'Matrix,' 'Bruce,' 'Nemo' find auds o'seas

This truly is the era of the tentpole overseas, as at home, with one giant pic dominating biz in most major territories. Last weekend the stand-outs were “The Matrix Reloaded” in Japan, “2 Fast 2 Furious” in Australia, “Bruce Almighty” in Brazil, Hong Kong and Thailand and “Finding Nemo” in South Korea and Singapore.

Illustrating that trend, 10 U.S. films have crossed $100 million internationally this year, but only a handful including “Daredevil,” “The Hours,” “Maid in Manhattan” and “The Jungle Book 2″ have minted more than $50 million.

“Reloaded” downloaded an estimated $42.3 million from more than 9,400 screens in 63 territories, including sneaks in Japan, propelling cume to $300.6 million, zooming past the original “Matrix’s” $289 million lifetime total.

Record in Japan

The Japanese bow of $18.7 million on 631 screens, including $7.5 million from previews May 24 and May 31, was a territory record, 7% bigger than “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” The $11.2 million weekend, sans sneaks, was the market’s third-biggest ever behind the two “Potter” pics.

Among the sci-fier’s stellar totals are the U.K.’s $43.5 million, France’s $31.3 million and Germany’s $28.4 million (both estimates as Monday was a public holiday) and Australia’s $17.4 million. Also noteworthy are Italy’s $15.5 million, Spain’s $15.3 million, Korea’s $15.1 million and Mexico’s $10.8 million.

Japanese distrib Gaga’s gambit of launching “The Core” against the “Matrix” sequel misfired as the space saga unearthed a measly $615,000 on 37 screens in nine key cities.

Down Under, “2 Fast” was 2 good, drumming up $3.8 million in four days on 301, commanding 50% of the entire market. That was Universal’s fourth-largest opening weekend behind “Jurassic Park: The Lost World,” “Twister” and “Liar Liar” and 119% bigger than the “The Fast and the Furious.” With a public holiday Monday, U/UIP was projecting a five-day take of $4.5 million, which would beat the predecessor by 140%.

‘Bruce’ scores

“Bruce Almighty” divined $1.5 million on 241 in Brazil, hailed by BVI as a record for a U.S. comedy locally and the distrib’s second-biggest ever, trailing “The Lion King.” Laffer also posted personal bests for topliner Jim Carrey in Hong Kong ($910,000 on 25, 40% bigger than “The Mask”) and Thailand ($560,000 on 98, 132% ahead of “Mask”). “Bruce” reigned again in Italy, picking up $2.5 million (abating by 27%), bringing the 10-day tally to a celestial $8.6 million.

Disney/Pixar’s “Nemo” had a whale of a time in South Korea, catching $1.8 million on 124 and in Singapore with $570,000 on 33, in both, setting all-time toon records in local currency, outrunning “Shrek” by 9% and “Dinosaur” by 15%.

Remarkably, the fish tale jumped by 46% in its soph session in Malaysia, taking $370,000, upping the total to $780,000; it’s a couple of days away from overtaking “Mulan” to rank as the market’s highest-grossing animated pic.

‘Anger’ shows promise

“Anger Management” confronted an estimated $8.5 million on 3,100 screens in 28 countries, elevating the cume to $29 million, with six major markets ahead. The Adam Sandler/Jack Nicholson starrer nabbed a uniformly solid $2.9 million on 529 in the U.K., $1.55 million on 417 in Spain, $1.16 million on 337 in Mexico (No. 1, ahead of “Reloaded’s” third lap), and $703,000 on 104 in South Korea.

The comedy was all but ignored in France, managing just $675,000 on 523, but more warmly received in Holland ($200,000 on 87) and South Africa ($190,000 on 72).

“Bringing Down the House” is demonstrating there’s room for middle-ground pix, taking $1.2 million in its second weekend in Blighty (dipping by 13%) for $3.9 million thus far. The Steve Martin/Queen Latifah headliner fell by a reasonable 35% in Mexico, unlocking $600,000 at the weekend and a tidy $2 million in 10 days.

Fox’s Danny Boyle-helmed horror item “28 Days Later” captured a fair $1.1 million on 251 in Germany after earning a handy $9.7 million in its native U.K. and corpsing in France; it’s collected just $14.4 million in 28 territories.

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