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Casino Royale is racing to become series champion overseas

05-Dec-2006 • Casino Royale

With the $200 million mark expected to be reached Tuesday, "Casino Royale" appears well on its way to becoming the best ever of the 21 James Bond offerings at the overseas box office - reports Reuters.

The Sony Pictures release, holding especially strong in northern Europe, dominated at foreign multiplexes for a third weekend in a row with a $44.7 million haul from 54 countries, according to final data issued Monday.

The 20-day offshore attack of "Casino Royale" has Sony executives eyeing a foreign gross of "up toward the mid-$300 millions," a goal that would surpass the $271 million total of current Bond champion "Die Another Day."

Japan's $3.3 million opening, while not as potent as the European ones, was consistent with the appeal of the Bond entries in the market, Sony said, noting that Japan usually delivers from $19 million-$20 million for a Bond film.

During its third weekend in the U.K., "Casino" grossed $10.5 million for a market total of $70.7 million, which is more than the take of any previous Bond, Sony said.

The film opens this coming weekend in Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and six Latin American countries.

As the newest Bond gears up to play through the year-end holiday season, it faces a barrage of family-oriented films that are entering the market to establish a foothold for a festive-season breakout.

Leading the animated parade are "Flushed Away," which tallied $14.2 million from 22 markets, and North American champion "Happy Feet," which danced to $7.3 million from about 18 territories.

"Flushed Away," which opened in 16 markets over the weekend, will enter a dozen countries, including Germany, this coming weekend. Its total to date is $22.5 million. As "Happy Feet's" early total hit $12.9 million, it's set to take off this weekend in the U.K., Spain, Holland and Mexico.

"Borat" seems to have a good chance of sticking around for holiday revelers, judging by its ability to take in $9 million over the weekend, lifting its international gross to $96.5 million. Its robust $450,000 bow in Israel was Fox's second-biggest opening ever in the market, according to the studio. It was also No. 1 in Portugal. So far it has taken in $43.1 million from the U.K. in five weeks; $12 million in Germany, also in five; and $5 million from France in three. It has remained No. 1 in Australia for two weeks in a row, with a two-session take of $8.6 million.

The Martin Scorsese crime drama "The Departed" is displaying strong holdover power as it reached $90.5 million after an $8.7 million weekend from 44 territories.

Elsewhere, "Deja Vu" opened at No. 1 in Spain ($2.4 million), and "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause" was tops in Mexico ($1 million).

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