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Russia’s ‘Koltchak’ rings up rubles

Love story topples 'Mamma Mia' at box office

Russian pic “Koltchak” got off to an epic start, topping the international box office chart for the Oct. 10-12 weekend while grossing $13.7 million from 1,088 playdates in Russia and the Ukraine for an impressive per-screen average of $11,185.

Even more impressive, “Koltchak” (The Admiral) overtook Universal’s blockbuster musical “Mamma Mia!,” which had stayed at No. 1 for six weeks running.

A love story set against the backdrop of the Russian revolution, the Channel 1/Solyaris production is being distributed by Fox, which has been aggressively trying to ramp up its presence in Russia.

“Koltchak” grossed $11.3 million in Russia, which reps the best launch there since Will Smith starrer “Hancock,” which opened to $11.8 million in July.

Paramount’s thriller “Eagle Eye” also fared nicely, coming in No. 2 at the international B.O. with a gross of $10.9 million at 3,113 in 41 markets, led by a $3.2 million South Korean launch. Opening ahead of a crowded pack of local titles, “Eye” spied the top spot from 645,000 admissions on 390 screens in a release handled by DreamWorks’ longterm partner CJ Entertainment.

“Mamma Mia” placed No. 3 over the Oct. 10-12 frame, grossing $8.4 million in its 15th week in release for a stunning foreign cume of $390.7 million. Domestic cume is $143 million for a whopping worldwide total of $533.8 million. The Universal musical is on the verge of becoming only the fourth film this year to jump the $400 million mark overseas after “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “The Dark Knight” and “Kung Fu Panda.”

The Coen brothers’ “Burn After Reading” came in No. 4 overall for the frame, grossing $5.8 million from 956 playdates. It was the top opener in Spain, where it grossed $2.5 million at 316 playdates for an excellent per-location average of $8,040. Still early in its international run, “Burn’s” foreign cume is $21 million in its fourth frame.

Taking fifth place at the international box office was Disney/Pixar’s persistent pleaser “Wall-E.” Family pic grossed $5.4 million in its 16th sesh for a foreign cume of $238.1 million. Domestic total is $221.6 million.

Coming in sixth was Japanese film “Yogisha X no Kenshin.” The pic grossed $5.1 million from 410 playdates in its second sesh for a cume of $15.1 million.

In Europe, business was moderate over the weekend. The most notable highlight was Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” which bowed brightly in France in grossing $3.9 million from 412 playdates in its first five days. “Vicky Cristina” brought in $5.1 million internationally from 761 playdates for a foreign cume of $8.7 million in its fourth sesh. Film took the No. 7 spot on the international box office chart.

In Gaul, Allen’s latest feature rode a wave of good reviews.

“It’s more than an excellent result,” Francis Boespflug, prexy of distribution and production at Warner Bros. France, says. “We’re expecting more than 560,000 admissions by the end of the week, and that could reach a million soon. We’re expecting it to be the best result ever for a Woody Allen film in France.”

Sony’s romp “The House Bunny” was next on the chart, with $5 million at 1,585 in 25 markets for a cume of $8.7 million in its third weekend. “Bunny” opened No. 1 in the U.K., where it collected $1.6 million at 346 screens. (Theater traffic in the U.K. was slowed by Indian summer weather.)

Hit of the weekend in the U.K. was undoubtedly Naples-set mafia pic “Gomorrah.” Pic scored a chart-topping per-screen average of $7,713 in grossing $301,104 at 39. Optimum Releasing benefited from plenty of positive reviews from Brit critics.

Continuing to show strong legs in Germany was “The Baader-Meinhof Complex,” which, along with “Wall-E,” topped the box office chart in the territory. “Meinhof” took in $2.6 million in its third frame for a cume of $16.1 million in its third sesh.

Marco Kreupaintner’s fantasy epic “Krabat” was the best performing new release in Germany, taking in just north of $2 million from 359, giving it a strong $5,605 screen average. While praising “Krabat” as a visual delight, one local exhib says the film’s dark tone made it ill-suited for tots, who remain drawn to “Wall-E.”

Norway also saw action with Norwegian horror pic “Cold Prey II.” From director Mats Stenberg, the film grossed a socko $1.7 million in its debut, the best opener in Norway since 2003. The first “Cold Prey” opened in Norway in 2006 to $88,000 on its way to cuming $3.8 million.

Dave McNary in Los Angeles, Andrew Horn in Germany, Emilio Mayorga in Spain, Nick Vivarelli in Italy, David Hayhurst in France, Gunnar Rehlin in Norway and Han Sunhee in Seoul contributed to this report.