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Global audiences still fond of Casino Royale, fourth straight frame at foreign box office

18-Dec-2006 • Casino Royale

James Bond shook and stirred the international B.O. for the fourth straight frame as "Casino Royale" spun $35.6 million more from 36 territories, beating out Warner Bros.' domestic hit "Happy Feet" in the process - reports Variety

But "Feet" -- about a cadre of singing penguins -- helped boost international B.O. overall, following a couple of slow frames where any biz that finished behind Bond wasn't boffo.

"Feet" helped lift overall box office to some record numbers on the year in key Western Euro territories, including Italy and Spain.

Pic replaced Bond as No. 1 in Blighty, too.

Superspy 007 has never beat out "Happy" at the domestic B.O., but the pic has bragging rights for being No. 1 overseas for four weekends and has cumed $266.6 million.

Meantime, release of UIP's romantic comedy "The Holiday," which stars two big Brit thesps in Jude Law and Kate Winslet -- played to $10.4 million in just 10 territories.

Overall, "Feet" took in $26.9 million from 37 territories and 6,000 engagements to raise its take to $41.3 million.

Animation has proved hot in Europe this year, even as some pics have had trouble wooing U.S. auds. Sony's "Open Season" and DreamWorks Animation's "Flushed Away" are also still in the international marketplace.

"Feet" did stamp out Bond on 007's home turf, taking in about $7.2 million for a No. 1 finish from 445 playdates. Take included previews that helped pump the pic's plumage.

In Spain, the film helped B.O. move up 17%, hitting the year's second-best mark.

Warner's "Feet" topped the charts in Spain, with $2.8 million from Friday to Sunday and $4.6 million over its six-day opening.

Pic, which outperformed Spanish industry expectations, had 480 prints in circulation, for a per-playdate average of $5,759.

French auds dug the penguins shtick: Pic in Gaul played to a No. 1 finish with $2.7 million off 830 over five days.

Mexico was also enamored. South of the Border, "Feet" stomped to $1.7 million at 736.

But in Italy, "Feet" got shot down by another animated offering, Sony's "Open Season."

A blast of winter weather and a three-day holiday weekend combined to lift the Italo B.O. 20% to $11.38 million, its best week-on-week surge this autumn.

But Sony's "Season" ($1.67 million on 430 screens in its debut weekend) edged out "Feet" ($1.64 million off 493 screens) to claim the top slot.

Italy is one Euro territory that customarily finds itself waiting for some of Hollywood's primo fare well after other auds in the Continent have dug in, so exhibs were happy that "Feet" came their way to boost biz.

But Bond was shooting up some solid numbers as well.

Pic is $55 million short of setting the franchise's record, but has surpassed 2002's "Die Another Day."

Despite being kicked out of No. 1 contention out by "Feet" -- and finishing behind UIP's romantic comedy "The Holiday" -- "Casino's" best bet was still in the U.K. ($5.3 million off 952 in its fourth frame).

Agent's total tally in Blighty stands at $81.8 million.

German biz also stayed solid in its third frame. With $5.1 million, Bond was able to land at No. 1, beating out Warners' "The Departed."

UIP's and Working Title's "Holiday" will next celebrate bows in Germany, South Korea and 16 other markets.

Over the latest frame, the pic's best turf was the U.K., with $5.5 million at 428 including previews, double the opening of "Something's Gotta Give."

But even with that mark disappointed Blighty bookers.

Final cume forecasts have been downgraded in the U.K. for the romantic comedy, which one booker says, "Lacks the quirky comedy which British audiences love and made Working Title's 'Love Actually' such a Christmas hit in 2003."

Other tradesters suggest the slightly below-par bow raises more questions over the box office appeal of Law.

Spain, meantime, saw $2.6 million at 282, matching the debut of "Love Actually."

UIP, however, saw decent biz from "Flushed Away" with $10.4 million from 30 territories, led by $2.3 million in the U.K. and $1.7 million in Spain.

"Flushed" has cumed $36.6 million overseas.

Warner's "The Departed" remained an overseas attraction, finishing No. 5 on the charts for $8.4 million in 42 markets.

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