"Smithsonian" atop overseas box-office pedestal

Sun May 31, 2009 7:11pm EDT
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By Frank Segers

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - U.S. box-office leader "Up" dipped its animated toes in international waters during the weekend, but it was "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" that claimed the top spot overseas.

The family comedy from 20th Century fox, a sequel to 2006's "Night at the Museum," reaped $37.2 million from 9,000 screens in 100 markets.

The Ben Stiller-starring movie opened at No. 1 in China, grossing $7.4 million from 818 screens, and finished first in at least 11 other territories, propelling its overseas gross past the $100 million mark to $106 million.

Its worldwide gross to date is $211.3 million.

After two weekends atop the international circuit, Sony's "Angels & Demons" finished a close No. 2 this round, grossing $32.9 million from 10,145 screens in 101 territories.

The follow-up to "The Da Vinci Code" ranked first in at least 14 markets, including Germany, where it tallied $4.8 for the weekend, and Japan ($3.2 million). Its overseas total stands at $251.7 million.

Like DreamWorks Animation's "Monsters vs. Aliens" before it, "Up," the 10th title from Pixar/Disney, opened in Russia before its domestic bow largely because of piracy concerns. It drew an animated $4.2 million from 560 screens, taking the No. 1 spot and marking the biggest weekend opening of a Pixar/Disney title in the territory.

The 3-D animation saga, centering on a septuagenarian (voiced by Ed Asner) whose house is lifted by multiple balloons to the wilds of South America, premiered May 13 at the Cannes Film Festival, where it became the first animation title to kick off that event.   Continued...

<p>Actors (L-R) Ben Stiller, Robin Williams and Ricky Gervais answer reporters' questions in the Smithsonian Castle during a news conference to discuss their new movie, "A Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" in Washington, May 15, 2009. REUTERS/Robert Giroux</p>