‘Fantastic’ fends off fauna, winning o’seas

Bay's 'Island' finds support at Asian B.O.

This article was corrected on July 25, 2005.

The superheroes of “Fantastic Four” edged the animated animals of “Madagascar” in a moderate weekend at the foreign box office with $22.9 million in 4,971 playdates in 36 territories.

Support for Michael Bay’s “The Island” in nine Asian markets nearly matched the domestic total with $10.53 million from 1,148 sites.

“Fantastic Four” generated nearly half its takings from a pair of solid launches: $5.8 million at 409 playdates in the U.K. and $5 million at 635 French sites. Soph sesh biz for “Four” in Spain slid 50% to $2.2 million at 435 engagements, while the third frame in Mexico grossed $1.8 million at 816 for a $17.6 million total in that market.

Winning its first weekend offshore crown, “Fantastic Four” has cumed $78.4 million in foreign coin and pushed its combined worldwide total past $200 million. “Four” also reps another solid performer for Fox Intl., which eclipsed $1 billion in 2005 offshore box office several weeks ago thanks largely to “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” “Kingdom of Heaven,” “Robots” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.”

UIP’s “Madagascar” remained a powerful performer for family audiences with $20.3 million at 5,175 playdates in 43 markets for a foreign cume of $181 million, equal to the offshore total of “Shark Tale.” Worldwide “Madagascar” grosses have topped $367 million.

The toon’s most impressive perf came in Germany, with a second frame of $6.85 million at 833 sites, down just 20% and ahead of the launch of “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” U.K. biz for “Madagascar” declined 10% in the soph sesh to $5.25 million at 503 playdates.

“Madagascar” has generated more than $20 million in both the U.K. and Teuton markets and topped $19 million in Australia and $17 million in both France and Mexico. It led in New Zealand in its fifth weekend with $300,000 at 66 sites for a $3.9 million cume — $2.2 million more than “Shark Tale” in that territory.

UIP’s “War of the Worlds” — the most recent film to go out internationally day-and-date with the U.S. launch — also stayed sturdy on the foreign front with $17.5 million at 6,313 playdates. Overseas coin has topped $290 million and worldwide grosses are closing in on $600 million.

“War” posted its best numbers in the U.K., with $2.9 million at 458 sites, down 28% from its third weekend, for a Blighty cume of $45.5 million. Its third frame in France declined 39% to $2.4 million at 755 locations to push French grosses past $20 million.

In Japan, where a 6.0 earthquake hit Saturday near Tokyo, grosses for “War” declined 44% to $2.2 million at 340 sites for a territorial total above $40 million. German grosses declined 31% to $1.05 million at 678; “War” also slid 31% in Italy, where it led for its fourth straight week with $520,000 at 356.

Though the overall weekend takings fell far short of socko levels, the frame represented one of the few this year in which overall performance matched the same period of 2004. “Fantastic Four,” “Madagascar” and “War of the Worlds” combined for $60.7 million; the top three films a year ago took in $1 million less with “Spider-Man 2” with $31.6 million, “Shrek 2” with $17 million and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” with $11 million.

Warner reported “stellar” results from Korea for “The Island” with $5.6 million at 230 locations, including sneaks, for the distrib’s third-highest opening after “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions.” Japanese grosses totaled $2 million despite the quake, which caused injuries and affected public transport, but the distrib noted school holidays start this week and exhibs are reporting “excellent” reactions to the film.

Warner also reported tasty results from its selective overseas launches of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” with $5.64 million at 1,238 screens, led by a French soph sesh with $2.66 million at 670, down 30%. “Charlie” opened in first in Brazil with $1.03 million at 334 playdates, 52% ahead of “Stuart Little,” and in Holland with $773,000 at 123, on par with “Madagascar.”

Fox’s third frame of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” declined 43% in Japan to $3.9 million in its third frame. Foreign cume for “Sith” has gone past $422 million; worldwide takings are just shy of $800 million.

Warner’s “Batman Begins” showed respectable legs after six weeks with $3.6 million at 2,300 engagements for a foreign Batcume of $149.7 million and a worldwide Batgross of $340 million. The fifth Batpic led in Denmark with a $610,000 launch, topping recent openings of “War of the Worlds” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.”

BVI’s “Herbie: Fully Loaded” drove to $2.9 million at 1,250 playdates, led by a Mexican opening of $1.5 million at 400, 80% better than “102 Dalmatians.” Foreign cume for “Herbie” has hit $13.8 million, with $7 million from five weeks in Australia; distrib will launch the Lindsay Lohan starrer in most other major markets in the next two weeks.

BVI saw mild returns for “Sin City” in Mexico with $680,000 at 240 playdates, while its third frame in Oz declined $46% to $780,000. Cume for “Sin City” from BVI markets has topped $23 million.

Sony reported lukewarm takings for “The Longest Yard’s” launch in Russia with $385,000 at 182 screens. The Adam Sandler laffer has cumed $12.6 million in nine foreign markets, compared with $155.3 million domestically.

UIP’s “Land of the Dead” scared up $215,000 at 148 Italian sites as it fell 41% to finish second in that market.

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