‘Toy Story 3’ becomes top animated film

But 'Inception' is still tops at international B.O.

To infinity and beyond,” indeed: “Toy Story 3” is the highest-grossing toon in the world.

In its ninth week of release, Disney/Pixar’s 3D toon boosted its worldwide totals to a whopping $940.1 million, adding $22.7 million at the international box office through the weekend of Aug. 13-15.

The pic passed DreamWorks Animation’s “Shrek 2” ($919.8 million) and now has its sights set on $1 billion, which would make it the seventh title ever to do so. Currently, “Toy 3” stands as the ninth-highest worldwide grosser, behind Disney’s own “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” ($963.4 million). Twentieth Century Fox’s “Avatar” ranks as all-time global B.O. champ, with revenues at a colossal $2.7 billion.

Despite the toon’s record-setting staying power, “Toy 3” was still one-upped by Warner Bros. sci-fi thriller “Inception,” which in its fifth frame grossed a chart-topping $35.9 million on 7,400 screens in 62 markets. Pic’s international cume reached $315.4 million as of Aug. 15, bringing worldwide totals to $563.9 million.

“Inception” played well in Germany, where it added $4 million to a local cume of $22.7 million. Pic’s take was enough to top the German B.O. for its third straight week, narrowly edging Fox’s debut of “The A-Team,” which grossed $3.2 million at 700 locations. Germany is a notably late addition for “The A-Team,” with Fox having opted to roll out the film primarily during midsummer. Overseas totals for “The A-Team” stand at $84.1 million.

Meanwhile, three high-profile pics entered the domestic market last weekend: “Eat Pray Love,” “The Expendables” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” Only the latter two, however, launched day-and-date overseas. Sony will hold “Eat Pray Love” in most international territories until mid-September, unspooling the pic first in Italy and Japan on Sept. 17.

In the meantime, however, the studio will target its marketing campaign to highlight the film’s love story, says Jay Sands, Sony’s senior VP of international distribution.

Romancers typically play best in Japan, since young femmes make up the majority of the country’s moviegoing population. Italian auds, meanwhile, often are swayed by star power, which could bode well for Julia Roberts’ latest.

“Expendables” launched in some 20 territories, including Spain, where it took in $1.8 million at 315 locations. (Universal distribbed the pic there as part of its deal with Wide Pictures.) The Sylvester Stallone pic ranked second in Spain behind “Inception,” which topped the Spanish B.O. for its second consecutive weekend, taking in $2.9 million for a drop of just 35%. The Leonardo DiCaprio starrer, which has cumed a standout $10.5 million in Spain so far, targeted a similar male-driven demo as “Expendables.” Overall weekend revenues for “Expendables” were $15.9 million internationally.

U’s other Aug. 13-15 release, “Scott Pilgrim,” debuted in Australia and New Zealand to just $1 million on 216 screens; Oz auds contributed some 90% of that total. Oz auds typically go for American comedies, though the pic’s unique storytelling, blending live action with anime and comicbook-like graphics, may have limited its Oz appeal. U hopes the pic will better connect in Russia (bowing Aug. 19) and the U.K. (Aug. 27).

Disney’s fanboy hopeful “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” delivered its own measure of magic at foreign wickets, expanding to key territories like Brazil, France, Japan and the U.K., with a weekend tally of $15 million on 3,225 screens. Pic’s overseas totals through the weekend stand at $72.5 million from 41 territories — nearly 65% of the total international marketplace.

In Gaul, “Apprentice” topped the B.O. with a healthy $4.7 million, registering 12% ahead of the Mouse House’s “National Treasure: Book of Treasures” but behind “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” by 10%. Pic’s Japanese bow took in $3.4 million on 354 screens, while Blighty totals contributed a solid $2 million.

Emilio Mayorga in Barcelona, Mark Schilling in Tokyo, Clifford Coonan in Beijing, Ed Meza in Berlin, Lauren Seligman in Paris and Nick Vivarelli in Rome contributed to this report.

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