‘Mr. Bean’ stomps the Spartans overseas

'300' falls from box office perch

It took a silly Brit to stem the Spartans at the foreign B.O. over the weekend, as “300” finally fell from its perch. Disney’s latest CG toon, meantime, failed to ignite auds abroad.

International moviegoers were in the mood for laughs over the weekend as Rowan Atkinson vehicle “Mr. Bean’s Holiday,” took the No. 1 spot away from the more serious battle pic “300.” Pic also largely sucked the life out BVI’s Meet the Robinsons as that pic entered some key markets.

“Bean” racked up $34.2 million from 26 territories, as compared to “300’s” $31.7 million from 52.

BVI’s “Robinsons,” meantime, as with its U.S. bow did OK numbers, but didn’t blow away the competish.

“Meet” met with $9.3 million from 22 territories and had some competish from Fox’s family pic “Bridge to Terabithia,” which flew to $4.5 million.

“Bridge” is up and running in 19 overseas markets so far.

“Bean” was tops in the U.K. and Germany, two key markets in its weekend win.

In Blighty, “Mr. Bean” fell on a boffo £6.4 million ($12.6 million) from 512 screens and a No. 1 spot, well ahead of “300” in its second sesh in theaters.

“300” in the U.K. brought in a weekend gross of $4.5 million on its way to a $17.7 million cume.

In its first frame of release in Blighty, “Robinsons” landed in third, with $1.7 million off 451 screens.

Pic played to a so-so- average of under $4,000 as compared to “Bean’s” boffo $24,827 off 512.

Other openers in the U.K. included Fox’s “The Hills Have Eyes 2,” which slashed fourth place, and Entertainment’s “The Last Mimzy,” which was relegated to the bottom of the top 10 in its bow there with just $371,298 off 286.

“Mr. Bean’s Holiday” also conquered Germany over the weekend as Rowan Atkinson’s latest outing as the befuddled British klutz topped the charts with a boffo $5.6 million from 845.

Universal release sucked up the lion’s share of ticket sales, validating local predictions that pic would easily take the No. 1 spot in the country, where the character enjoys huge popularity.

BVI’s “Robinsons,” as in the U.K., either failed to click with local tykes or was simply rendered irrelevant by the power of “Bean.”

Pic garnered only $503,252 from 651.

With “300” opening April 5, the German box office is readying for a battle of the titans as “Bean” takes on Warner’s Spartans.

“It’s a very tough call,” exhib said. “The weather is supposed to be bad over Easter so we’re expecting good business. Lots of families will turn out for ‘Mr. Bean,’ while everyone else will be lining up for ‘300.’ ”

Fox’s “Hills Have Eyes 2,” meanwhile, surprised German exhibs by opening at No. 2 with $924,865 from 366.

“Bean” couldn’t vanquish “300” in Spain, however, despite a valiant effort.

Taking just a 45% blow to the chest, WB’s “300” battled on supreme in Spain, grabbing a soph weekend $3.5 million. With a $11.9 million first 10-day booty and sturdy legs, it still has a good run in front of it, exhibbers say.

“Mr. Bean’s Holiday” still had Spanish exhibitors falling off their seats. And not just from laughter. The France-set bumbler’s progress had been written off as a fading franchise.

“The Bean franchise is a bit deja vu,” an exhibber said. And many Spanish reviews were critical.

Even Universal Pictures Intl.’s copy release of 276 prints looked cautious. But “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” grossed a healthy $2.3 million.

If “Bean” was way above expectations, “Meet the Robinsons” was way below: $1.5 million off a far larger print run of 414 for less than half per copy: $3,586.

“Families had to choose between ‘Robinsons’ and ‘Bean’ and children voted for ‘Bean,'” said one exhibber.

“Maybe the formula’s a bit tired: it just didn’t catch on,” said a fellow distributor. “The worrying thing for Disney is that if they’re going for a limited number of big pics per year, their first big pic of 2007 looks like a miss,” he added.

With no “Bean” to contend with, “300” held on to the top spot in Italy, as expected, drawing $2.8 million on 470, a 39% drop in its second frame, for a $9.5 million cume.

But the weekend’s real winner was Palermo-set laffer “Il 7 e l’8” which stood firm at No. 2 dropping a mere 25% in its third week to take $1.6 million off 306 for a $7 million take to date.

Medusa pic toplining comic duo Ficarra and Picone is about two Sicilian thirty-somethings from very different social backgrounds who discover their cribs were switched in the maternity ward.

Yank kidpic “Bridge to Terabithia” did decent biz opening at No. 3 with $1.4 million on 315 via local distrib Moviemax.

As in Italy, local pics were a big draw en France, with one beating out “300.”

Claude Berri’s “Hunting and Gathering” came in tops in Gaul.

Bittersweet drama starring Audrey Tautou beat out “300” for the week, and has cumed $8.4 million on 468 for a well-pleased Pathe after two frames.

CGI-heavy Spartan/Persian ancient bust-up has cumed better overall, however, taking in $8.9 million for Warners on 485 over the same period.

In Asian action, local production did their countries proud, too.

Thai horror movie “Alone” delivered solid B.O., earning ($1.09 million) during its first weekend in Bangkok.

Ed Meza in Germany, David Hayhurst in France, John Hopewell in Spain, Ali Jaafar in the U.K., Dave McNary in Los Angeles, Kong Rithdee in Thailand and Nick Vivarelli in Italy contributed to this report.

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