‘Pirates’ slashes on

Duds outnumber winners in o'seas market

In a forgettable frame overseas, the duds outnumbered the successful new releases last weekend, and there were no serious challengers to “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” which ruled for the seventh straight weekend — the longest reign since “Titanic’s” marathon in 1998.

“Pirates” captured $13.6 million from 4,500 engagements in 46 markets, elevating the cume to $292 million, heading for a probable $325 million or so. Skull-and-crossbones flew atop the B.O. for the fourth consecutive frame in Germany, capturing $2.7 million (off 27%), spurring the total to $30 million; and in its third in Australia with $1.7 million, upping cume to $9.5 million.

Johnny Depp/Orlando Bloom starrer now ranks as BVI’s biggest live-action release of all time in the U.K., pocketing $41.4 million after its eighth voyage (remarkably slipping just 12%) to overtake “The Sixth Sense”; and in Italy, notching $17.4 million through its fourth, beating “Bruce Almighty.”

Wounded in action

Among the frame’s casualties were U.S. flop “Gigli” in the U.K., its first major market; Oz outlaw tale “Ned Kelly” in Blighty; “Seabiscuit” in Germany after slow runs in Russia and Portugal; “Legally Blonde 2” in France; and Irish drug saga “Veronica Guerin” in Spain and Belgium. Also, “Le Divorce” was unloved in Spain after getting a similarly frosty response the prior week in the U.K.

Early in its rollout, “S.W.A.T” triumphed in Japan, ringing up an estimated $2.8 million on 281, outgunning “XXX” but a bit below “X-Men 2,” and in South Korea it commanded $1.5 million on 146.

Chinese helmer Zhang Yimou’s “Hero” conquered France, nabbing $1.9 million on 375, and its estimated cume reached $74 million, with markets including the U.K., Spain, Italy and Australia to come.

Beginning its offshore adventures, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico” drummed up a so-so $1.4 million on 313 in the U.K, $1.3 million on 341 in Germany (No. 2 behind “Pirates”), $308,000 on 61 in Austria and $196,000 on 53 in the Philippines.

Italians take Spain

“The Italian Job” led the field in Spain, stealing $1.3 million on 261, and took a handy $193,000 on 43 in Portugal. In its soph sessions, Mark Wahlberg/Charlize Theron starrer caught $2.3 million in the U.K. (abating by 19%) and a spry $6.6 million to date; and $930,000 in France (off 37%), tallying $2.7 million; its estimated cume is a tidy $37.4 million in 29 territories.

“Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life” checked into Australia with a solid $1.3 million on 195 but fell by a worrying 68% in Japan (wounded by “S.W.A.T”), raking in $9.4 million in 9 days.

“American Wedding” had warm receptions in Belgium ($777,000 on 50, bigger than “Pie 2’s” entry), Hungary ($284,000 on 35) and Thailand ($247,000 on 41). Cume climbed to $76.5 million in 17 countries, highlighted by the U.K.’s $27 million, Germany’s $17.6 million, Spain’s $8.1 million and Holland’s $1.5 million in 11 days.

‘Boys’ active

“Bad Boys II” arrested a potent $397,000 on 24 in the United Arab Emirates and $378,000 on 57 in New Zealand and has amassed $3.9 million in 11 days in Oz (down 46%), surpassing the original’s market total of $3.4 million.

“The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” trapped a nifty $307,000 on 60 in Denmark and $176,000 on 56 in Malaysia, No. 1 in both. Sean Connery vehicle’s cume hit $35.2 million in 28 markets.

In its world preem in its native Oz, Toni Collette starrer “Japanese Story” (a Samuel Goldwyn Films pick-up in the U.S.) penned a terrif $364,000 on 40 screens, with sneaks.

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