LONDON — “Ratatouille” cooked up more dough at the European box office this weekend, opening top in Italy and comfortably retaining pole position in the U.K. and Germany.
The latest strong European showing by the Disney/Pixar toon helped move the international cume to $308 million.
In Italy, “Ratatouille” delivered as expected, pulling $7.2 million on 655 for a tasty outing that bested “The Incredibles” as the best Pixar launch in the territory, and left the competish fighting for scraps.
An otherwise flat Italo frame saw Universal’s raunchy Judd Apatow teen pic “Knocked Up” debut in third place with a modest $928,000 on 299.
“Knocked Up” failed to knock out local laffer “SMS.” Medusa pic toplining popular comic Vincenzo Salemme dropped a mere 21%, sliding from number one to the second slot in its sophomore sesh. Prurient pic about a text message mix-up with adulterous consequences took $1.8 million from 299 for a $4.1 million running cume.
“3:10 to Yuma” left Italian auds cold, opening in seventh with $535,000 from 248, also via Medusa.
Frame’s other opener was local immigration-themed drama “The Right Distance,” helmed by Carlo Mazzacurati, which launched rather lamely from the Rome Film Festival with $244,000 from 102 via 01 Distribuzione.
In Germany, “Ratatouille” continued its domination of the box office, taking in $6.4 million in its third session toward a $29.3 million cume, followed by “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,’ which garnered $1.3 million on its way to a $10.6 million total.
Universal’s fantasy romance “Stardust” was the week’s strongest new opener, conjuring up a respectable $1.1 million from 344.
“German moviegoers are really in the mood for escapist family entertainment,” one exhib said. “‘Ratatouille’ is a perfect film for the whole family and has gotten great word of mouth — grown ups are just as eager to see it as their kids.”
Booker attributed the success of “Chuck and Larry” to the popularity in Germany of Kevin James and his hit sitcom “The King of Queens.”
Overall, the German box office was up 4.1% on the previous weekend.
The only other new film to make it into the top 10 — and only just — was Central’s political thriller “Breach,” which managed $282,707 from 202.
All other openers proved disappointments: X Verlieh’s animated feature “The Three Robbers” came in at number 11 with $246,087; Oliver Hirschbiegel’s “Invasion” opened at number 13 with $234,243 via Warners; and Marco Kreuzpaintner’s sex-slave drama “Trade” opened at number 18 with a measly $150,752 via Fox.
In the U.K., “Ratatouille” retained top spot it its soph sesh with $6.3 million at 535 screens for an impressive $18.4 million running cume.
As expected, Paramount’s fantasy epic “Stardust” nabbed second spot with a good opening of $4.6 million (including $555,152 in previews) at 445.
“Ratatouille” and “Stardust” accounted for the lion’s share of Brit biz with Entertainment’s high-brow drama “Rendition” some way back in third with an opening of $1.2 million at 325.
Other openers made no impression. Fox’s “The Dark is Rising,” WB’s “Nancy Drew” and Momentum Pictures “The Last Legion” all failed to muster significant biz.
Other than “Ratatouille,” the holdovers faded fast in a weekend that saw total grosses dip 13% from the previous frame and 15% compared with the same weekend last year.
In Spain, WB distribbed “The Orphanage” survived its first endurance test with flying colors, dipping just 32% and holding top spot in its second frame for a bullish $5 million and excellent first 11 day $15.2 million running cume.
“It has become a must-see pic. The woman’s character-driven story of maternity has opened it up to female demos beyond the hard core horror audiences,” producer Joaquin Padro said, adding “we can’t see piracy affecting it as yet.”
Locally produced ghost story “Orphanage” was notably absent from street sale offers in Barcelona last weekend. Variety’s attempts to download titles described as “The Orphanage” from eMule’s P2P site yielded other films.
Second position went to high school sex comedy “Superbad,” which took $2.2 million on a 353 print spread via Sony, for a decent $6,334 average per copy. Figures match bookers and exhibitors expectations.
Examining real life Spanish Civil War executions, “13 Roses” netted third place despite generally bad reviews from local critics. The Alta release pulled $960,251 on 232 screens.
That’s a bit north of Tripictures’ opener “Fracture,” which took $877,778 on 268.
“‘Roses’ is doing better than I expected. But it’s a movie whose performance is very irregular. In some places it went very well and in others it was a disaster,” one exhibitor said.
In France, Paris-set “Rush Hour 3” raked in $2.4 million on 479 via Metropolitan in its first five days and landed top spot.
Legal thriller “Michael Clayton” also clicked with French auds, pulling $1.8 million on 301 for SND. The distribbers are predicting a cume of between $5 million and $6 million for the George Clooney starrer.
Also opening was Disney toon “Meet the Robinsons,” which earned $925,000 on 295.
Nature docu “Earth” has been well received both in large and smaller theaters in France. Down 15% in its second frame, it has cumed over $4 million on 462 for Gaumont.
Additional reporting by Ed Meza (Germany), Nick Vivarelli (Italy), David Hayhurst (France) and Emilio Mayorga (Spain).