‘Meltdown’ mops up spring B.O. o’seas

CGI pic adds $27.7 million to its foreign turf tally

Fox’s CG toon “Ice Age: The Meltdown” was still enjoying scorching B.O. as of the latest frame, though the pic’s prospects seem to be cooling as “Mission: Impossible III” preps its worldwide launch.

With little competish standing in its way, “Ice” added $27.7 million to its overseas B.O. tally, taking its cume past $375 million.

“Ice Age 2” is the first pic to win five straight overseas frames since Buena Vista unleashed “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” earlier in the year.

“Ice 2” began racking up local records around the world: It is now destined to become the biggest B.O. winner ever in Mexico, soon to surpass the $30 million of “Shrek 2.” The one-two record-book punch of both animated sequels are proof that contempo toons rule the Mexican scene.

In other news from Mexican turf, a May 1 boycott of American pics — part of a larger protest over U.S. immigration policies — didn’t make a dent in B.O. tallies. The patriotic spirit, however, might have helped Mexican toon “Una pelicula de huevos” take in more than $8 million in its soph sesh. Pic is one in a string of recent Mexican animation efforts funded by Televisa.

But simply having a toon in play did not work for all studios.

BVI’s CG “The Wild” was tame, taking in less than $4 million from 28 territories. Distrib, which was behind the overseas hit “Chicken Little,” is hoping the pic can pick up the pace when it rolls out in the U.K., Germany and Japan.

Looking at the world charts, pics that clicked behind “Ice” included horror title “Silent Hill” and slasher spoof “Scary Movie 4.” But their fortunes may be scary when “Mission: Impossible” breaks.

Still relatively new in Italy, “Ice” dropped a mere 6% in its sophomore sesh, and had staying power in other holdover territories, showing off good legs in the U.K., Australia and Japan.

Exhibs in Italy credited some of the “Ice’s” sunny perf to “lucky bad weather” that hit over the May 1 holiday weekend. Skating behind “Ice” in Italy were “Scary Movie” and “Take the Lead,” which opened in the No. 3 spot. Bookers say “Lead” benefited from the RAI 1 hit TV show called “Ballando con le Stelle” (Dancing with the Stars).

In the U.K., “Ice” finished at No. 1 yet again, and is nearing the $45.5 million mark. Pic beat out Pathe’s “Silent Hill,” which edged BVI’s “Scary Movie.”

Despite having Hugh Grant as its lead, UIP’s “American Dreamz” has had a hard time exciting Blighty auds. Pic had cumed just $1.8 million after a week in release.

Germany was another territory that saw “Ice” win the day; genre titles followed, picking up non-family demos. “Ice” has dominated Teutonic B.O., raking in almost $50 million to date. BVI’s “Scary Movie,” second in Germany, has earned $5.2 million, while Warner Bros.’ “Final Destination 3” fell to third.

French auds also lauded “Ice.” The pic has cumed nearly $37 million there and was No. 1 at the B.O., ahead of a spate of local pics that continue to do well. Most notable was the spy spoof “OSS 117” which held steady. Pic was No. 2 in France, and has cumed about $6.2 million.

But “Ice 2” didn’t work everywhere.

In Spain, BVI’s “Eight Below” topped the charts. Doggie adventure pic took in almost $958,000, and Spanish bookers, who expected little from the pic, are more than happy.

“‘Eight Below’ over-performed,” says one booker. “It’s difficult to trust an Antarctic drama tale for a sunny weekend, but it did well.”

Elsewhere in Spain, TRI Pictures’ dance drama “Take the Lead” took second, with $897,760 from 265 prints. Bookers were disappointed; they had projected the pic, with Antonio Banderas toplining, to do $1.2 million worth of biz. “Inside Man” ranked No. 3 and beat out “Ice,” which slipped to No. 4.

Still “Ice” has cumed $22.1 million in Spain, beating out “Madagascar” which cumed $16.9 million last year.

(Sheri Jennings in Italy, Archie Thomas in the U.K., Liza Klaussmann in France, Esther De Prado in Spain, Ed Meza in Germany, Michael Scott O’Boyle in Mexico and Michaela Boland in Australia contributed to this report.)

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