Sony spins $1 billion o’seas in near record

'MIB2,' 'XXX' are top helpers in generating money

Sony’s overseas theatrical arm rocketed to $1 billion in annual grosses outside North America on Sunday — the second fastest time to reach that pinnacle since “Titanic” powered 20th Century Fox Intl. to the top in April 1998.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has generated approximately $2.4 billion in worldwide ticket sales (an all-time company high, beating 1997’s $2.34 billion), and the distrib is gunning for Fox’s 1998 global record haul of $2.68 billion.

Columbia TriStar Film Distributors Intl.’s previous high mark overseas was $1.07 billion in 2000.

Mirroring its hot streak domestically, CTFDI’s films have racked up more than $800 million since May, senior exec VP Mark Zucker said Sunday.

A chunk of that comes from “Men in Black 2,” whose estimated foreign cume hit $221.5 million, boosted by Spain’s $7.1 million in 10 days, despite a 49% plunge. The U.K. is the sci-fi spoof’s top earner with $32.4 million, followed by Germany’s $30 million, Japan’s solid $29.2 million and France’s $23.4 million.

‘XXX’ in overdrive in Brazil

Another money-maker, Sony/Revolution Studios’ “XXX,” revved up Brazil over the weekend, grabbing $1.1 million on 377 prints, the market’s seventh-highest preem ever. Vin Diesel vehicle also showed heft in the United Arab Emirates, snaring $375,000 on 24 — the industry’s second biggest bow of all time behind “Spider-Man.”

The distrib’s “Mr. Deeds” drummed up a hearty $860,000 on 250 in Mexico, trailing Sony’s local phenom “The Crime of Father Amaro,” which has amassed approximately $13.4 million through its fourth chapter.

Elsewhere, auds in Europe embraced “The Bourne Identity,” “Signs” and “Road to Perdition,” while Aussies woke up to “Insomnia.”

In its first Euro engagement after blitzing Taiwan, “Bourne Identity” conquered the U.K., fetching $2.3 million Friday-Saturday from 414 locations, including sneaks. Its Saturday figure was 20% bigger than “Panic Room” and 90% up on “The Sum of All Fears,” Universal’s Randy Greenberg said Sunday.

‘Signs’ Dutch treat

M. Night Shyamalan’s “Signs” harvested an estimated $830,000 on 130 screens in Holland, commanding 40% of the market’s weekend B.O. It ranks 5% ahead of the helmer’s “Unbreakable,” slightly below his “The Sixth Sense” and a personal best for topliner Mel Gibson. The suspenser dipped by roughly 20% in its soph session in Sweden, scoring $1.3 million to date.

Disney’s toon “Lilo & Stitch” whistled up an estimated $415,000 in Sweden, on par with “Shrek” and 25% better than “Atlantis.”

In its first Euro dates, “Road to Perdition” rang up an estimated $1.6 million in four days on 520 in Germany and $1.5 million in three days on 280 in Spain behind “MiB2.” Per Fox Intl., the Tom Hanks starrer was No. 1 in Germany, although UIP figures “About a Boy” was the market leader in its third weekend, at least through Saturday, earning $1.12 million Thursday-Saturday (off 18%), and roughly $6.8 million to date.

Al Pacino/Robin Williams starrer “Insomnia” took pole position Down Under, eyeing an estimated $800,000 on 171.

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