‘Horton’ keeps o’seas B.O. healthy

Dr. Seuss toon wins weekend of April 11-13

While the domestic box office limps into summer, the international B.O. is being somewhat kinder to Hollywood.

So far this year, three 2008 studio pics — “Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!” and “Jumper,” both from 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros.’ “10,000 BC” — have made more than $100 million overseas. That compares with only one film stateside, “Horton.”

The Dr. Seuss toon won the weekend of April 11-13 overseas, grossing $9.1 million from 4,707 playdates for a foreign cume of $104.9 million in its fifth sesh. The appetite for family fare is proving just as robust abroad as it is in North America, where “Horton” has grossed $139.5 million through April 13.

“Horton” has done far more biz internationally than the two previous Dr. Seuss pics, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” ($85 million) and “The Cat in the Hat” ($35 million).

The toon enjoyed good hold over the frame, posting a 15% gain in its French sophomore sesh to $3.8 million and a 7% gain in its fourth British frame to $1.2 million. It was the third consecutive weekend “Horton” took the top crown.

Sony’s “21” wasn’t far behind in its overseas bow. The gambling drama grossed $8 million from only 974 runs, coming in first in five markets and posting a winning per-location average of roughly $8,000.

The film particularly played its chips right at the European box office, taking top spots in the U.K., Germany and Spain, although both in Spain and Germany, the box office was sluggish.

In the U.K., “21” opened on top with $3 million at 358 locations. Result was comfortably ahead of the competish and north of most pre-release expectations. Card-counting caper took in $2.1 million from 295 in Germany in what was again one of the weakest weekends of the year — overall, the box office plummeted nearly 13% from the previous week.

Film nabbed $1.9 million on 249 in Spain. Bookers, however, expected a slightly better performance, after results in the U.S.. “21” also won in Sweden ($425,000) and Greece ($325,000).

If biz was down in some European territories, it continued to sizzle in France, where two local pics made enough on their home turf to come in No. 3 and No. 4 overall internationally, “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis” and “Disco,” respectively.

Blockbuster “Ch’tis” grossed $7.7 million in its seventh frame for a whammo cume of $173 million, nearly all of it from France and Belgium. As of April 13, nearly 18.4 million Frenchmen — roughly 28% of Gaul’s population — have paid to see the cultural phenomenon.

StudioCanal’s “Disco,” coming in No. 2 in France behind “Ch’tis,” dipped 44% in its second frame to $5.1 million from 857 for a cume of $16.9 million. Comedy stars Franck Dubosc as a John Travolta wannabe. Pic is considered a success for distrib StudioCanal.

“Step Up 2 the Streets,” another dance pic, came in No. 5 overseas, grossing $4.6 million from 1,660 playdates in 32 markets, led by a $1.5 French launch and a $1.4 million fourth sesh in Britain. Sequel has cumed $69.5 million internationally through April 13, 23% ahead of the domestic total.

Among new offerings overseas, Universal’s period screwball laffer “Leatherheads,” directed by and starring George Clooney, posted only modest numbers in its first major foreign bows, grossing $2.3 million from 552 runs mostly in the U.K.

The gridiron comedy netted $938,118 at 335 in Britain, good enough for only the sixth spot in a fairly open frame. The bow was roughly half industry expectations. Poor perf is attributed to the subject matter’s lack of appeal to Brit auds. Even so, result is a disappointment for Universal, given that Clooney and co-star Renee Zellweger are popular in Blighty and both touched down in the U.K. to tubthump at the April 8 premiere.

In Italy, where it didn’t open widely, “Leatherheads” obtained a decent $5,600 per-screen average for $1.2 million from 218 for Warner Bros.

Fox’s British launch of Martin Scorsese’s concert docu “Shine A Light” opened ninth in the U.K., taking $663,386 at 150. In previews in Italy, docu scored the Italo frame’s highest per-screen average — a stellar $12,700 — on just seven via BIM.

In limited day-and-date debuts, Sony’s horror pic “Prom Night” scared up a moderate $850,000 at 123 runs in Australia, while Fox’s gritty cop actioner “Street Kings” grabbed $1.3 million at 325 in 10 small markets, including first place finishes in Thailand and Singapore.

Archie Thomas in England, Ed Meza in Germany, Emilio Mayorga in Spain, Nick Vivarelli in Italy and David Hayhurst in France contributed to this report

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