Russian epic “Koltchak” and “Eagle Eye” knocked international sensation “Mamma Mia!” out of the top slot at the foreign box office for the first time in six weeks during a typically moderate fall frame.
The frame also saw Warner Bros.’ “Body of Lies” open respectably in a limited offshore launch with $3.2 million at 656 playdates in seven markets, led by a first-place $1.5 million debut in Australia. Domestic winner “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” dug up $3 million at 935 in seven markets — half of that from its second Mexican frame — to push foreign grosses past $10 million.
“Koltchak,” a love story set amid the Russian Revolution, topped the chart with $12.8 million at 1,088 playdates in the red-hot Russian and Ukrainian markets for an impressive $11,785 per-location average. The Channel 1/Solyaris production, costing a reported $20 million, is being distributed by Fox.
“Koltchak,” also known as “The Admiral,” grossed $11.3 million in Russia — the biggest launch in the market since “Hancock” opened with $11.8 million in July.
With summer-like temps holding down European biz, Paramount’s “Eagle Eye” flew over the rest of the Hollywood entries with $11.2 million at 3,113 in 41 markets. South Korea delivered nicely with a $3.1 million launch, but other openings were far quieter, with $1.1 million in Germany and $926,000 in Spain.
“Eagle Eye,” still early in its foreign run, has cumed $30 million overseas. It launches in the U.K. and Japan next weekend.
“Mamma Mia!” continued to gather foreign coin with $8 million at 4,100 — all from holdover biz and enough to push the feel-good vehicle’s international cume to $390.5 million. Best number came from the pic’s $2 million Italian soph sesh, off only 23%.
“Mamma Mia!” should become the fourth film this year to hit the $400 million mark in foreign grosses, joining “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “The Dark Knight” and “Kung Fu Panda.” Overseas “Mamma Mia!” biz has dwarfed the $143 million domestic cume with seven more markets to open, including Japan in January.
The international “Mamma” numbers portend a potential box office spike in two weeks when Disney goes day and date in many key markets with its high-profile tuner “High School Musical 3: Senior Year.” Overall foreign biz for 2008 for the six major studios has been lagging slightly over last year’s record-setting pace but “Musical 3,” Sony’s “Quantum of Solace,” Par’s “Madagascar 2” and Fox’s “The Day the Earth Stood Still” may have enough drawing power to close the gap by the end of the year.
“Wall-E” stayed a player for family audiences with $5.8 million at 3,159 in 38 markets to push the foreign total to $238.6 million. The Mouse House, which has opted for a gradual release on the toon, opens “Wall-E” in Italy next weekend.
The frame also saw Sony’s “The House Bunny” turn in a moderate $5 million at 1,585 in 25 markets, led by a first-place $1.7 million opening in the U.K., edging the second frame of “How to Lose Friends & Alienate People.” As with many American laffers, “Bunny” returns were much quieter in the non-English speaking debuts with $900,000 in Spain, $725,000 in Germany and $400,000 in France.
By contrast, “Burn After Reading” scored well with a $2.7 million first-place Spanish launch for Universal, pushing the foreign cume to around $20 million early in the comedy’s international run.
Universal’s “Wanted” continued to underscore the foreign appetite for actioners, shooting down $3.8 million at 1,536 thanks mostly to a $2.4 million launch in China. The Angelina Jolie vehicle’s due to cross the $200 million international mark within two weeks.
And Miramax’s “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” remained a solid draw with $2.1 million at 435 for a cume of $14.7 million from Spain and the U.K. The Holocaust drama opens domestically on Nov. 7.