It’s the wizard’s world

'Goblet' is still overflowing overseas

Harry’s setting the world on fire once again as “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” dominated foreign box office with $95.4 million from more than 9,400 prints in 42 markets in its second weekend.

Thanks to impressive launches in Japan, Spain and Italy and solid holdover perfs, “Goblet” has now hit $207 million offshore — $2 million ahead of the foreign cume for  “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” at the same point of its run in June 2004 on its way to a final international gross of $543 million.

Warner has now racked up more than $2 billion overseas from its quartet of “Potter” pics in addition to topping $1 billion on the domestic side. “Goblet” still has plenty of gas in the tank with openings next weekend in Australia, France and South Korea.

The stellar start for “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” provides some badly needed holiday season cheer for the industry, which has seen grosses lag this year in many key foreign markets. Rival distribs are optimistic that moviegoers’ support for “Goblet,” which has given extensive exposure to trailers for BVI’s “The Chronicles of Narnia” and UIP’s “King Kong,” can maintain current momentum for the rest of 2005.

“Goblet of Fire” obliterated comparative results from the same frame of 2004, when “The Incredibles” led with a still-sizeable $44.3 million. Should final weekend numbers for “Goblet” top $100 million, it would mark the first frame with a pic hitting nine figures since “War of the Worlds” launched with $102 million in July.

“Goblet” posted its top opening in Japan with $14.3 million at 851 playdates including sneak previews, representing the fifth-highest launch in that market. Perf wasn’t a major surprise as “Azkaban” conjured up $121 million in Japan for its best foreign total.

“Goblet” also set all-time records for debut weekends in two markets — Italy with $9.4 million at 855, topping the mark set by local hit “Pinocchio,” and Belgium with  $2.4 million at 177 amid snowstorms, 16% ahead of the previous record set by “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.”

The fourth “Potter” pic also launched large with a trio of markets recording their second-biggest openings ever — in Spain with $8 million from 527 prints, behind Spanish blockbuster “Torrente 3”; in Brazil with $4.1 million at 550; and in Greece with $1.3 million at 84, trailing only “Troy.”

Holland auds fended off snowstorms for a “Goblet” debut of $2.5 million at 251 for that market’s third-biggest opening including previews. Argentina’s debut hit $1.07 million at 156 for the best launch among the “Potter” films.

The U.K. led among holdover markets with $15.9 million at 536 playdates, representing a respectable 38% decline to lift the Blighty cume to $51.3 million. Snowstorms and outages hampered German biz, which fell 54% to $10 million at 1,248 but still pushed the Teutonic total to $35.5 million.

The Mexican soph sesh for “Goblet” slid 48% to $3.7 million at 654 engagements. Despite the decline, the frame still represented the largest second weekend for a Warner film and lifted cume to $13.6 million.

Competitors were mostly content to again ride the “Potter” coattails, opting for a few targeted counterprogrammed openings plus holdovers — tactics employed by BVI for “Flightplan” with $9.6 million at 3,662 playdates in 42 markets. The Jodie Foster thriller has grossed $86.4 million overseas to nearly match its Stateside cume.

Sony scared up respectable grosses for “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” with $7.8 million at 2,340 sites in 41 markets, lifting foreign cume to nearly $32 million and the worldwide total to $107 million. BVI’s “Chicken Little,” also on a gradual release pattern, continued to feather its nest with $5.7 million, lifting foreign cume to $32 million, with Mexico the top contributor at $10 million.

UIP launched “Just Like Heaven” in half a dozen markets with $2.8 million, mostly from France with a decent $1.8 million at 443 playdates. The romantic comedy, starring Reese Witherspoon, is based on a French book.

UIP, prepping for its worldwide Dec. 14 launch of “King Kong,” stuck mostly with holdovers such as “The Constant Gardner” with $2 million at 631 engagements in six markets, “Elizabethtown” with $1.7 million in 1,905, “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” with $1.5 at 2,506 and “Doom” with $1 million at 770. “Wallace & Gromit” has cumed $122 million internationally and $177 million worldwide.

Sony saw continued solid returns from “Melissa P,” its first Italian local production, with $1.68 million at 318 playdates, down 31% for a $4.75 million cume.

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