‘World Trade’ gains traction against ‘Pirates’

Local pics also prevail in major territories

With Buena Vista Intl.’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” finally cooling off at the overseas wickets (finishing in the No. 5 spot), Oliver Stone and UIP’s “World Trade Center” was able to spring to No. 1 with some impressive European support.

Local pics also prevailed in major territories, including Germany and France, without much socko Hollywood product in the mix.

“WTC” scored $12.7 million from 19 territories to raise its international cume so far to $22.4 million. The pic bowed in the No. 1 spot in Spain, where it took in $2.4 million from 344 screens, and had the best per-screen average of any pic ($7,413).

“(‘WTC’) performed outstandingly,” says one Spanish booker. “I thought it was too American to charm Spaniards. Political films usually work in Spain, but I didn’t expect audiences to pack theaters for a 9/11 story.”

Says another booker: “Oliver Stone usually plays well in Spain. People either love him or hate him, but that’s the kind of controversy that helps box office.”

No. 2 in Spain was “Click,” which made $1.7 million.

“WTC” has been promoted via a worldwide publicity tour by Stone and the cast that included the cities of Venice, Deauville, London, Berlin, Moscow, Tokyo, Seoul and, most recently, San Sebastian and Dublin. Pic added $1.4 million at 418 engagements in its second French frame, lifting its cume there to $4.3 million. Pic also finished first in Taiwan, and second in Brazil.

Opening next weekend in Oz, Japan and Scandinavia, “WTC” looks likely to surpass the foreign cume for 9/11 drama “United 93,” which has grossed $41.6 million overseas for UIP. “United 93” tallied $83 million worldwide.

Meanwhile, Sony’s Adam Sandler comedy “Click” had some impressive Euro bows, including a No. 1 finish in the U.K. “Click” clicked with $11 million from 51 territories and has so far taken in $59.6 million overseas. Pic saw a major expansion in Europe, grabbing its top numbers in the U.K. and Germany.

After “Click,” Fox’s “The Devil Wears Prada” placed third with $10.9 million from 17 territories, and the German pic “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” came in fourth.

“Perfume” has been a local sensation in Germany, beating out “Click” and “WTC” to remain No. 1 in its third week, cuming north of 3.5 million admissions.

Nevertheless, “Click” and “World Trade Center” landed high on the charts in Germany and helped boost the overall B.O. there by 13.2% over the previous week.

Following “Click” in the U.K. was Momentum’s CG animated “Hoodwinked!” which bowed to $3.3 million from 433 engagements. “WTC” bowed on 411 screens in Blighty to $3.1 million for a per screen average of $7,651.

Last week’s U.K. B.O. topper, “Children of Men,” slid into the No. 4 spot, with $1.8 million off 371 screens, to bring its cume to $5.6 million in two frames.

In France, local World War II pic “Indigenes,” from Mars Films, bested Fox’s No. 2 finisher “The Devil Wears Prada,” with $5.4 million from 460 playdates. “Prada” took in $4.2 mil from 505 Gallic screens.

Exhibs in France expected a strong bow from “Indigenes,” which looks at war through the eyes of French Algerian fighters. Pic’s bow seemed to take even distrib Mars by surprise: The distrib programmed the film on a somewhat cautious 460 playdates, giving it an average of $11,747 per screen.

“Prada” performed well, despite mixed reviews from French crix. “WTC,” the former French No. 1 pic fell 48%.

Now, French exhibs are looking forward to getting their hands on German hit “Perfume.” “Prada,” meantime, has yet to open in much of Europe, and should make an impact.

Overall biz internationally was moderate, but outpaced the same frame last year, when “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” led with $10.2 million, followed by “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” with $5.2 million.

Weekend also marked an end to “Pirates”‘ impressive domination of the overseas charts: The pic had won 11 of the last 12 frames. “Dead Man’s Chest” has cumed $631 million overseas and $1.051 billion worldwide.

Still, “Chest” did win in Italy, taking in $1.9 million to raise its cume there to $22 million.

In other action, Sony’s “Little Man” stayed moderate overseas with $2.8 million at 1,500 in 38 markets, lifting the foreign cume to $33.5 million and worldwide to $92 million. “Cars,” which finished first three weekends ago, led the rest of the pack, with $2.4 million at 3,100 in 32 markets, along with UIP’s “You, Me and Dupree,” also with $2.4 million at 1,300. “Cars” has upped its foreign cume to $203 million and worldwide total to $447 million.

Sony launched domestic winner “Open Season” day-and-date in Taiwan, where it finished second with $520,000 at 80, and in China with $350,000 at 248. CGI toon opens next weekend in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Holland, Israel and Venezuela.

(Liza Klaussmann in France, Sheri Jennings in Italy, Ed Meza in Germany, Esther de Prado in Spain and Dave McNary in Hollywood contributed to this report.)

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