‘Fast’ tops foreign box office again

'Monsters vs. Aliens' stays strong

Universal’s “Fast and Furious” and DreamWorks Animation/Paramount’s “Monsters vs. Aliens” closed out a bountiful spring at the international box office over the April 24-26 weekend.

“Fast and Furious,” the fourth outing in the action franchise, topped the B.O. for the third straight weekend, grossing $15.9 million from 6,333 playdates in 58 territories for a foreign cume of $170.9 million and a worldwide total of $316.7 million.

That far eclipses the overseas grosses for the previous films in the franchise. Original “The Fast and the Furious” cumed $96 million overseas; “2 Fast 2 Furious,” $109 million; and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” $96 million.

“Monsters vs. Aliens” stayed at No. 2, grossing $10.7 million over the frame for foreign total of $142.9 million and worldwide cume of $318.2 million. The toon has been an important test for the nascent 3-D business, both domestically and overseas.

“Fast” and “Monsters” are the two biggest foreign grossers of the year to date, but that should soon change as the summer box office kicks off with the U.S. and international release of 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”

One of the few territories where “Wolverine” didn’t open was Mexico, where the swine flu epidemic has forced circuits to shut down cinemas in Mexico City and other major cities.

“Wolverine,” with Hugh Jackman returning in the headlining role, is a well-known franchise overseas.

Filmmaker Gavin Hood’s “Wolverine” is the second film in the franchise to kick off the summer season after “X2: X-Men United” bowed on May 2, 2003. The first “X-Men” grossed $139 million internationally, slightly trailing the domestic gross of $157.3 million.

“X2” cumed $192.8 million internationally, and $214.9 million domestically. “X-Men: The Last Stand” grossed $225 million internationally, compared to $234.4 million domestically.

With “Wolverine” sucking up plenty of oxygen, there will be less breathing room for holdover titles as summer gets under way.

But holdovers can still do solid business.

Zac Efron starrer “17 Again” showed strength over the frame, coming in No. 3 overseas and grossing an estimated $6.8 million from 1,417 playdates in 17 territories for a foreign cume of $27.5 million in its third weekend. Pic has grossed $40.4 million domestically for a worldwide total of $67.9 million through April 26.

Sci-fi actioner “Knowing” will likely be more impacted by “Wolverine.” Over the last frame, “Knowing” placed No. 4 in its eighth sesh, grossing an estimated $5.9 million from 3,123 in 34 territories for a foreign cume of $66.7 million and worldwide tally of $143.6 million.

In France, school holidays and the cross-cultural appeal of “17 Again” had the film sitting pretty for Metropolitan, earning $2.95 million on 392 in its first five days.

Among local titles, Warners’ “Coco Before Chanel” went up against spy comedy “OSS 117: Lost in Rio.” Box office observers had hoped for a bit more than $2.74 million from the buzz-saturated Coco Chanel biopic featuring Audrey Tautou, which received generally favorable reviews.

Spoof “OSS 117,” stayed top dog at the Gallic box office despite a decline of 45% in its second frame, cuming almost $12.6 million on 602 for Gaumont.

In Italy, scoring strong holdover biz was local helmer Francesca Archibugi’s comedy “Questione di cuore” (A Matter of the Heart), which slid just 17% to stay at No. 3 in its sophomore frame. “Heart” grossed $810,000 off 264 via 01 Distribuzione for a $2.1 million two-week cume.

Italo social comedy “Generazione Mille Euro” (Generation One-Thousand Euros), revolving around the country’s underpaid young workers, debuted in line with expectations at $702,000 from 267 via 01 Distribuzione.

For the second time in less than a month, a Spanish laffer topped charts with some boffo numbers, despite auds distracted by major soccer matches. Fox’s “Fuga de cerebros” grossed $1.6 million from 255 for a print average of $6,128.

David Hayhurst in Paris, Emilio Mayorga in Madrid, Ed Meza in Berlin and Nick Vivarelli in Rome contributed to this report.

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