Around the World Roundup: 'Asterix' Leaps to the Top
French family comedy sequel Astérix aux jeux olympiques took the gold last weekend, amassing an impressive $38.7 million from 19 territories. Astérix, based on France's popular comic book series, earned over 60 percent of its weekend gross from its home territory alone. At $23.4 million, its French debut topped all of its predecessors in terms of box office though not necessarily in admissions. It was the largest opening in more than a year there and just marginally less than the combined openings of recent successes La Vie en Rose and Taxi 4. Other territories ranged for small to huge depending on the series' popularity in each market. For instance, in the United Kingdom, Astérix earned a mere $19,585 from 3 screens but, in Greece, claimed an enormous, first-place $1.8 million from 60 screens. Other top-ranked starts were found in Austria ($579,310), Belgium ($1.7 million), Hungary ($267,057) and Portugal ($660,554) among many others. Another solid launch was in Russia, where the picture grossed a healthy $4.4 million, narrowly topping last weekend's hit The Very Best Film, which tumbled 72 percent after its record-breaking debut. Astérix will roll out into a handful markets throughout the rest of February but has few other significant releases.

Rising to second place was Cloverfield, which earned $18.7 million from 32 countries for a $36.1 million total, though it continued its mostly modest run. In South Korea, it dove 79 percent from its already soft launch to seventh place. In Germany, it opened in sixth place with $1.4 million, while, in Spain, it recorded a third place debut of $2.1 million. The only good starts were in U.K. ($6.9 million, leading the nation), Mexico ($1.5 million) and Italy ($2.3 million). Cloverfield will struggle to match its $73 million domestic tally.

With no significant openings, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street lost 48 percent of its business, drawing $9.5 million from 19 nations for a $46.5 million total. The musical still has much of the world left and should easily top $100 million before the end of its run. In fourth place last weekend, I Am Legend was off 51 percent in its eighth week, taking in $8 million for a $304 million total.

American Gangster reentered the Top Five, nabbing $7.9 million last weekend for a $114.9 million total. The crime drama was bolstered by a $2.3 million second-place launch in Japan. It also opened in Mexico, ranking fifth with a paltry $820,482. Gangster is on track to match The Departed's $157.5 million final gross.


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