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"Smithsonian" atop overseas box-office pedestal
By Frank Segers
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - U.S. box-office leader "Up" dipped its animated toes in international waters during the weekend, but it was "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" that claimed the top spot overseas.
The family comedy from 20th Century fox, a sequel to 2006's "Night at the Museum," reaped $37.2 million from 9,000 screens in 100 markets.
The Ben Stiller-starring movie opened at No. 1 in China, grossing $7.4 million from 818 screens, and finished first in at least 11 other territories, propelling its overseas gross past the $100 million mark to $106 million.
Its worldwide gross to date is $211.3 million.
After two weekends atop the international circuit, Sony's "Angels & Demons" finished a close No. 2 this round, grossing $32.9 million from 10,145 screens in 101 territories.
The follow-up to "The Da Vinci Code" ranked first in at least 14 markets, including Germany, where it tallied $4.8 for the weekend, and Japan ($3.2 million). Its overseas total stands at $251.7 million.
Like DreamWorks Animation's "Monsters vs. Aliens" before it, "Up," the 10th title from Pixar/Disney, opened in Russia before its domestic bow largely because of piracy concerns. It drew an animated $4.2 million from 560 screens, taking the No. 1 spot and marking the biggest weekend opening of a Pixar/Disney title in the territory.
The 3-D animation saga, centering on a septuagenarian (voiced by Ed Asner) whose house is lifted by multiple balloons to the wilds of South America, premiered May 13 at the Cannes Film Festival, where it became the first animation title to kick off that event.
Opening overseas simultaneously with its domestic release was Mandate Pictures' "Drag Me to Hell." It screamed all the way to $4.4 million from a combined 700 screens in the U.K., Israel and France, said Mandate International, which is sharing overseas distribution with Universal. The tongue-in-cheek horror title from Sam Raimi finished at No. 2 in the U.K. and was No. 1 in the Paris area.
No. 3 for the weekend was "Terminator Salvation," which drew an action-packed $13 million from mostly Middle East and Asian markets. Sony, which is sharing overseas distribution with local distributors, said "Salvation" drew $8.6 million from 673 screens, finishing at No. 1 in the seven markets it handled. The international total so far for the fourth "Terminator" title stands at $23.1 million; its worldwide gross is $113.8 million.
Fourth overall was Fox's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," which finished a month on the foreign circuit with an international cume of $170.1 million after an $8.1 million weekend from 5,000 screens in 104 markets. A delayed Mexico opening produced a decisive No. 1 market ranking with $4.4 million from 1,336 screens.
At No. 5 was Paramount's rejuvenated "Star Trek," which rocketed past the $100 million overseas mark ($101.5 million) thanks to an $8 million weekend from 4,869 situations in 59 markets. Its worldwide tally is $311 million.
(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)