Book of profits

Global B.O. heaven for 'Da Vinci'

“The Da Vinci Code” is now venturing into “Titanic” territory.

Foreign gross has hit $479.1 million, representing 71% of the worldwide total of $678 million.

Those numbers place “Code” on the verge of passing “Forrest Gump” as the top-grossing drama after James Cameron’s blockbuster.

Sony reported Monday that “Code” finished its fifth weekend with $14.2 million at 7,800 playdates overseas, declining 35% from the previous frame. The figure — $1 million off Sunday’s estimate — left Fox’s “X-Men: The Last Stand” as the weekend’s winner with $14.6 million at 6,271 engagements and ended the religious thriller’s foreign box office win streak at four weekends.

While “X-Men 3” generated half its weekend gross from launches in South Korea and Taiwan, “Code” managed to show impressive staying power despite its lack of action plus the massive distraction of three World Cup matches per day.

The performance also validates Sony execs’ belief that “Code” could serve as effective counterprogramming during the surfeit of soccer games, tapping into the female adult audience that is often the final quadrant to go see films. Pic’s grossed nearly $50 million in foreign markets since the World Cup matches started June 9 even though it had already been open for three weeks.

“Code” biz has stayed particularly strong in Japan, declining less than 30% each weekend to reach $63 million — by far the best mark among foreign markets.

Though Japan’s the largest international territory, studios often find it’s a daunting task to connect with moviegoers there. Mark Zucker, President of Sony Pictures Intl. Releasing, cited the absence of religious controversy in Japan over Dan Brown’s novel plus an extensive promo campaign that launched over the New Year’s holiday as key factors.

“Japan can be difficult, but it will support big films,” Zucker added.

“Code” also managed to gross at least $1 million in four soccer-obsessed European markets — the U.K., Germany, France and Spain. Blighty cume has hit $51 million, while German receipts have eclipsed $43 million.

Meanwhile, the “X-Men” sequel has cumed $181 million overseas so far.

Extraordinary overseas grosses for “Da Vinci” far outshine its solid domestic perf, which was on the verge of hitting $200 million Monday. Pic is only the second to hit that mark this year amid several disappointing summer tentpoles such as “Mission: Impossible III,” “Poseidon” and “Over the Hedge.” Only “X-Men: the Last Stand” has done better, cuming $216 million. Marvel superhero sequel is likely to keep that lead, at least until “Superman Returns” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” open.

With the weekend gross coming in $2.5 million higher than estimates at $33.7 million, Disney’s Pixar toon “Cars” has now hit $117 million domestic. Its 44% second weekend drop is the biggest for any Pixar toon excluding those that opened over Thanksgiving and means “Cars” is on track to be only the No. 5 Pixar toon of all time, likely ending up ahead of the original “Toy Story” ($192 million) but behind “Toy Story 2” ($246 million).

(Ben Fritz contributed to this report.)

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