Underlining the importance of the overseas markets to U.S. filmmakers, Sony's The Smurfs has remained the No. 1 film abroad for the fourth straight week and has brought its global total to $425 million, two thirds of that amount from outside the U.S., the London Financial Times reported today (Tuesday). The film, which has no name stars performing the voices of the animated blue creatures, cost $110 million to produce. More important, it establishes a new family franchise for Sony, which acquired the rights from Paramount (which never made a Smurfs movie). In an interview with the FT, Sony Pictures co-chairman Michael Lynton said, " The Smurfs shows that we can make big family movies. ... The economics of the family business is better than other types of movies." He also pointed out that unlike most other films that earn most of their money in the first two weeks, family films usually continue to hold up well for a long time. (It opened in the U.S. on July 29 and was still on the top-ten list last weekend.) Moreover, he noted, sales of merchandise related to The Smurfs movie have gone well.