(news.yahoo.com) - The effects-laden dragon tale "Eragon" flew high on the back of openings in 76 territories over the weekend, taking in $30.1 million and ending the four-week reign of "Casino Royale" as the No. 1 choice of the overseas audience.
The 21st James Bond opus took in $20.7 million from 64 markets to lift its international gross to $280 million and become the biggest 007 movie ever, topping "Die Another Day's" $271 million.
According to Fox, "Eragon" arrived at No. 1 in 32 markets and No. 2 in six. Spain was "Eragon's" most ardent fan, putting up $4.2 million, followed by Germany, $3.9 million; the U.K., $2.6 million; Mexico, $2.3 million; Russia, $2.1 million; Australia, $1.7 million; and Thailand, $1.1 million. It opened at No. 2 in North America with $23.2 million.
"Casino Royale," meanwhile, has held the No. 1 spot for four straight weeks in Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Australia and New Zealand each have embraced Bond in the No. 1 position for two weeks in a row. The U.K. has contributed $85.2 million in five weeks; Germany, $37.7 million in four; France, $30.9 million in four; and Spain and Australia, $10.4 million each over four weeks.
As a batch of diversified U.S. films settle in for the final lap of 2006, there are indications that many of them will face strong competition from local-language films, particularly in France, Italy, Japan and South Korea, where homegrown offerings dominated sales.
A plus for the U.S. contenders, however, has been the arrival of the romantic comedy "The Holiday," which took in $14 million from 28 countries in its second weekend to provide an early foreign total of $28.2 million. "Holiday's" business was steady if not spectacular in 18 new bows. The Cameron Diaz-Kate Winslet starrer arrived No. 2 in the U.K. with $3 million; earned $2.2 million in Germany; and $2 million in Korea.
"Happy Feet" and "Flushed Away" led the weekend animation parade, with the dancing penguins taking in $13 million from 39 markets and the London rat collecting $8.7 million from 37 markets. "Happy Feet's" international total has reached $60 million while "Flushed Away" has now earned $47.3 million.
"Deja Vu," also positioned for a holiday run, picked up $8.4 million from 18 countries and raised its total to $22 million. Openings included the U.K. ($2.1 million), France ($1.8 million) and Italy ($1.4 million). In Spain, "Deja Vu" has taken in $7.5 million after 17 days."The Departed" reached $108.9 million after a $4.5 million weekend in 46 markets. Totals include $23.8 million from the U.K., $11 million each from Spain and Italy, $9.5 million from France, and $8.6 million from Australia.
"Borat: Cultural Learnings of America to Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" dusted off $2.2 million from 24 countries to bring its international gross to $108.8 million.Clint Eastwood's Japanese-language "Letters From Iwo Jima" remained No. 1 for a second weekend in Japan, grossing $3.1 million.
The impact of local films on the holiday market was particularly evident in France, where seven of the top 10 films were homegrown productions.
Luc Besson's animated family offering "Arthur and the Invisibles" led the market with $11.2 million, followed by the comedy "Hors de prix," with $3.4 million.
In Italy, Neri Parenti's comedy "Natale a New York" was No. 1 with $4.8 million, followed by "Ole" with almost $2 million. In Korea, the homegrown "Beauty" led with $4.8 million.
In China, Zhang Yimou's "Curse of the Golden Flower" broke boxoffice records, opening to a four-day take of $12.5 million. The film, China's submission for the best foreign-language Oscar, opens Thursday in New York via Sony Pictures Classics.