Pegg pic better than ‘Superbad’

'Fat Boy' keeps on running in U.K.

LONDON — Tentpole holdovers and expansions topped the box office charts across much of Europe this weekend, while homegrown Brit laffer “Run, Fat Boy, Run” kept ahead of the pack in its soph sesh.

Entertainment release “Fat Boy,” which stars Simon Pegg, retained top spot in Blighty despite the arrival of keenly anticipated U.S. comedy “Superbad.” Brit pic dipped just 16% for $3.1 million and a $9 million 10-day cume.

Sony’s “Superbad” was close behind with $3 million from 402 screens. The result was welcomed by bookers, although just shy of the recent “Knocked Up” bow of $3.2 million.

Joe Wright’s period epic “Atonement” is showing excellent staying bow in Blighty. The Keira Knightley and James McAvoy romancer slipped just 19% in its soph sesh, pushing the 10-day take to $8.8 million. Reviews were superb and bookers report that word of mouth is very strong. Festival exposure at Venice and Toronto has helped keep awareness high.

The top three all posted screen averages north of $6,500, helping push overall Brit biz up 6% on last weekend and up 41% on the same weekend last year.

Par’s voyeurism thriller “Disturbia” pocketed a decent enough opening of $1.5 million at 400.

Entertainment’s Clive Owen starrer “Shoot ‘Em Up” and Lionsgate U.K.’s Western remake “3.10 to Yuma” failed to make much of an impression, arriving in seventh and eighth spot with $746,694 and $734,221, respectively.

“The Simpsons Movie” hit a massive homer in Italy, scoring the country’s record opening for an animated feature with $8.2 million on 700.

Fox release bested the toon benchmark set just two weeks ago by “Shrek the Third,” which, like “The Simpsons,” was released out of synch with the rest of Europe.

Boosted by a massive marketing push and rave reviews, the pic pulled a $13,300 per screen average — the highest ever scored by a non-Italian movie and the third best per screen take, after local smashes “I Want You” and “Manual of Love.”

The whammo Italo bow moved the “Simpsons” overseas cume to a bumper $321 million.

“Simpsons” feature ousted “Shrek” from the top where it had reigned for two frames. The green ogre, in second place, dropped 49% to $2.2 million for a $24.3 million running cume.

Third at the Italo B.O. was Colin Firth starrer “Last Legion,” which did decent biz with $810,000 on 253, despite lukewarm reviews for the sword and sandals pic produced by Dino De Laurentiis.

As expected, Catherine Zeta Jones culinary comedy “No Reservations” proved a difficult dish for Italo palates, pulling $572,000 on 230, in fourth place.

The frame’s big local winner in the fifth spot was first-timer Andrea Molaioli’s noir “The Girl by the Lake,” which scored $516,000 on 125 via Medusa, for a $4,100 screen average, the frame’s highest after “Simpsons.”

Pic by a former Nanni Moretti a.d. unspooled in the Venice crix week.

Fellow Venice grad Todd Haynes “I’m Not There” is having a harder time with Italo auds, dropping 40% in its second frame for $163,000 and ninth spot in the charts. Bob Dylan biopic, which won Cate Blanchett the Lido’s best actress nod, has cumed $628,000 to date via BIM Distribuzione.

German total box office trade dipped 19% on the previous frame despite the arrival of 10 films.

“The Bourne Ultimatum” dipped 47%, but held top spot with $2.5 million at 702 for Universal.

Three new releases landed spots two to four: Senator’s “1408” with $1.3 million at 326; Sony’s “Surf’s Up” with $1.1 million at 546; and Warner Bros’ “No Reservations” with $940,000 at 426.

Overall, the performance of the newcomers largely disappointed local bookers, who had complained that there was too much new fare before the frame kicked off.

The “Surf’s Up” bow disappointed most. “Attracting only 150,000 people with 546 screens is really a joke, and I don’t think it will get more than half a million in the long run,” said a disgruntled Teuton exhib.

Local offering “Yella” connected with arthouse auds, taking $137,885 at just 30 for a weekend best screen average of $4,956. The Piffl Medien release earned actress Nina Hoss a Silver Bear this year at the Berlin Film Fest and received excellent reviews from Teuton reviewers.

Quentin Tarantino’s B-movie homage “Death Proof” failed to excite German auds, bowing in eighth spot with $295,957 at 236 for distrib Concorde.

In Gaul, opener “Ultimatum” more than met Paramount’s expectations, taking $4 million on 509 in its first five days. On the strength of its opening, it looks well on its way to topping both “Identity” and “Supremacy” in the territory.

“Ratatouille,” which has proved a sensation at the French box office, took another $1.5 million in its seventh frame for a whammo $55 million haul — the best result for any 2007 release in France.

Helmer Sam Karmann’s comedy of morals “La Verite ou presque” opened solidly with $783,060 on 250 in five days. Toplining big-name thesps Karin Viard, Andre Dussollier and Francois Cluzet, its strong showing despite ho-hum reviews represents a continuing good year for small local distribber Rezo Films.

Two new romantic comedies rounded out the top five. “No Reservations” made Warners a passable $716,770 on 247 in its first five days. Helmer Raphael Fejto’s “L’Age d’homme, maintenant ou jamais” earned UGC $647,410 on 201, also after five days.

In Spain, Bruce Willis actioner “Live Free or Die Hard” plummeted 50% in its second frame but clung on to top spot with a $1.8 million take. Muscular pic has cumed $7.2 million.

“It’s been a pretty poor weekend. The dates are not good for the box office. The return to school and work is a transitional — and therefore bad — period,” explained a booker.

Nine new films entered the marketplace and “Hairspray” posted the best result. The Broadway tuner adaptation netted $1 million at 328 via Tripictures. “Pretty acceptable, taking into account that it’s a musical,” said a local booker.

“The movie is great, but I think that sixties set movies are out of fashion. Young audiences do not feel the appeal,” said another booker, adding that the pic has performed much better in city theaters than in out-of-town multiplexes.

Universal’s gay-themed Adam Sandler laffer “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” took $1 million on 263 and managed a weekend best $4,007 copy average.

Angelina Jolie starrer “A Mighty Heart” took fourth spot with a decent take of $528,161.

French arthouse offering “Conversations with my Gardener” also posted a decent screen average: $3,972. Movie bowed on a discreet 31 via Golem.

Spanish titles “La carta esferica” and “Chaotic Ana” slipped 41% and 42%, respectively, in their third frame. Bookers report that word of mouth is only so so.

As in Gaul, “Ratatouille” continues to show good legs in Spain. In its seventh frame, the family fave dipped just a 24% for a cume of $18.1 million.

Additional reporting by Christian Koehl (Germany), Nick Vivarelli (Italy), David Hayhurst (France) and Emilio Mayorga (Spain).

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