Smith hitching a great ride o’seas

'Hitch' pitch finds niche

Folks overseas are responding to the romantic side of Will Smith as warmly as those at home, judging by the rich pickings for “Hitch” over the weekend in Germany, Spain and Australia.

Meanwhile, “Meet the Fockers” blasted past $200 million internationally; “Shark Tale” surfaced in Japan, its last territory, with respectable numbers; and “Million Dollar Baby” and “Ray” got nice bumps from the Oscars.

The weekend’s champ, “Hitch” wooed an estimated $21 million from debuts in 19 territories and holdovers in six markets, boosting cume to $29.1 million. Romantic comedy drew a socko $9 million on 907 screens in Germany (way up on the recent bow of “Meet the Fockers,” accounting for more than 50% of the market), $1.05 million in Switzerland and $1.04 million in Austria.

Date doctor tale grabbed a top-ranked $2.73 million on 370 in Australia (a 39% market share), $2.7 million on 377 in Spain (likely to be No. 1 when figures are confirmed Monday in a close race with “Hide and Seek”) and $550,000 on 35 in Singapore. The Smith/Eva Mendes vehicle took a promising $120,000 at its London platform. “Hitch” has shown sturdy legs, with mild drops in its soph session in Taiwan and in its third sojourns in Brazil and Mexico.

“Fockers” rang up an estimated $12.6 million in 52 territories, propelling cume to $201.3 million with Japan and South Korea ahead. Laffer’s stellar totals include the U.K.’s $51.7 million, Italy’s $17.4 million, Germany’s $16.2 million in 18 days and Spain’s $16 million.

“Shark Tale” caught a projected $2 million on 503 prints in Japan, comparable with “Shrek 2,” which went on to gross a modest $22.4 million in a market that can be tough for Western toons (unless they’re branded Pixar). It’s the first DreamWorks release from Asmik Ace, which has positioned the pic to take advantage of the two-week school vacation that starts March 19. Toon trailed Japanese WWII drama “Lorelei: The Witch of the Pacific Ocean,” and it was No. 1 again in its second voyage in Italy, minting $2.5 million to raise the territory total to $7.3 million; international cume hit $180.2 million.

“Constantine” collared an estimated $11.8 million in 32 countries, spurring cume to $72.6 million. Keanu Reeves starrer reigned on debut in Sweden (snaring $405,000 on 61), Chile and Colombia. In its second weekends, demon tale plunged by 56% in Australia, cuming $4 million, but dropped by only 34% in Italy (amassing $4.7 million so far) and the same in Mexico ($4.6 million, still No. 1). Through its third outings, “Constantine” has racked up a neat $8.2 million in Germany, $8.1 million in France and $6.2 million in Spain.

“Hide and Seek” unearthed approximately $2.6 million on 325 in Spain, $488,000 in Belgium and $414,000 in Holland. Thriller scared up $8.5 million in 28 markets, hoisting cume to $35.2 million, including the U.K.’s handy $5.7 million in 10 days (declining by a typical 49%) and South Korea’s juicy $3.5 million (off just 21%).

“Million Dollar Baby” jumped by 24% in its fifth bout in Australia, without adding screens, sending the market tally to $3.9 million.

“Ray” whistled up about $3.4 million from 1,200 playdates in 30 territories, as Universal reported gains of 17% in the U.K., 20% in Germany, 25% in Belgium and 33% apiece in Brazil and Mexico, admittedly off a low base. Cume reached $31.2 million, making the Jamie Foxx starrer the highest-grossing African-American biopic internationally, surpassing “Ali” ($30 million). “Ray” dipped by just 25% in France, collecting a tony $4.8 million in 12 days.

In a bleak weekend in the U.K., “Boogeyman” opened at No. 1 with an estimated $1.7 million on 312 in its first major market tryout.

After a lucrative run in Blighty and bombing in France and Germany, “White Noise” generated a solid $1 million on 244 in Mexico, on par with “The Forgotten.”

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