'Pirates' sails to a sixth straight win

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” has salvaged the summer for international biz after the hit of the soccer World Cup, easily winning a sixth straight weekend overseas with $44 million at about 9,000 playdates in four dozen markets.

Thanks to a record-setting Spanish launch and decent holdover biz, BVI’s “Dead Man’s Chest” scuttled the competish, nearly doubling the combined grosses of the next four pics — Fox’s “Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties,” UIP’s “Miami Vice,” Sony’s “Monster House” and UIP’s “The Break-Up.” It was so dominant that no other pic managed to exceed even the single-market “Dead Man’s Chest” grosses in either Spain or France.

Pirate pic has enabled overall business to remain well ahead of 2005. Sequel took in more than triple the gross of the top international film during the same frame last year, when “The Island” led with $13.9 million.

“Dead Man’s Chest” has hit $463 million in foreign grosses and $855 million in worldwide take to become the 12th highest worldwide performer. By the end of the month, it should become the seventh film to pass the $900 million mark worldwide, eclipsing “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” “Shrek 2, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” “Finding Nemo” and “The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring.”

Next weekend it’s likely to tie the record of seven straight wins at the international box office, set three years ago by “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.”

“Dead Man’s Chest” hit paydirt in Spain with $11.5 million at 980 playdates, breaking the launch record “The Da Vinci Code” set three months ago by $400,000 and taking 75% of the total market. Exhibitors had forecast around $7.7 million as many Spaniards have cleared out of cities for summer vacations, but buzz stayed strong due to Johnny Depp’s star power, the pic’s record-breaking U.S. bow and positive initial word of mouth.

“Chest” should stay sizzling in coming days thanks to the five-day weekend with a Spanish national holiday on Tuesday, noted Jose Manuel Pimienta, Nielsen EDI Spain managing director.

“Dead Man’s Chest” slid 52% in its French soph sesh to a still-impressive $8.5 million, lifting the market cume to $30 million in 12 days. German takings fell 48% to $5.6 million in pic’s third frame for a $45.7 million total, and Brit biz declined 24% in its sixth weekend to $2.3 million for an $85 million Blighty cume.

The only remaining significant bows for “Chest” will come Aug. 24 in Greece and Sept. 15 in Italy.

“Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties” finished a distant but decent second with $8 million at 3,002 engagements, thanks mostly to a German launch of $3 million at 611 and a Chinese opening of $1.9 million at 1,000. The sequel’s cumed $44.5 million internationally, $80 million short of the original’s foreign take.

“Miami Vice” grabbed $7.5 million at 1,700 playdates in 20 markets, with the majority from the U.K. with $2.2 million at 410 in its soph sesh and its first-place Australian launch of $2 million at 232. “Vice” has cumed $20 million offshore and $75 million worldwide; it will open next weekend in France and South Korea.

“Monster House” scared up $6 million at 1,330 sites in 11 markets, led by a second-place Korean opening of $2.5 million at 200 screen, a fourth-place Brit launch with $1.9 million at 450 and a first-place Mexican soph sesh with $1.1 million at 479.

UIP’s “The Break-Up” remained respectable with $5.7 million at 1,200 playdates in 33 territories, led by a German launch of $2.5 million at 347 and its fourth U.K. frame with $1.1 million at 364, down 30%. Foreign cume has hit $54.3 million, led by $16.5 million in Blighty; laffer’s worldwide take is $172 million with 15 markets left.

UIP’s “Over the Hedge” took in $4.5 million at 2,828 in 39 markets to bring international cume to $143.6 million. BVI’s “Cars” finished in the same vicinity, led by its third U.K. frame with $2.2 million at 501; it’s cumed slightly less than “Hedge” overseas with 30% of markets not yet open.

Warner’s “Superman Returns” showed only modest traction, with $4 million from 3,000 prints in 55 markets, for an offshore cume of $155 million and a worldwide total of $347 million. The Man of Steel opened in first in Portugal with $257,600 at 75; pic’s last big push comes next weekend with launches in Germany and Japan.

UIP’s “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” kept up moderate speed with $3.2 million at 1,500 in 40 territories, lifting foreign cume to $76 million — $14 million ahead of domestic with 10 markets yet to open. Distrib’s “Nacho Libre” opened mildly with $3 million at 693 in eight markets, including $1.8 million at 362 in the U.K. and $1 million at 292 in Mexico.

Sony’s “Click” took in $2.8 million at 790 in 17 markets, led by first-place launches in Brazil with $1 million at 199 and the Philippines with $330,000 — both records for Adam Sandler films. Warner’s “Lake House” stayed lukewarm with $2.7 million from 1,800 prints in 33 markets for a foreign cume of $35.2 million.

The foiled London terrorist attacks appeared to have heightened interest in UIP’s “United 93″ in Japan as the pic launched with $1 million. Foreign cume has hit $17.6 million from 11 markets, with nine additional territories opening next weekend, including Australia, Mexico and Taiwan.

Four other pics finished with seven figures — UIP’s “Mission: Impossible III” with $1.7 million at 797, bringing foreign cume to $256.2 million; UIP’s “You, Me and Dupree, with $1.2 million at 320; Fox’s “My Super Ex-Girlfriend,with $1.1 million, including a mild Mexican launch of $712,000 at 255; and Warner’s “Lady in the Water, with $1.1 million from 397 prints in seven markets, including a quiet $877,000 at 289 in its U.K. opening.

(John Hopewell in Spain contributed to this report.)

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