'Sky,' 'Hawk' also nab coin with forign launches

A fab February is shaping up overseas as a slew of U.S. blockbusters and a sprinkling of homegrown hits rolled out last weekend. “Ocean’s Eleven” played winning hands in Japan and Mexico, “Monsters, Inc.” saw giant Euro preems and “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” wowed Argentina and Hong Kong.

“Vanilla Sky” dawned brightly in Italy but was less luminous in Spain, while “Black Hawk Down” had high-flying launches in South Korea and the Philippines.

The Steven Soderbergh-helmed “Ocean’s Eleven” conned $6.5 million on 367 screens in Japan, including sneaks, outperforming “The Matrix” to rank as the industry’s 11th biggest opening weekend ever, just shy of “Pearl Harbor’s” entry. The casino caper also commanded pole position in Mexico (notching $2.2 million on 400) and South Africa ($242,000 on 76, the market’s eighth best bow).

Warner Bros. estimated “Ocean’s” weekend haul at $16 million from 2,855 engagements in 20 territories, elevating cume to $81 million.

“Monsters, Inc.” whistled up $3.1 million on 736 prints in Germany for the market’s fourth-biggest toon bow behind “Dinosaur,” “Tarzan” and “The Lion King,” and $570,000 on 94 in Austria (the best debut by a Pixar toon). Pic drew $415,000 on 18 in Taiwan (on par with “Toy Story 2″) and $250,000 on 60 in Poland as cume climbed to $58.5 million.

‘Rings’ chings

“The Lord of the Rings” hit $393 million after racking up $16 million on 7,600 prints (a bit short of New Line’s Sunday estimates). Peter Jackson’s epic picked up $1.2 million on 120 in Argentina — an all-time record for local distrib WB, beating “Harry Potter,” and the market’s third-highest in history behind “Titanic” and “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.” In Hong Kong, “Rings” ran to a hot $1.2 million on 51.

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” levitated to $592.5 million on the back of an $8.3 million frame on 4,451 screens in 52 countries. The Hogwarts Express mustered $580,000 on 102 in Turkey (the third-best industry preem) and an estimated $2 million on 200 in China. The WB and New Line fantasies are just days away from clocking a combined $1 billion.

Tom Cruise/Penelope Cruz headliner “Vanilla Sky” scooped up $2.2 million on 287 in Italy (just 2% less than “Mission: Impossible 2″ in local currency) and a so-so $911,000 on 292 in Spain. “Sky” fell by a reasonable 36% in the U.K., picking up $8.8 million in 10 days, and by 34% in Germany, making $4.7 million in 11 days. But the Paramount/UIP release plummeted by a disastrous 75% in France, eyeing a modest $3.2 million in 11 days, as French comedy “Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra” posted massive numbers.

‘Hell’ is hot

Fox’s thriller “From Hell” was a creditable No. 2 in France (where topliner Johnny Depp has a sizable following), scaring up $1.1 million on 298. “Hell” is tapering off in Italy after pocketing a stellar $8.5 million.

“Black Hawk Down” captured $884,000 on 101 in South Korea, trailing two Korean titles, sci-fi/actioner “2009 Lost Memories” and the soph session of “Public Enemy”; pic choppered a similarly feisty $390,000 on 74 in the Philippines. Early in its foreign campaign, the Somalia battle saga has earned a sturdy $6.7 million through its third stanza in the U.K.

Still in the war zone, Fox’s “Behind Enemy Lines” seized top spot Down Under with a nifty $910,000 on 228, including sneaks, but corpsed in Germany with $457,000 on 401. The Bosnian tale has scraped up a meager $19.5 million from 43 markets, with Japan the only significant territory ahead.

The Farrelly brothers’ laffer “Shallow Hal” was the best of the freshmen in the U.K., fetching $1.8 million on 284, while Robert Altman’s “Gosford Park” unspooled with a promising $1.1 million on 155.

Purely from holdovers, “Spy Game” played along to $57.7 million and is a sure shot to overtake domestic’s $63 million, with Brazil, Germany, Korea, Turkey and some small fry on the horizon.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more