French comedy dominates foreign box office

Mon Mar 3, 2008 9:26pm EST
 
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By Hy Hollinger

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - A French comedy claimed the No. 1 spot at the foreign box office last weekend, thanks to a phenomenal $37.7 million opening in its home country.

"Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis" (Welcome to the Land of Shtis), a fish-out-of-water tale about a postal worker, dominated the local market, earning about 12 times more than the No. 2 picture, "Asterix at the Olympic Games."

Discounting "Ch'tis," the top international movie was "Jumper," which had led the foreign field for the previous two weekends. This time around, the sci-fi fantasy picked up $12.8 million from 44 markets, opening at No. 1 in Italy with $2 million, as well as in Israel, Lithuania and Romania. The overseas gross stands at $81.9 million, led by $14.3 million from the U.K. and $10.2 million from Korea.

A week before its North American release, the London-set heist thriller "The Bank Job" opened at No. 1 in the U.K. with $1.8 million. Second spot went to "Semi-Pro" with $1.5 million; the basketball comedy opened at No. 1 in North America with a disappointing $15.1 million.

Bolstered by 20 openings, the thriller "Vantage Point" pulled in $11.9 million from 26 markets to provide an early foreign tally of $14.4 million.

Best-picture Oscar winner "No Country for Old Men" jumped into the limelight with $9.1 million from 38 markets to lift its international gross to $50.1 million. "There Will be Blood," also carrying Oscar honors, pulled in $5.4 million from 39 markets to raise its foreign total to $17.8 million.

Other foreign totals: "The Golden Compass," $264.3 million; "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," $219.7 million; "Sweeney Todd," $89.5 million; "Atonement," $72.6 million; "Juno," $42 million; "The Bucket List," $41.8 million; "Charlie Wilson's War," $40.4 million; and "27 Dresses," $34.2 million.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

 
<p>A scene from the French comedy "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis" (Welcome to the Land of Shtis). The film claimed the No. 1 spot at the foreign box office last weekend, thanks to a phenomenal $37.7 million opening in its home country. REUTERS/Path&eacute; Distribution/Handout</p>