Second-place 'X3' socko o'seas

“The Da Vinci Code” was unstoppable in its second week overseas, and the mutants of “X-Men: The Last Stand” were simply magnificent.

Sony’s “Code” grossed $90.9 million at 12,038 playdates, while the third “X-Men” pic showed plenty of power, bowing to $76.1 million at 8,543 engagements.

Declining only 40% from its record-setting opening, “Code” had cumed $317.4 million internationally as of Sunday, representing 70% of the worldwide total.

“This is clearly a crowd-pleaser,” noted Sony Intl. distribution president Mark Zucker. “There are no weak markets.”

The “X-Men 3″ performance nearly mirrored the opening weekend in 2003 when “X2″ launched with $69 million in 72 markets on its way to grossing $192 million internationally.

Fox Intl. exec Joe Ortiz predicted “X-Men 3″ will top $200 million in foreign gross by the end of its run.

Distribs didn’t provide estimates of Monday’s international biz, but with “Code” and “X-Men 3″ combining for more than $157 million, overall foreign biz for the weekend reached robust levels — particularly compared with the same frame of 2005, when the second weekend of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” dominated with $61.5 million, followed by “Kingdom of Heaven” with $8 million.

The results appear to validate the day-and-date strategies employed by Sony and Fox in opting for worldwide launches of “Code” and “X-Men 3″ rather than going gradually and bumping up against soccer’s World Cup. The tourney starts June 9 and is expected to chill foreign moviegoing through its July 9 final.

“Code” showed notable holding power in European markets, led by Germany with a 17% decline to $11 million at 1,165 engagements, nearly double the “X-Men 3″ launch of $5.6 million at 885.

“Code” also easily won in Italy with $6 million at 910, while “X-Men 3,” on far fewer screens (510), nabbed $2.3 million. In Spain, “Code” led with $5.9 million at 752, compared with $4.6 million at 453 for “X-Men 3.”

The “X-Men” mutants prevailed in the U.K. with $12.8 million at 447 playdates, beating “Code” by $3.7 million; in France with $10.6 million at 756, topping “Code” by $2.4 million; in Mexico with $5.9 million at 1,090, nearly double the “Code” gross; in Australia with $5.1 million at 408; in Brazil with $3.5 million at 530; and in Russia with $3.1 million. The Mexican and Brazilian launches represented Fox’s second best openings in those markets.

“X-Men 3″ set Fox records in the Philippines with $1.5 million at 186, in Singapore with $1.4 million at 75, in Malaysia with $774,000 at 115 and in Indonesia with $532,000 at 52. It posted the second best industry openings ever in Trinidad with $157,000 and Jamaica with $80,000.

Fox held off launching “X-Men 3″ in four markets: Japan, where it opens Sept. 9; China, opening July 20; South Korea, launching June 15; and Taiwan, opening June 17. As a result, “Code” held well in Japan, sliding 21% to $9 million, while in Korea it declined 44% to $4.1 million.

“Code” also showed exceptional traction in Holland, where soph-sesh grosses rose 4% to $2.2 million; in Belgium, with a 3% decline to $2 million; and in Greece with a 12% slide to $1.2 million. Its only opening came in India with $655,000 at 120.

UIP’s “Mission: Impossible III” finished a distant third in its fourth frame with $12.1 million at 5,022 sites, pushing its foreign cume to $182.1 million and its worldwide total to $299 million. Best numbers continued to come from Korea with $2.2 million, down 45%, for a $31.1 million cume.

Fox’s “Ice Age: The Meltdown,” which revitalized foreign biz in April, took in $3 million to push foreign cume to $434.7 million and the worldwide total to $625 million.

BVI family toon “The Wild” showed some bite with $3 million at 1,763 playdates, including a $2 million launch at 425 in the U.K. and $415,000 at 150 in Poland. “The Wild” has cumed $36 million overseas, eclipsing the domestic total, with Australia, Germany and Japan still to open.

UIP’s foreign launch of kidpic “Curious George” took in a moderate $1.4 million at 742, led by $710,000 in the U.K. and $500,000 in Germany. And its “Over the Hedge” remained in just three markets, with $570,000 at 137 playdates in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.

“Over the Hedge” and BVI’s “Cars” will start competing in major foreign markets next month. “Cars” will go day-and-date with the June 9 U.S. launch in Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan, opening in France and Russia the following frame.

Warner’s “Poseidon” opened in first in Taiwan with $1.6 million at 145 prints, including previews, lifting its foreign cume from seven Asian markets to $9.9 million.

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