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Around the World Roundup: '10,000 B.C.' Leads as France Crowns New Champ

by Conor Bresnan
A scene from 10,000 B.C.
March 29, 2008

The top news at the foreign box office for Easter week was the record-breaking performance of Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis. On Wednesday, the French comedy reached $140 million and surpassed Titanic as France's highest grossing movie of all time. While Titanic still holds the local currency record, Bienvenue looks to fly past that mark as well, given its unprecedented $18.1 million fourth weekend, and the picture's 15.3 million admissions is the equivalent of 25 percent of the country's population, more than doubling the reach of last year's top grosser, Ratatouille. Overall, Bienvenue's weekend gross was $19.7 million from just three French-speaking territories, and its first non-French market will be the United Kingdom on April 1.

Playing in 62 territories, 10,000 B.C. took the international crown last weekend, making $27.7 million for a $117.4 million total. The prehistoric adventure's most prominent opening was China, where it was second to fellow debut, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, with $3.6 million on 1,000 screens. It marked China's largest digital release with 537 digital screens. Elsewhere, the movie saw good holds thanks to the Easter holiday, and Latin America was particularly impressive, including a two percent increase in Argentina and drops of 30 percent or less in Brazil and Chile.

Doubling its market count to 58, Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! snared $24.2 million last weekend for a $49.8 million total. The computer-animated comedy wasn't all that impressive in most debuts but is in good position to take advantage of the school holidays occurring over Europe in the coming weeks. Horton fell less than 30 percent in most of its holdovers and even grew by 31 percent in Spain to $2.6 million to lead the market. In the U.K., it bested three other high level releases, including The Spiderwick Chronicles, with $5.8 million from 501 screens.

Placing fourth with a disappointing $15.9 million from 48 territories was The Spiderwick Chronicles, lifting its tally to $30.9 million. The fantasy's release strategy has been similar to Horton, but its openings have been poorer. On the plus side, it's a tougher sell than the Dr. Seuss adaptation and has seen better holds. It rose three percent in Colombia, grew seven percent in the Netherlands and fell just 31 percent in Malaysia, though it opened in seventh place in Germany and a sixth place in Italy. A second-ranked $5.1 million in the U.K. was by far its best start and its most impressive run has been in Mexico ($4.5 million in three weeks).

Suggesting that Step Up wasn't a fluke, Step Up 2 the Streets entered the top five with a solid $12.7 million haul from 25 markets. Its $38.3 million tally means it will blow past Step Up's $48.9 million final gross. The dance sequel had a terrific launch in the U.K. with $4.7 million from 347 screens and ranked first in Australia, thumping both Horton and Drillbit Taylor with $2.4 million from 188 screens. Not only that, its holdovers have been outstanding as the movie has exceeded its predecessor in eleven markets, including nearly doubling it in South Korea and more than tripling it in the Czech Republic.

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