"Simpsons Movie" rules foreign box office

Sun Jul 29, 2007 11:29pm EDT

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Duplicating its No. 1 debut in North America, "The Simpsons Movie" opened on top internationally over the weekend, grossing an estimated $96 million from 71 territories.

The Fox TV franchise, which has run 18 seasons and some 400 episodes, proved to be a No. 1 attraction as a feature film in just about every market it played, according to Paul Hanneman, co-president of 20th Century Fox International. Its worldwide box office total stands at $167.9 million.

Opening weekend tallies of "Simpsons" in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay set film industry records. In Finland, it registered the biggest opening weekend ever for an animation title, as well as setting opening-weekend records for Fox in Bolivia, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

The film's biggest single market was the U.K., where Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie hauled away an estimated $27.8 million. "The Simpsons" stands as Fox's second-biggest U.K. opening ever, after 2005's "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith."

In Germany, "Simpsons" drew an estimated $14.2 million, the third-biggest market opening for an animation title. In Australia, the tally was $10.7 million, which Hanneman believed was the biggest market opening ever for an animation title.

The debut in France provided an estimated $9.3 million. The Spain bow, also Fox's second-biggest on record after "Sith," came in at $9.7 million.

Hanneman noted that "Simpsons" opened in eight of the top 15 international markets on the weekend, with playdates in the remaining top markets spread out over August and September.

After two weekends at No. 1, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" slipped to No. 2 with $50 million from 59 markets; its total stands at $450 million. Britain leads the way with $76.4 million, followd by Germany with $45.7 million.

Finishing third was "Transformers," which took in $42 million from 48 markets. Its overseas total stands at $246.5 million. By far, the biggest of the five new markets for "Transformers" was the U.K., where it bowed to an estimated $16.6 million.

In fourth place was "Ratatouille," which charmed $10 million from 18 territories, led by Japan with $4.2 million and South Korea with $2 million. Openings in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Holland, Hong Kong and Taiwan are scheduled through the coming week.

No. 5 was "Die Hard 4," with $8.5 million from 51 markets. Released domestically as "Live Free or Die Hard," the film has earned $175 million internationally, with a slew of key overseas markets to play in August through October.

Other foreign totals: "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," $644.5 million; "Shrek the Third," $397.5 million; "Mr. Bean's Holiday" (which bows domestically on August 24), $186 million; "Ocean's Thirteen," $159.3 million; and "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," $110 million.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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