Don't Look Now, But Johnny English Reborn Might Be Your Fall Movie Phenom

I'm nothing if not fair, so: Congratulations to Universal, which 17 months ago displayed what looked at first like a desperate lack of imagination but has since been proven to be a bit of box-office alchemy. Indeed, its comedy Johnny English Reborn -- the sequel to Rowan Atkinson's hit 2003 spy spoof Johnny English -- debuted overseas last weekend to the biggest opening of Atkinson's career. It's a hit! In Russia!

In that country and 14 others, Johnny English Reborn pulled in a total of $11.7 million. It's better than even the studio projected, and while the figure looks modest on paper, keeping in mind that Universal has 30 more markets in which to open the film (including the U.S. Oct. 28), it's actually in a prime position to exceed the original movie's $160 million global haul. Think of it like The Help for the fall movie season, winning hearts and minds with all its bumbling spunk and counterprogramming acumen. Or just think of it as a craven follow-up to a movie you didn't even know existed before you heard there was a sequel. Either way, prepare to think of it a little more than you expected as the latest legit Atkinson wave sweeps the globe. Maybe he should have hosted the Oscars.

· Johnny English Reborn [Box Office Mojo via LAT]