“Ratatouille” cooked up tasty results at the international box office, winning the weekend for the first time with $19.7 million at 3,010 playdates in 38 markets.
Foreign cume for the Disney/Pixar toon has already hit $247 million even as the Mouse House has held back such key markets as the U.K., where it opens next weekend, along with Italy and China, where it debuts the following frame. With plenty of gas left in its international tank, “Ratatouille” should become the seventh film of the year and 50th of all time to top $300 million overseas by the end of its run.
Thanks to impressive Euro openings, “Ratatouille” dominated an otherwise moderate frame, exceeding the combined results of the next two highest — “Resident Evil: Extinction” and “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.” Best “Ratatouille” results came from its German opening of $12.2 million and an Austrian launch of $1.6 million — in both cases topping the combined grosses of the next nine pics.
The tale of a cooking-obsessed rat has shown plenty of traction outside the U.S., with 55% of its $450 million worldwide total from foreign markets.
Thanks to “Ratatouille,” overall offshore biz exceeded the same frame a year ago, when “World Trade Center” led with $12.3 million. Foreign biz has remained well ahead of the 2006 pace — mostly due to the six leading pics (the third entries in the of “Spider-Man,” “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Shrek” series, the fifth “Harry Potter” pic, “Transformers” and “The Simpsons Movie”), which have combined for an eye-popping $3 billion outside the U.S.
The frame also saw “The Heartbreak Kid” achieve in the U.K. what it couldn’t manage domestically — a first-place opening, with $2.5 million, easily outpacing “The Kingdom” debut. The raunchy comedy also opened well in Russia, with $2.4 million, more than double the “Knocked Up” launch; the foreign per-screen average of $6,632 for “Kid” was 52% higher than the domestic figure.
Elsewhere, summer comedies generally found the going rough as U’s trio of laffers — “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” “Evan Almighty” and “Knocked Up” — combined for a moderate $11 million at about 4,600. The three pics generated $370 million domestically but, not surprisingly, have been tougher to sell overseas with $170 million combined.
“Chuck and Larry” finished third overall with $6.7 million at 2,200, led by $2.2 million in its second German frame, for a foreign cume of $48.2 million with nine markets left.
Another domestic success, Sony’s raunchy “Superbad,” also saw mixed overseas results with $4.2 million at 1,810 led by a modest $1.2 million launch in Germany. “Superbad” has cumed $23 million from 19 foreign markets so far.
Mirroring the domestic performance, U also saw moderate results from its first foreign openings of “The Kingdom” with $3.2 million at 745 with a second-place $1.9 million in the U.K. and a fourth-place $1.1 million in Australia. The military actioner goes into Germany, Scandinavia and Taiwan next frame.
The frame also saw several solid foreign launches of awards season hopefuls such as Universal’s “Eastern Promises,” which won in Spain with $1.4 million at 245, and Summit’s “Michael Clayton” in Italy with $1.5 million at 389. U’s “Atonement” remained impressive in its fourth U.K. frame with $1.1 million for a Brit cume of $19.3 million; and Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution” continued to play well in his Taiwanese homeland with $1.2 million in its soph sesh for a territorial cume of $4.9 million.
By contrast, many other entries showed only modest traction overseas, emulating domestic performances. For example, Par’s “A Mighty Heart” took in $616,000 at 564 in 14 markets to lift its international cume to $5.3 million; Warner’s “The Brave One” declined 37% to $4.1 million at 2,100 — mostly from second frames in Germany, Italy and Spain — for a foreign cume of $14.8 million.
The third iterations of two other franchises — “Resident Evil: Extinction” and “The Bourne Ultimatum” — continued to perform well internationally, underlining the importance of recognizable properties on foreign turf, as they combined for nearly $15 million.
“Resident Evil: Extinction” scared up decent numbers in second with $8.6 million, including a $1.2 million first-place Brazilian launch. The third “Evil” has already cumed $33.4 million overseas; the two previous combined for $150 million internationally, or 60% of the worldwide total.
“The Bourne Ultimatum,” which had won six of the past seven weekends, finished fourth with $5.7 million at 3,466 in 37 markets. “Ultimatum” has exceeded U’s expectations with $172 million overseas and — with launches still coming in Italy, Japan and China — appears likely to match the combined $204 million foreign take from the previous two “Bourne” pics.