"Les Miserables" hit all the right notes in its U.K. debut this weekend, finishing No. 1 with $13.4 million over the three days.
The opening, which came from 567 theaters and represented a 37 percent share of the market, was Universal's best ever in the U.K. In all, "Les Miz" brought in $22.5 million from 22 overseas territories and pushed its worldwide gross past $238 million.
"Life of Pi," like "Les Miserables" an Oscar nominee for Best Picture, had another strong week overseas for Fox. It took in $33.2 million from 67 markets, and has now grossed $357 million internationally. It held the top spot in its second week in Russia ($4.4 million) and Australia ($4 million).
Warner Bros.' "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" raised its international total to $608 million as it grossed $26.1 million from 63 markets. The studio's "Gangster Squad" rolled out in 19 regions and brought in $9.1 million.
Paramount's Tom Cruise thriller "Jack Reacher' lifted its overall foreign total to more than $80 million, taking in $17.6 million from 57 countries in its fourth weekend. Its worldwide total is $153 million.
"Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason' was the previous highest grossing weekend for Universal in the U.K., and it took in $13.2 million in 2004. "Mamma Mia" opened with $10.4 million over three days in 2008.
"Les Miz" also opened No.1 in New Zealand with $625,000 from 81 locations, the biggest opening ever for a musical in that market.
The film, directed by Tom Hooper and starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe, is holding very strongly in two key Asian territories.
In Japan, "Les Miz" remained the top MPAA movie for the fourth weekend in a row and dominated the box office with 51% market share. It grossed $3 million at 328 from theaters, giving it a 24-day total of $31.8 million in that country.
In South Korea, the film continued its strong run, taking in $2.8 million at 408 dates for a 20-day total of $33.1 million.