'Meltdown' cumes $95 million at 8,216 playdates

Fox’s CG-animated sequel “Ice Age: The Meltdown” iced the competish around the world last weekend.

Pic had No. 1 finishes in the U.K., Spain, Germany, Mexico and Australia. It also topped the charts in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Sweden, New Zealand, Austria and South Africa.

All told, pic cumed close to $95 million at 8,216 playdates in 45 markets.

That left other pics frozen out, though no notable newcomers dared to go up against “Ice.”

Rounding out the top five internationally were holdovers “Inside Man,” “Basic Instinct 2,” “V for Vendetta” and “Failure to Launch.”

Combined, those pics’ cumes equaled just $21.5 million.

Thanks to “Meltdown,” overall Blighty biz was up a whopping 119% compared to the same frame a week ago, and up 98% from the same weekend last year. Drizzly weather — always conducive to cinemagoing — also helped pack the plexes.

The “Ice Age” sequel opened at the top end of optimistic projections. Bookers are thrilled with the opening and predict toon will post a final cume in excess of £25 million ($43 million). That was considered the best-case scenario prior to release.

The boffo bow is attributed to the massive homevid popularity of the first pic, the strong campaign and the “undoubted appeal” to adults.

Despite the overall satisfaction with the opening, some exhib still groused that the pic didn’t open wide sooner in the U.K.: On March 31, it bowed in Scotland alone.

Predictably, “Ice Age 2″ put a freeze on most of the competish.

Entertainment’s opener “She’s the Man” took the second spot and met exhibs’ expectations. Bookers feel the pic benefited from the fact that UIP’s rival chick-flick “Failure to Launch” did not make an impact the week before — “the door was left open.”

Meantime, “Inside Man” continues to produce the goods in Blighty for UIP: It dipped just 29% in its third frame despite the appearance of “Ice Age 2.” According to one tradester, “The heist pic is fast becoming this year’s ‘The Interpreter’ in that it is a fantastic package movie with a cast that appeals to both women and men.”

Final cume projections are being adjusted north.

Germany’s B.O. rose a titanic 114% as “Ice Age: The Meltdown” drew multitudinous crowds of all ages over the weekend.

“‘Ice Age 2′ hails the coming of spring and marks the start of the summer blockbusters,” exclaimed one ecstatic exhib.

“It’s the kind of movie parents love taking their kids to, yet it also attracts teens, young adults and the young at heart,” he added. “CGI animation such as this simply offers visually stunning eye candy — it’s very impressive and that attracts viewers.”

Pic surely will benefit from the vocal talents of local comedy star Otto Waalkes, who’s back as the voice of Sid the sloth.

The first “Ice Age” garnered $47 million at the local box office.

Only Constantin Film dared go up against Fox’s mega hit with Rowan Atkinson and Maggie Smith comedy “Keeping Mum,” which posed little threat to the prehistoric tale.

“Germans love Rowan Atkinson. I’m sure this film will do very well … on DVD,” the exhib deadpanned.

In France, “Ice Age” was also the story. The pic played in 858 screens, slipping $13.1 million into its pocket, and finally breaking the stranglehold that local pics have had on B.O. there.

Next three finishers in France were all local prods, which were trounced. The No. 2 pic, “La Doublure” (The Valet), fell in its second frame to $3.7 million.

In Spain, “Ice Age 2″ kept its top position.

Pic made $4.6 million and has cumed $12.2 million in 10 days. One booker said the pic benefited from the beginning of children’s holidays there, and it should hold well over Easter weekdays as it’s the only family product in the charts.

No. 2 was Warner Bros.’ “V for Vendetta,” which made $1.4 million on its release. The pic has been largely disappointing abroad.

“It bowed as we expected,” said one Spanish booker. “But we are not so sure that it’ll have good legs.”

Another added: “People who hoped to find something between ‘Matrix’ and ‘Batman’ are not very pleased with ‘V.’ I guess it’s getting mixed word of mouth.”

TRI Pictures’ “Lucky Number Slevin,” ranking third, bowed decently, bookers said. Pic made $872,357. Exhibs thought “V for Vendetta” would eat into “Slevin’s” audience.

Warner Bros.’ local pic “Volver” was still getting attention. Pedro Almodovar’s latest finished No. 4 and has racked up $7.4 million to date after more than three weeks in release.

Turf that didn’t have “Ice Age 2″ suffered.

Italo B.O. was down 12% from the previous frame. “Ice Age 2″ opens there April 21.

Without “Ice Age 2″ floating into Japan until later this month, the territory turned out for Johnny Depp starrer “The Libertine.” Pic opened April 8 on 38 screens and scored $194,323 on 15,560 admissions on its opening weekend, for a strong $5113 average.

“His real breakthrough here was ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,'” said a publicist for distrib Media Suits. “That made even ordinary fans aware of him. His name alone didn’t make the film a hit, but it certainly helped.”

Media Suits is having a sterling year, with “Hotel Rwanda” and Naoko Ogigami’s “Seagull Restaurant” — a female buddy movie — both enjoying long runs.

Archie Thomas in the U.K., Sheri Jennings in Italy, Liza Klaussmann in France, Ed Meza in Germany, Michaela Boland in Australia, Mark Schilling in Japan and Esther de Prado in Spain contributed to this report.

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