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‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Tops Foreign Box Office, ‘Transformers 4’ Eyes $1 Bil.

It was apes over autobots at the global box office this weekend, as “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” ended “Transformers: Age of Extinction’s” dominance of the international charts.

Twentieth Century Fox’s sci-fi sequel racked up $54.4 million from 12,000 screens in over 60 countries. It enjoyed a $13 million debut in Mexico, a $9.3 million opening in Brazil and a $2 million bow in Colombia. It opens next week in 11 more markets, including France, Italy and Belgium, and has already grossed $183.8 million overseas since beginning its worldwide rollout three weeks ago.

It was a weekend of milestones for Paramount’s “Transformers,” which became the first film to cross the $300 million mark in China. Internationally, the film earned $37.5M for the weekend. With a worldwide total of $966.3 million and territories such as Japan still to come, “Transformers: Age of Extinction” will become the first film this year to hit $1 billion, powered largely by foreign audiences. Its overseas gross has more than tripled its domestic number.

“The spectacular results confirm that the movie business has become more and more international,” said Rob Moore, vice chairman of Paramount Pictures.

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In the third spot, Chinese road movie “The Continent” debuted to a sterling $33 million in three days in the People’s Republic and an estimated $45 million over its four day Thursday to Sunday opening run. Directed by blogger, novelist and race car driver Han Han, the film knocked “Tiny Times 3.0” from its spot atop the Chinese box office.

Fourth place winner “Hercules” disappointed stateside when it debuted this weekend, but Dwayne Johnson’s appeal with foreign crowds helped cushion the blow. The Greek myth retread muscled its way to $28.7 million across 26 international markets. The biggest numbers were from Russia where it bowed to $12 million, Australia with a $3 million debut and the United Kingdom with a $2.5 million opening. Paramount Pictures produced the $100-million film with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

In fifth place, DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon 2” soared to $24 million, pushing its foreign total to $260.2 million. The picture opened in Germany and South Korea, but a China debut next month looms large, giving the film a chance to bolster its disappointing domestic numbers.

Sixth was “Kundo: Age of the Rampant,” which had a single territory opening in South Korea. Rentrak estimates the film’s five day Wednesday to Sunday session at a gross of $20.1 million. Local data from the Korean Film Council’s Kobis box office service puts “Kundo” on $23.7 million.

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