” in most markets until after Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar nomination, has seen pic’s foreign cume hit $63.4 million, $8 million above the domestic total.

Sony’s “The Pursuit of Happyness” remained a respectable player in the wake of Will Smith’s Oscar nom with $11.6 million at 2,880 in 43 markets. Top perfs came from its third Japanese frame with $1.9 million at 272, down 24%; its French and Spanish soph seshes with $1.5 million each, off 35% and 41%, respectively; and its second Mexican and fourth German frames, each with $1 million.

“Pursuit” has cumed nearly $90 million outside the U.S. and $250 million worldwide.

Overall biz appeared moderately healthy, keeping pace with the same frame a year ago, when French comedy sequel “Les Bronzes 3” topped the charts with $14.3 million.

Fox’s “Rocky Balboa” continued to punch in decent foreign results with $7.1 million at 2,500, highlighted by a first-place launch in Germany with $3.4 million at 552 and a Brazilian opening of $775,000 at 168. The sixth “Rocky” pic is nearing $60 million overseas.

Paramount’s “Charlotte’s Web” snared $6.3 million at 2,171 in 40 markets as the family pic expanded into several major markets. Best figure by far came in the U.K., where it narrowly lost to “Music and Lyrics” with $3.5 million at 488. The South Korean launch came in mildly, with $855,000 at 146, and the French opening took in a modest $847,000 at 350.

Warner’s U.K. launch of romantic comedy “Music and Lyrics,” five days ahead of the film’s Stateside opening on Valentine’s Day, came in first with $3.7 million at 432. The Hugh Grant-Drew Barrymore vehicle also opens on Valentine’s Day in Australia and Taiwan.

Fox’s “Epic Movie” managed a respectable $3.6 million at 600 in nine markets, led by its third-place launch in the U.K. with $2.7 million at 327. It easily bested the Brit opening of “Hannibal Rising,” which finished fourth with $1.8 million at 341.

Another romantic comedy, Universal’s “The Holiday,” continued to gross decently overseas, tallying $3.5 million at 1,308 in 40 territories, with most of that coming from a No. 3 launch in Italy with $2 million at 288. It opened in first in Taiwan with $295,000 at 51, lifting international cume to $120.8 million — nearly double the domestic total.

Paramount’s “Dreamgirls” remained a moderate performer internationally with $2.9 million at 1,037 in 16 markets, led by a fairly soft second frame in the U.K. with $1.1 million at 268 after its launch led in Blighty with $2.6 million (including previews). Fox’s “Notes on a Scandal” saw better results in its soph sesh with $1.6 million at 298.

BVI’s second frame of local soccer comedy “Wild Bunch 4” continued to kick up decent grosses in the three German-speaking markets with $2.9 million at 879. Sony’s sturdy “Casino Royale” cashed in another $2.8 million at 1,305 screens in 33 markets for a foreign cume of $420.9 million — 21st among all-time international grossers.

Other awards contenders showed moderate drawing power, with “Babel” grossing $1.9 million at 742 in Paramount markets; Warner’s “The Departed” scaring up $1.2 million at 980 for a foreign cume of $144.8 million; Fox’s “The Last King of Scotland” taking $1.1 million at 514 in 26 markets; and Warner’s “Letters From Iwo Jima” grossing $406,000 at 295 in its 10th Japanese frame for a total of $41.1 million in that market.

“Letters” expands significantly next weekend, with launches in Brazil, Holland, Mexico, Italy and Spain.

Other pics with notable numbers: Lionsgate’s “Saw III” with $1.9 million in 38 markets, including $1.4 million from its second German weekend; BVI’s “The Guardian” with $1.6 million at 175 in its Japanese launch; Warner’s “Happy Feet” with $1.4 million at 2,200 for a foreign cume of $168.3 million; “Apocalypto” with $1.2 million at 700 in eight Fox markets; BVI’s “Deja Vu” with $1.1 million at 1,287 in 27 territories; and U’s “Smokin’ Aces” with $1 million at 610, including a sixth-place Oz launch with $470,000 at 140 dates.

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