Around the World Roundup: 'Pink Panther' Reigns Over 'Vendetta'
V for Vendetta surprisingly stumbled out of the gate with The Pink Panther picking up the pieces. Comedy reigned again as Pink Panther grossed $12.3 million over the weekend for a $47.3 million total.

The two pictures met face-to-face in the United Kingdom, where conventional wisdom would have selected the Britain-set, The Matrix-associated V for Vendetta as champion. Pink Panther, though, emerged victorious with $3.5 million at 400 screens, compared to Vendetta's $2.1 million at 410, which was 61 percent less than the original Matrix. The Pink Panther attributed the rest of its gross to solid holds and a $122,000 debut on 40 screens in New Zealand.

V for Vendetta was on top in Taiwan ($299,000 from 70 prints), Sweden ($244,000 from 40), Singapore ($227,000 from 22) and the Philippines ($213,000 from 45), but none of those openings were impressive. In other major markets, Vendetta failed to generate much interest, with $1 million each in Italy and Germany and $850,000 in Mexico. South Korea was Vendetta's strongest market, where it nabbed $1.3 million from 128 screens to rank second behind a local production.

Overall foreign business has been relatively desolate this year, and still V for Vendetta was unable to take advantage of the uncompetitive market. Its distributor, Warner Bros., had been on a roll, coming off of a record 2005.

Date Movie added $4 million over the weekend for a solid $17.3 million total. The highlight was a second place start in Spain of $1.4 million from 275 screens.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe continued to climb the all time international box office chart. Over the weekend, it reached $414.9 million, surpassing Spider-Man 2's $410.2 million to become the 18th biggest foreign release ever. The family fantasy remained No. 1 in Japan, easing 29 percent to $4 million from 782 screens for a $28.5 million total. In its second frame in China, it earned $1.2 million from 384 screens for a $5.3 million total.

Buena Vista International saw solid bows for its two new dog movies. The Shaggy Dog topped Mexico with $1.1 million from 350 screens, while Eight Below dominated Hong Kong with a strong $644,000 from 35 screens.

In Germany, Brokeback Mountain moseyed to first place, despite declining 18 percent. The romantic drama netted $1.6 million over the weekend from 243 screens for a two-week tally of $4.2 million. With a $76 million overall total, Brokeback will soon pass Munich to become the highest grossing of this year's Best Picture Oscar nominees.