"Compass" leads the way at foreign box office

Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:49am EST
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By Hy Hollinger

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - With a solid foreign debut of $51 million -- revised down from a weekend estimate of $55 million -- "The Golden Compass" makes up for its disappointing opening in North America.

Foreign box office experts believe New Line Cinema's $180 million fantasy can ring up more $200 million internationally.

"Compass," they point out, can look forward to extended playdates and key openings during the lucrative holiday season as well as a March 1 date in Japan.

The foreign bow compares with a three-day haul of $25.8 million in North America, which was about $340,000 lower than estimates provided on Sunday. It remains unclear whether the film can provide the franchise that New Line is seeking to replace the extraordinary "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

The best of the 25 foreign markets was Britain, where the film ranked No. 1 with five-day earnings of $11.9 million, down from a weekend estimate of $18 million.

Director Chris Weitz' adaptation of the first of British author Philip Pullman's controversial "His Dark Materials" trilogy also took top honors in Spain ($8 million in five days), France ($5.8 million in five days), Germany ($4.8 million in four), Scandinavia, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore.

Italy and a batch of eastern European countries greet "Compass" this coming weekend.

Disney's fairytale "Enchanted" charmed family audiences, bringing in $11.4 million from 21 countries to lift its international gross to $36 million. It opened at No. 1 in Italy with $3.4 million. Tallies include $9.8 million in France after 12 days, and $8.4 million in Spain after three weekends.   Continued...

<p>Cast members, from L-R, Dakota Blue Richards, French actress Eva Green and British actor Daniel Craig pose during a photocall for U.S. director Chris Weitz's film "The Golden Compass" at the 60th Cannes Film Festival May 21, 2007. REUTERS/Yves Herman</p>