Paranormal Activity 2 scared up the international market last weekend, narrowly pipping Universal’s durable Despicable Me to top spot.

Paranormal Activity 2

Paramount’s horror sequel debuted on $22.3m from 2,752 screens at a screen average of $8,112 in 22 territories, a significant improvement on the original’s opening weekend take of $3.3m in November 2009.

While the original profited from a four-month rollout on its way to an international total of $85m (and six weeks among the top 20 performers), Paramount has opted for a different strategy with the sequel, releasing the film in the majority of its territories in a three-week period. The original fared particularly well in Japan, taking $5.3m in January despite the distraction of Avatar. The sequel hits Japan in February 2011, in advance of Presidio’s series of Paranormal spin offs, the first of which is also due for release next year.     

Todd William’s third feature has already opened in most major territories. With a current worldwide box office of $67m, the film looks unlikely to top its predecessor’s global box office of $199m. There are openings in Portugal and Czech Republic this weekend, and Germany, Switzerland and Austria next weekend.

Universal’s animation-comedy Despicable Me, now in its 16th week, came in second on the international chart, grossing $20.6m from 4552 screens in 44 territories.

The animation-comedy now accounts for a fifth of Universal’s $1bn international take in 2010, having crossed the $200m mark this week.

Europa’s Little White Lies was the week’s second best opener, entering the chart in fifth position. Guillaume Canet’s comedy-drama took $9.6m from 594 screens for an excellent screen average of $16,176 across three territories. The film took a resounding $8.7m in France.

Sony’s Eat Pray Love continued to do good business, crossing the $100m mark in its ninth week, while Warner’s eighth placed Life As We Know It showed some fight posting a top 20 biggest week- on-week improvement of 91%. Greg Berlanti’s comedy, which stars Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel, took $8m from 22 territories.

Huayi Bros.’ Detective Dee: Mystery Of The Phantom Flame was the week’s biggest loser, dropping 61% for a still impressive total of $49.8m.

Sony’s Open Season 3 was the week’s only other top 20 opener. The third instalment in the animation franchise, predominantly released on DVD, took $2.3m from its single opening, a chart topping debut in Russia.