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Sweet box office dreams for ‘Pajamas’

Spanish drama nabs $7 million overseas

Holocaust drama “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” continued to do strong business at the international box office over the Sept. 26-28 frame in what’s good news for Miramax and parent studio Disney.

Based on the tome by John Boyne, “Boy” grossed $4 million in its third frame from 453 theaters for a solid cume of $7 million.

Miramax doesn’t open the drama in the U.S. until Nov. 7. Disney is distributing abroad.

Mark Herman directed the film, which was produced by David Heyman.

“Boy” debuted at No. 1 in Spain over the Sept. 26-28 weekend, ahead of “Tropic Thunder” in what was a competitive frame. “Boy” grossed $3.2 million from 260 for a strong per-location average of $12,210.

“We expected a nice performance of ‘Boy’; it got a very good response at the San Sebastian fest,” a local booker says. “However, most of us thought that ‘Tropic’ could snatch first place.

The Holocaust drama is displaying great staying power in the U.K. The film fell just 11% in its third sesh for a cume of $3.7 million.

Another film dealing with Germany history also is enjoying attention at the international box office: “Der Baader Meinhof Complex,” about the early days of the West German terrorist faction the Red Army Faction (RAF), the most prominent postwar terrorist group. The film opened at No. 2 in Germany over the Sept. 26-28 frame, grossing $4.6 million from 550. That wasn’t enough to beat out the opening of Disney’s “Wall-E,” which waltzed in with $5.2 million at 690 runs, but “Complex” posted the better screen average, $8,377 vs. 7,587.

The combined punch of the two high-profile openers gave the weekend a hefty 58% bump from last week and a 9% rise from the same weekend last year. “Complex” is from Constantin.

The best home-turf performer of the weekend was Cannes Palme d’Or winner “The Class,” which claimed top spot at French wickets. The pic ode the award and mostly rave reviews to an opening gross of $3.1 million from 368 in its first five days, delighting distrib Haut et Court. The film is the tale of a year in the life of a teacher and his junior high school students in a tough quarter of Paris.

Another new release, “Faubourg 36,” was a close second in France at more than $3 million on 594 for Pathe.

The standout Italo pic is 59-year-old first-timer Gianni Di Gregorio’s “Mid-August Lunch,” winner of Venice’s Lion of the Future. “Lunch” slipped only 18% in its fourth frame, pulling $320,000 from 116, via Fandango. Bittersweet comedy, shot on a $70,000 budget, has cumed a tasty $1.7 million to date.

In the U.K., “Righteous Kill” missed the target in its bow, taking in $1.4 million at 322 for Lionsgate. Despite the pairing of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, the pic had trouble gaining much traction. Bookers partly attribute the quiet opening to its poor trailer. For the frame overall, “Righteous Kill” grossed $4.7 million from 1,151 runs for a foreign cume of $8 million in its fourth sesh.

Elsewhere at the international box office, Universal’s “Mamma Mia!” came in No. 1 overall for the fourth weekend in a row, grossing $15.6 million from 4,152 in its 13th sesh for an astounding foreign cume of $356.6 million. The pic is a runaway hit in territories like the U.K. and Germany. By the end of the weekend, the musical reached 3.9 million total admissions in Germany, making it the most successful film at the German B.O. this year.

While not the socko B.O. performer in Gaul it has been elsewhere in Europe, “Mamma Mia!” is showing some legs, off by only 25% in its third frame. A cume of nearly $8.5 million on 462 has Universal happy. “We’re pleased because most Broadway musicals are unknown in France,” distribution topper Stephane Huard says.

Andrew Horn in Germany, Emilio Mayorga in Spain, Nick Vivarelli in Italy, David Hayhurst in France contributed to this report.