Sequel minted $15.58 mil in 14 countries

Cueing a massive weekend overseas, “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” shattered industry opening records Wednesday in 10 of its 14 markets.

The sequel racked up $15.58 million on 4,875 screens in 14 countries, 38% ahead of “Fellowship of the Ring’s” first-day bounty of $11.3 million on 4,321.

“We opened with a bang,” said Rolf Mittweg, New Line president of worldwide marketing and distribution. “Now it’s about the film’s longevity.”

Peter Jackson’s epic amassed $3.9 million on 1,200 in Germany (including midnight screenings), $3.9 million on 1,170 in the U.K., $1.9 million on 973 in France and $1.07 million on 471 in Spain. The German number was an industry record but New Line Intl. could not verify the rankings in those other markets.

Industry highs

The company hailed as industry highs Sweden’s $941,000 on 151, Denmark’s $831,000 on 115, Norway’s $788,000 on 98, Austria’s $523,000 on 149, Switzerland’s $351,000 on 104 and Holland’s $350,000 on 150.

Ditto Belgium’s $299,000 on 112, Finland’s $239,000 on 58 and Greece’s $218,000 on 57. South Africa contributed $156,000 on 90.

“Two Towers” is going out on 15%-20% more screens than the first edition. The first-day numbers in France and the U.K. were roughly in line with the wider release (up 20% and 22% respectively) while others were way ahead, such as Germany’s 44% spike, Spain’s 40%, Norway’s 64% and Holland’s 85%.

25-market rollout

The fantasy/adventure is rolling out in a total of 25 markets in Europe, Latin America and Asia over the weekend. Pic debuts in Australia Thursday and is slated for Jan. 17 in Italy and Feb. 22 in Japan.

“Fellowship of the Ring” rang up $547.4 million overseas, highlighted by the U.K.’s $90.2 million, Germany’s $83.7 million, Japan’s $68.1 million, France’s $35 million, Spain’s $28.2 million, Australia’s $24.1 million and Italy’s $23.1 million.

Mittweg says he’s hoping “Towers” will beat the original by 20%-25%.

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