Broad foreign rollout scores $67 million

The Jedi Knights emphatically conquered most of the world over the weekend except in Latin America, where Sony’s webslinger smashed numerous industry opening records.

Launched day-and-date with domestic, “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones” minted an estimated $67 million in 72 territories at the weekend.

That is an all-time industry opening record abroad as well as the highest-grossing weekend ever, in the latter case toppling “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” which banked $62.3 million from 8,524 prints in 37 countries last December, several weeks into its international rollout.

‘Clones’ clicks for Euros

Some $54 million of “Clones’ ” haul was generated in Europe, with the balance coming from Australia and Asia. “That’s an amazing start, above our expectations,” Fox Intl. theatrical distribution prez Scott Neeson told Daily Variety Sunday.

Neeson noted the figures are all the more extraordinary considering Lucasfilm stipulated the film be booked into quality screens, preferably those with digital sound, rather than the maximum number of venues. “Setting box office records wasn’t the priority,” Neeson said, calculating the sci-fier bowed on about 20% fewer screens than “Harry Potter” in many markets.

Nonetheless, Lucas’ epic smashed the four-day opening record in Oz, raking in $6.2 million on 230 locations, and posted the second-best debuts ever (behind the boy wiz) in the U.K., notching an estimated $17 million on 488, and in Germany with $11 million on 876.

Among the other stellar tallies were France’s $7.6 million in four days on 836, Spain’s $4.5 million in three days on 402, Italy’s $2.6 million and Taiwan’s $1.1 million.

‘Spidey’ speaks Spanish

In Latin America, where “Clones” is slated for July, “Spider-Man” broke records in most territories, according to Sony’s Sunday projections. “Spidey” conjured up approximately $8.3 million in Mexico, more than doubling the previous record-holder, “Dinosaur,” while Brazil’s $3.2 million bounty was reckoned to be about 70% up on “Harry Potter.” In local currency, Argentina’s $556,000 was expected to rank as an all-time high, nudging out “Titanic.”

Chile’s $530,000 dislodged “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” as industry champ, and Ecuador’s $186,000 was the second biggest entry ever behind “Titanic.” Sony was projecting that Central America’s $860,000 in combined B.O. will rank as an industry record.

More good news for the distrib came from Japan, where “Spidey” dropped by a mere 9%, earning an estimated $5.3 million in its second weekend on 501 screens, propelling the market total to a hot $19.3 million.

All told, the Tobey Maguire headliner pocketed an estimated $24.6 million overseas, hoisting cume to $64.2 million. “Panic Room” checked into Japan as a solid No. 2, capturing roughly $3 million on 277, including sneaks. The thriller fetched nearly $6 million at the weekend, elevating cume to $50.4 million.

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