Sony's thriller rakes in $52 mil abroad in third frame

International moviegoers remained faithful to “The Da Vinci Code,” as the third weekend of Sony’s thriller easily led a healthy foreign box office with $52 million at 11,625 playdates in 84 markets.

Fox’s second frame of “X-Men: The Last Stand” showed moderate traction overseas, declining 56% to $33.5 million at 8,108 engagements.

And Warner’s expansion of its pricey “Poseidon” landed with a decent but hardly blockbuster $22.9 million from more than 3,360 prints in 15 markets, ranking behind either “The Da Vinci Code” or “X-Men 3″ in several key territories. Still, “Poseidon” posted the fifth best launch in 2006 after “Code,” “X-Men 3,” “Mission: Impossible III” and “Ice Age: The Meltdown.”

With the top three pics combining for $109 million, overall international biz handily outperformed the same weekend of 2005, when the third weekend of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” led with $38.5 million. But with soccer’s World Cup beginning Friday, foreign moviegoing’s expected to see major declines during the next four frames.

“The Da Vinci Code,” which declined 42% from its second frame, has shown far more power overseas than domestically on its way to racking up a worldwide cume of $582.7 million. International coin accounts for more than 70%, with overseas grosses totaling $410 million.

“Code” is certain to surpass Sony’s top foreign performers — “Spider-Man,” at $417.9 million, and “Spider-Man 2,” at $410.5 million — in the next two days. It’s already become the 21st pic to gross more than $400 million internationally.

“Code” performed best in Japan, with a 23% decline to $7 million at 857 screens, and in Italy, where it’s holding impressively with a 5% decline to $5.7 million at 894. Other major European markets saw more significant declines, with Germany down 54% to $5 million at 1,171, France off 53% to $3.6 million at 945, the U.K. down 60% to $3.6 million at 1,070 and Spain declining 41% to $3.5 million at 748.

“Code” also topped seven figures in Australia with $2 million at 493, Brazil with $2 million at 534, South Korea with $1.6 million at 221, Mexico with $1.6 million at 768 and Switzerland with $1.2 million at 127. Its only launch came in the United Arab Emirates with $690,000 at 34, the industry’s third-biggest opening ever.

“X-Men: The Last Stand” stayed solid on the foreign front, with a mostly better hold than its 67% decline Stateside. Foreign grosses for the comicbook sequel have totaled $135.5 million, or 44% of the $310 million worldwide cume.

“X-Men 3″ performed best in the U.K., with a 67% decline to $4.4 million at 450; in France, which also declined 67% to $3.5 million at 756; in Mexico, with a 49% slide to $3 million at 1,000; in Germany, with a 59% fall to $2.3 million at 881; and in Australia, with a 58% decline to $2.1 million at 395.

The third “X-Men” should surpass the $139 million foreign cume of the original “X-Men” in a few days and looks likely to finish its international run in the same range as “X2: X-Men United,” which grossed $193 million overseas in 2003. Fox has held off launching “X-Men 3″ in Japan, where it opens Sept. 9; China, opening July 20; South Korea, launching June 15; and Taiwan, opening June 17.

The weekend saw Warners achieve moderate results for “Poseidon” as it attempted to salvage a disappointing domestic performance. Top figures by far came from a first-place finish in action-friendly South Korea with $6.2 million at 255, followed by a more modest bow in Japan with $2.7 million at 415, ranking behind “The Da Vinci Code” and the fifth frame of local entry “Umizara 2.”

In the Seoul market, “Poseidon” outperformed “Day After Tomorrow” by 17% and “Constantine” by 28%.

“Poseidon” came in second in Mexico behind “X-Men 3″ with $2.6 million at 504; third in the U.K. behind “Code” and “X-Men 3″ with $2.4 million at 441; third in Italy with $2 million at 350; and third in Oz with $1.4 million at 302. It finished in first in its Hong Kong opening with $767,000 at 24 and in its soph sesh in Taiwan with $620,000 at 180.

Foreign gross for “Poseidon” has hit $34.1 million, while the worldwide cume is $85.2 million. It will launch later this month in France, Spain and Brazil and open in July in Germany after the World Cup.

“Over the Hedge” scored solidly in its foreign expansion with $6.7 million at 730 locations in nine markets — mostly from launches in Russia with $4 million at 321 and in South Korea with $2.1 million at 220. UIP plans staggered openings in coming weeks for “Hedge,” which has cumed $8.6 million outside the U.S.

UIP’s “Mission: Impossible III” declined 49% in its fifth frame to $6.6 million at 3,500 locations, led by South Korea with $1.5 million and the U.K. with $581,000. Foreign cume for “MI3″ has hit $193.9 million, pushing its worldwide take to $316 million.

BVI’s “The Wild” put the bite on $3.5 million at 1,700, led by a British soph sesh of $1.3 million at 400 and a German launch of $1.2 million at 400, mostly from matinees. The kidtoon has grossed $43.2 million overseas, $8 million ahead of domestic.

UIP saw moderate returns in its first foreign markets for “United 93″ with $2 million at 528 playdates, led by a fifth-place $1 million at 276 in the U.K. The 9/11 drama finished fourth in Germany with $710,000 at 195.

BVI’s “Scary Movie 4″ added $1.1 million to push its foreign cume to $65.5 million. Sony’s first foreign launches of “RV” were mild, with a fifth-place bow in Australia with $745,000 at 182 and $225,000 at 100 in Italy.

Foreign biz will see a unique launch Tuesday when Fox opens its remake of “The Omen” in about 5,000 engagements, day-and-date with the domestic opening, to take full advantage of the 6-6-06 gimmick. BVI then opens “Cars” day-and-date next weekend in half a dozen foreign markets, including Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan.

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