'Hero,' 'Lara Croft,' 'S.W.A.T.' also bow boffo o'seas
It was ship ahoy as “Pirates of the Caribbean” hoisted its flag in France, Spain, Belgium and Holland over the weekend, while “American Wedding” partied in the U.K.Helmer Zhang Yimou’s “Hero” posted the biggest opening ever in Japan for a non-Nippon Asian film and the “Lara Croft” sequel was brawny in Germany. Beginning their international rollouts, “S.W.A.T.” was potent in Malaysia but, to no great surprise, domestic dud “Hollywood Homicide” was DOA in Mexico. “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” amassed an estimated $25 million in just 16 territories, boosting cume to $71 million. Swashbuckler stole approximately $6.8 million on 646 screens in France, BVI’s second biggest preem behind “The Sixth Sense” and a record for producer Jerry Bruckheimer, 20% up on “Armageddon.” Gore Verbinski-helmed adventure notched BVI opening records and more personal bests for Bruckheimer in Spain (bagging an estimated $5.1 million on 343, unseating “Signs”); Holland ($1.25 million on 73, outrunning “Bruce Almighty”); and Belgium ($825,000 on 69, also dethroning “Signs”). Testimony to its playability, “Pirates” rang up $4.5 million in its soph session in the U.K. (slipping by 15%), driving the market total to $15.7 million. Through its third sojourns, it’s racked up a stellar $25.2 million in Japan (up 8%, thanks to the Obon holidays) and $8 million in Mexico. ‘Pie’ eaten up in U.K. The “American Pie” sequel cooked up an estimated $6.4 million at 425 locations, including previews, in Blighty, almost doubling the entry of the first edition but 19% below the second. The Universal/UIP laffer was No. 1 again in Oz, earning $1.7 million (down 40%), bringing the 11-day tally to a hearty $5.3 million. “Hero” conquered Japan, mustering nearly $5 million in two days on 360 screens for local distrib Warner Bros. “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” commanded an estimated $15.5 million, propelling the cume to $216.7 million. Holding better than in recent weeks, helped by milder weather, sci-fier snared $4 million in France (abating by 48%), earning a hefty $13.1 million in 12 days. “T-3″ has pocketed $22.7 million in the U.K. (easing by 36%), $15.4 million in Germany (down 34%) and $11.4 million in Spain (a 41% decline), all through its third weekends. “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life” collared an estimated $2.1 million in Germany, just ahead of fellow frosh “Daddy Day Care,” which fetched roughly $2 million on 684 screens. “S.W.A.T.” arrested about $262,000 on 41 in Malaysia, 19% bigger than last year’s bow of “XXX.” “Hollywood Homicide” took $175,000 on 250 in Mexico. That consistent crowd-pleaser “Bruce Almighty” summonsed up a divine $525,000 on 103 in Argentina, a BVI record in local currency, trumping “Signs,” and yet another career high for Jim Carrey. Laffer has drummed up an estimated $176 million in BVI’s territories plus around $14 million from Spyglass’ markets.