Meet the Fockers also bowed strongly in Brazil ($1,033,868 from 190 screens) and Portugal ($498,987 from 58 screens). Fueled mostly by the U.K., though, it handily was No. 1 overall internationally with $19.2 million from 15 countries for a $58.8 million total.
Aside from Meet the Fockers, the Oscar nominees dominated the international marketplace.
Thanks to 11 Academy Awards nominations, The Aviator flew high over the weekend with No. 1 openings in Mexico, Italy, France and Scandinavia. France recorded the best start with $3.9 million, topping blockbusters like Signs, The Mummy Returns and The Passion of the Christ but failing to beat similar award pictures like Gangs of New York and Saving Private Ryan. In Mexico, it was tops despite stiff competition from openers The Grudge and local title Voces inocentes, grossing $1.215 million from 437 screens—87 percent of Catch Me If You Can but 42 percent bigger than A Beautiful Mind. Italy contributed $2.8 million from 438 prints, Finland $149,924 from 20 and Denmark $249,535 from 30.
Oscar attention also helped The Aviator hold extremely well. In Germany, Martin Scorsese's epic abated 16 percent for $4.6 million in two weeks. Spain was off 20 percent for $6.2 million in three weeks, and the U.K. eased by 31 percent for $11.1 million in its fifth week in wide release. Overall, The Aviator has pulled in $34.7 million so far.
Closer, fresh off its Supporting Actor and Actress nominations, grossed $9.8 million from 27 markets for a $45.1 million total, eclipsing domestic's $33.5 million. The drama bowed at No. 1 in Australia, grossing $1,251,225 from 157 screens over the four-day weekend for a $1,623,625 total including sneak previews, unseating Meet the Fockers (after five weeks at the top) and beating Ray and Sideways' debuts by over 100 percent. It also had an impressive opening in the Netherlands with $235,791 from 27 screens. With 28 markets down, it still has Japan, Scandinavia and South Korea to go.
Best Picture nominee Sideways enjoyed strong results in its first major markets. In Australia, the Alexander Payne-directed comedy grossed a solid $411,260 from 59 screens (for a $815,486 total including sneaks), topping the debut Payne's last picture About Schmidt, which went on to earn $2.6 million. In the U.K., Sideways nabbed $656,000 from a limited 72 screens—Schmidt opened at a wider 200 screens on its way to $6.2 million. In Greece, Sideways is on course to beat Schmidt's $573,117, but, to match Schmidt's $40.8 million overseas total, Sideways will need to do very well in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan.
Fellow Best Picture nominee Ray expanded into 12 more territories over the weekend, grossing $3,623,606 at 1,176 dates in 22 total markets and raising the international tally to $8.9 million. The highlight was Australia's $847,666 opening at 169 dates, ranking No. 4. The musical drama about Ray Charles also debuted in Japan at No. 5 with $400,005 from 103 screens—any Japan opening with a screen average less than $5,000 usually signals a short run there. In Spain, it bowed to $360,665 from 126 screens, ranking eighth in the marketplace. Openings elsewhere were moderate and seemed to hint that Ray isn't going to play well outside of the English-speaking markets. Seabiscuit also had a poor reception in non-English markets, with Japan's $11.7 million as its one exception. Overall, Seabiscuit did $28.1 million overseas, and Ray, which still has 30 territories to go including Brazil and Mexico this weekend, might struggle to reach $25 million.
Ocean's Twelve held quite well in Japan over the weekend, falling 29 percent to $3.9 million from 510 screens there and remaining in first place, ahead of opener The Phantom of the Opera, for a $15.43 million total. Overall the star-studded caper amassed $7.4 million in more than 50 countries for a $185 million total. It opens in the U.K. this weekend.
Elektra continued its better-than-domestic-but-still-not-that-great run overseas with a $5.5 million weekend from 21 markets for a $14.4 million total. The Marvel Comics adaptation opened in first place in Spain with $1.9 million from 350 screens. Other No. 1 starts included Thailand's $556,000 from 155 screens, the Philippines' $462,000 on 109, Malaysia's $214,000 on 40, New Zealand's $177,000 on 40 and Indonesia's $142,000 on 52. It also opened in Taiwan with a third place $238,000 on 91 screens.
The Phantom of the Opera is becoming a topsy-turvy production with hits and misses that follow no rhyme or reason. The fact that it's being handled by a different distributor in almost every market is the culprit. Over the weekend, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical was a success in Japan, grossing $3.1 million from 269 screens. That will lead to a $15 million plus total, which will give it a chance at the century mark in international receipts. Thanks to $16.9 million in the U.K. and $11.6 million in South Korea, it already has $61 million in the till. Soft totals like Spain's $3.4 million and Italy's $1.4 million haven't helped.
A Very Long Engagement had some nice debuts in Europe over the weekend leading to a $3 million haul in 19 countries and a $43.9 million total. On 244 screens in Germany, the World War I drama grossed $1.045 million, 76% of Amelie but 12% bigger than Big Fish. French movies are the second most popular foreign language pictures in Germany (behind the U.S.), so Engagement's success comes as no surprise. In Spain, the picture grossed a sturdy $586,800 from 121 prints—a result on par with Amelie. In Greece, it topped Amelie by 80 percent with a $302,300 opening from 24 prints. Sweden's opening of $112,800 from 12 prints was 4 percent below Amelie. In its second weekend in the U.K., it fell only 26 percent to $430,600 for an impressive $1.368 million total.
Blade: Trinity remained No. 1 in its second weekend in Germany and Austria. In Germany, the vampire hunting sequel tumbled 58 percent to $1,913,054 on 526 screens for a $7,390,240 total; while, in Austria, it took in $366,068 from 87 screens for a $1,450,315 total. The final installment in the Blade franchise pushed its international total to $48.1 million.
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events had decent starts in Denmark, Turkey and the German-speaking territories, which helped lift its international total to $55.6 million. In Germany, the Jim Carrey family adventure grossed $1,277,285 from 398 screens, comparable to The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and Around the World in 80 Days. It picked up $191,298 from 50 screens in Austria, while Germany-speaking Switzerland yielded $89,347 from 29 screens. Denmark recorded a third place debut of $145,468 from 35 screens, and Turkey had a $260,152 opening from 99 screens. The U.K.'s $24,933,017 run and Australia's $7,135,832 have been Lemony's best showings, and, with over half the world to go, the movie could pass $100 million overall.