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Bots storm ‘Smurf’ turf overseas

'Real Steel' draws big B.O.

For the first time in nine weeks, “The Smurfs” didn’t rule the international B.O. Instead, Disney’s robo-fighters in “Real Steel” won overseas bragging rights for the Oct. 7-9 sesh.

“Real Steel,” which launched in 19 territories (25% of the international market), debuted with $22.6 million, scoring No. 1 perfs in markets like Australia, Mexico and Russia, where the pic earned one-third of its entire bow, with $7.4 million. Oz contributed $4.1 million and Mexico, $3.1 million.

“The Smurfs” tallied $8.5 million overall, with Oz the pic’s top territory at $2.2 million.

“Smurfs” has managed to stay atop the international B.O., primarily because of a lack of new product entering the market.

And while “Real Steel” still has plenty of markets to enter, the film had a wide-enough bow to eclipse “Smurfs” overall. That hasn’t been the case for previous entries, most of which have avoided extensive day-and-date releases. Post-summer, early-fall berths aren’t very popular overseas, since most moviegoers spend the remaining weeks of summer outdoors, and most fall holidays don’t arrive until around mid-October — a boom time for family fare.

Universal came closest to surpassing Sony’s “Smurfs” during the pic’s eight weeks atop foreign wickets, with the launch of “Johnny English Reborn” the weekend of Sept. 16.

Over the Oct. 7-9 weekend, “Johnny English” made a run at “Real Steel,” adding 10 markets and grossing $21.1 million in its fourth frame, including star Rowan Atkinson’s best bow ever in the U.K. at $7.8 million. Pic also opened on top in Germany, with $3.9 million. The pic has cumed $61 million at the international box office, and is poised to play into school holidays in both countries over the next few weeks.

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