'Potter's' foreign cume nears domestic tally

Harry Potter” minted an estimated $60.1 million from more than 8,000 screens in 37 territories over the weekend, propelling its foreign cume to $239.7 million, about equal with its domestic tally.

At that rate, the boy wizard’s international cume has a good shot at hitting $300 million next weekend.

The $60.1 million haul reported Sunday by Warner Bros. was a whisker below “Harry’s” $60.9 million bounty in the Nov. 30-Dec. 2 frame, which stands as the highest-grossing weekend of all time abroad.

Known as “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in Asia and the U.S. and “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” elsewhere, the epic notched an estimated $10.1 million, including previews, in its first five days on 851 screens in France, that market’s widest-ever release, a record bow for a Hollywood film (beating “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace”) and the industry’s fourth highest in history there.

In Italy, WB was projecting a three-day debut of $4 million on 465 prints, which it rates as 77% bigger than “Phantom Menace” and 61% up on “Titanic.”

‘Potter’ grows hotter

Showing formidable holding power, the Chris Columbus-helmed fantasy dropped by just 10% in its soph sessions in Japan and Spain, by Warner’s reckoning. Distrib hailed Japan’s $11.3 million as a record second weekend in the territory, behind its opener, and, similarly, Spain’s $4 million as the second biggest ever. Japan’s cume towers at $34.6 million, and Spain has a hot $11.3 million.

In Australia, “Harry” dipped by 44% after its record preem to fetch $2.7 million, elevating the progressive total to $9.1 million. Among other stellar scores are the U.K.’s $63.2 million through its fourth orbit and Germany’s $38.9 million after its third.

In its second outing in Argentina, the wiz surrendered its crown to “Monsters, Inc.,” which whistled up an estimated $660,000 in three days on 103 for the industry’s biggest nonholiday animated debut.

Entering Japan, “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” picked up roughly $2.5 million in two days, the third-highest preem for a U.S. toon behind “Dinosaur” and “Toy Story 2.”

In Germany, “Atlantis” mustered an estimated $2.4 million in four days on 836, including previews, a solid start matching that of “The Emperor’s New Groove” and 20% better than “Hercules.”

‘Pie’ charts course

“American Pie 2″ cooked up $2.2 million in four days from 216 playdates in Oz, 44% ahead of the first “Pie,” excluding the latter’s previews. After opening in Spain last Wednesday to take advantage of the Thursday public holiday, the ribald laffer rang up $2.3 million in four days on 255 — 103% bigger than “Jurassic Park: The Lost World” and 21% up on “The Mummy Returns.” “Pie 2″ cume topped $112 million, with plenty of upside ahead from dates in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico.

Liverpool, England-set actioner “The 51st State” saw an inauspicious world preem in Blighty. The Alliance Atlantis production (a Screen Gems pickup domestically) toplining Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Carlyle made an estimated $880,000 in two days on 309.

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