‘Mamma Mia!’ still singing overseas

Streep starrer grosses $28.9 million in third sesh

You go, girl.

Universal’s Meryl Streep-Amanda Seyfried musical “Mamma Mia” continued to sing sweetly over the July 18-20 frame at the international box office, grossing $28.9 million in its third sesh from 2,390 playdates in 21 markets for a boffo cume of $73.2 million. Film, based on the long-running West End play, boasted the best per location average of the weekend at a $11,124.

Musicals haven’t historically traveled so well overseas, but “Mamma Mia” is bucking that trend. It has yet to roll out in 35 markets, and some are predicting that it could see the same robust business that chick flick “Sex and the City” has enjoyed this summer. “City” has grossed more than $225 million offshore.

“Chicago,” one of the highest earning musical abroad, grossed $136 million at the international box office; “Moulin Rouge” grossed $120 million at the international B.O. Last summer’s “Hairspray” grossed $81.7 million.

“Mamma Mia” placed No. 4 for the July 18-20 frame.

Sony’s Will Smith tentpole “Hancock” continued to dominate, coming in No. 1 overall and grossing $45.6 million from 8,506 playdates for a foreign cume of $254.6 million. Domestic total is $191.5 million, bringing the worldwide gross to a muscle-bound $446.2 million.

Weekend probably marked “Hancock’s” last time in the top spot before Warner Bros.’ Batman sequel “The Dark Knight” begins opening in Europe over the July 25-27 frame.

“Dark Knight” threw its U.K. premiere on July 21, just as word broke that Batman star Christian Bale was questioned by police in London in connection with assault accusations. Publicity probably only served to further whip up interest in the “Dark Knight,” which is a smash success in the U.S.

Warners is rolling out “Dark Knight” slowly overseas. Coinciding with its July 18 U.S. debut, “Dark Knight” opened in 20 territories overseas, grossing a strong $41.3 million from 4,520 playdates. Australia – home country of the late Heath Ledger, who plays the Joker – led with $13.3 million. That’s the best opening ever for a superhero pic.

Pic took in $6.6 million in Mexico, and $4.3 million in Brazil, where it nabbed the best opening number of the year.

Opening performance of “Dark Knight” portends blockbuster business for other territories. Pic bowed in territories including the U.K., Italy and Holland on July 25.

Coming in No. 3 at the international box office over the July 18-20 weekend was DreamWorks Animation toon “Kung Fu Panda,” which grossed $29 million from 6,506 playdates for a hearty cume of $273.2 million. Pic’s worldwide gross is a pleasing $479.8 million.

Placing No. 5 for the frame was mega-budget Chinese actioner “Red Cliff,” which grossed $17.1 million from 2,021 playdates for a cume of $46.3 million in its second sesh. Film held well in China, but fell steeply in those Asian territories where it faced fresh competish.

In Europe, the box office surged. “Mamma Mia” topped the charts in its soph sesh in the U.K. The Abba musical dipped just 31% to $9.1 million at 495 screens for a $33.8 million running take for Universal. The feel-good counterprogrammer hasn’t hit a dud note since its star-studded June 30 world premiere in London.

Disney’s “Wall-E” opened in second with $8.5 million at 501. The Pixar toon, which has been heavily promoted in Blighty, scored an impressive screen average of $16,990.

Overall weekend U.K. biz was upbeat with the top six pics in the charts clearing $1 million. “Hancock” and “Kung Fu Panda” both put in decent showings in their third outings. Third-placed “Hancock” dipped 45% to $4 million and a $41.6 million. “Panda” dropped 46% to $3 million and a cume of $27.7 million.

Racy teen horror title “Donkey Punch” failed to knockout Brit cinema auds. Local sexually charged scarer directed by Olly Blackburn and starring rising local thesp Jaime Winstone banked just $290,080 at 155 per Optimum Releasing.

“Mamma Mia!” soared to the top of the charts in Germany, enjoying the biggest opening ever for a musical. “Abba is cult here, and with Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan, it was a guaranteed hit. They are both hugely popular actors in Germany,” noted one exhib.

Ed Meza in Germany, Emilio Mayorga in Spain, Michael Day in Italy, David Hayhurst in France, Patrick Frater in Hong Kong and Dave McNary in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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