‘Lara Croft,’ Arnold raid o’seas markets

Foreign moviegoers boost sales for summer pix

U.S. auds may not have been wildly enthused about the return of “Lara Croft” but the sequel packed a decent punch in its offshore debuts in four Asian territories over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s B.O. clout abroad helped ensure top-ranked bows for “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” in Mexico, India and several European markets.

“Lara Croft, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life” captured an estimated $750,000 on 75 screens in the Philippines. If UIP’s projection holds (and the Sunday figure was hard to calculate due to the Army rebellion in Manila’s financial district), that will rank as a Paramount record locally, outgunning “Mission: Impossible II” by 61% and the first “Tomb Raider” by 60%.

Angelina Jolie starrer unlocked roughly $600,000 on 79 in Thailand (10% ahead of the original) and $450,000 on 45 in Malaysia (also a Par record, 13% up on “MI:2” and 44% bigger than the first).

In Singapore, the pic dug up an estimated $575,000 on 26. While that was 15% below the predecessor, the latter had the advantage of opening on a Friday public holiday.

“T3” commanded $19.4 million from 2,590 engagements in 31 markets, spurring the cume to $85.2 million, according to Sony, including estimates for non-Sony territories Japan and South Korea.

Sci-fier blasted off in nine countries, highlighted by Mexico’s $2.8 million on 529 (the industry’s 15th biggest preem); India’s $1.02 million on 228 (the third-highest ever); Denmark’s $960,000 on 91 (No. 7, hailed as a record summer entry by a Hollywood film); Holland’s $900,000 on 115; and Switzerland’s $900,000 on 103.

After a monster debut Down Under that was inflated by the end of the school vacation, “T3” racked up $2 million in its second outing (down 57%), tallying a superb $8 million in 11 days.

Holdovers help ‘Angels’

“Charlie’s Angels 2: Full Throttle” coined an estimated $10 million from holdovers on 5,235 prints in 49 markets, driving cume to $125 million. Progress scores include the U.K.’s $17.3 million through its fourth frame and France’s $6 million in 12 days (sliding by 46%, trailing frosh “Johnny English.”)

“Bruce Almighty” fetched roughly $8.4 million from ongoing biz in BVI’s 24 territories, elevating cume to about $148.5 million, including four Spyglass markets. Jim Carrey starrer tumbled by 42% in Mexico as Arnie muscled in but has collected a nonetheless impressive $6.8 million in 10 days.

“The Hulk” advanced to $81 million with 18 countries ahead, most notably Japan next Saturday and Italy on Aug. 29. Big green guy held top spot in the U.K., falling by a reasonable 38%, taking $2.2 million, and a hefty $10.7 million in 10 days. “Hulk” has bulked up a terrif $11.6 million in Mexico, $7 million in Spain and $6.2 million in Oz, but a puny $4 million in Germany.

“Finding Nemo” cruised to $45.2 million in 16 territories, mostly in Asia and Latin America.

Toon was No. 1 again in Hong Kong, drawing $770,000 in its second weekend (off 35%), bringing total to $2.5 million. It’s now the all-time animated champ in Brazil with $6 million after four weeks, surpassing “Dinosaur.”

In its only offshore appearance thus far, “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” improved by 12% in its second sojourn in Argentina, buoyed by the school vacation, drumming up $395,000, which boosted cume to $1 million.

Universal’s actioner “2 Fast 2 Furious” hit $82.5 million, powered by the U.K.’s $12 million, Germany’s $10.3 million, Mexico’s $7.7 million and Spain’s $6.3 million. It will surely crack $100 million after bowing in Japan on Aug. 23 and South Korea on Sept. 5.

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