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.
"Bee Movie," stepping up its openings as the year-end holiday approaches, pulled in $10.5 million from 19 markets. Australia greeted the Jerry Seinfeld cartoon at No. 1 with $2.2 million. The 10 openings this past weekend will be followed by 24 this coming weekend, markets that include the U.K. and Germany.
"Beowulf" reached $91.5 million internationally after taking in $9.1 million from 61 markets. Key totals include the U.K., $13.6 million; Russia, $7.9 million; Spain, $6.2 million; Germany, $5.3 million; Italy, $5.1 million; and France, $3.7 million.
"Hitman" appears to be holding its own in the midst of family fare, scoring $8.2 million from 38 markets for an international total of $24.5 million.
"The Heartbreak Kid" may have bombed domestically with earnings of $37 million, but the Ben Stiller comedy is getting the last laugh overseas with sales of $79.2 million to date. Other totals include "American Gangster" with an early haul of $47.2 million, and "Fred Claus" with $13.6 million so far.