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‘Ice’ leads Fox past overseas mark

Studio first to cross $1 bil in foreign B.O. revenues

Thanks to the mammoth opening of 3-D toon “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” 20th Century Fox has become the first studio of the year to cross the $1 billion mark in foreign box office revenues.

But Paramount had its own benchmark to tout: It’s the first studio this year to jump the $1 billion mark domestically, fueled by “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” which has reached $300 million faster than any film save “The Dark Knight.”

The “Transformers” sequel, which opened June 24, has also quickly become the most successful film of the year at the global box office.

Sony’s “Angels and Demons,” however, remains the top foreign grosser of the year at $344 million, although “Revenge of the Fallen” is quickly catching up.

Over the weekend, “Dawn of the Dinosaurs” debuted to $151.7 million at the international B.O., grossing $190 million through Tuesday. Toon’s domestic total through Tuesday was $80.4 million for a worldwide tally of $270.4 million in its seventh day in release.

To date, “Transformers 2” has earned $305.5 million domestically and north of $302 million internationally for a worldwide tally of at least $607.5 million.

“Revenge of the Fallen” opened to $166.1 million at the foreign B.O., the fourth best international debut of all time.

At the domestic B.O., it reached $300 million in 14 days, besting “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.”

“Ice Age 3” narrowly lost the weekend domestic race to “Transformers 2” but pulled ahead on Monday, grossing $6.6 million on Monday and $7.1 million on Tuesday. “Transformers 2” grossed $6.4 million and $5.8 million Monday and Tuesday.

Overseas, “Ice Age 3” remains far in the lead, underscoring the franchise’s tremendous popularity.

Toon’s opening weekend gross of $151.7 million was the best ever for an animated film, as well as the sixth best opening of all time. Film also shattered records in individual territories.

Fox co-prexies of international distribution Paul Hanneman and Tomas Jegeus said a number of pics are responsible for the studio’s stellar 2009 foreign run.

Those include the studio’s two other summer tentpoles, “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” which has cumed $207.2 million to date internationally, and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” grossing $184.7 million to date. “Museum 2” and “Wolverine” have yet to open in Japan, almost certainly a big territory for each.

Earlier in the year, Fox released Tom Cruise starrer “Valkyrie” overseas, where the Nazi drama grossed a boffo $90 million. Fox’s “Marley and Me,” released in December, grossed $98.1 million in this calendar year for a foreign cume of $100.3 million, while “Australia” grossed $99 million in 2009 after its fall 2008 release. That film’s foreign cume was $158.3 million.

In Brazil, Fox scored with local production “If I Were You 2,” which grossed $21.7 million, the second-highest number of all time after “Titanic.”

“Our films have done great business, even if they haven’t been as touted as much as ‘Angels and Demons’ or ‘Transformers,’ ” Hanneman said.

Other 2009 titles include “Bride Wars,” which grossed $56.3 million overseas, and “Dragonball: Evolution” ($48.3 million).

“Ice Age 3” and “Transformers 2” still have plenty of elbow room at the box office, but the landscape will become a lot more treacherous once Warner Bros.’ “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” opens day and date on July 15.

Warners will likely jump the $1 billion mark internationally, while Paramount isn’t far behind either.

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