'Meltdown' shows little slippage at o'seas wickets

The third weekend of “Ice Age: The Meltdown” stayed hot enough to freeze out rivals, and the toon again dominated internationally with $54 million at 7,298 playdates in 57 markets during Easter weekend.

Fox, which saw strong holdover biz following last weekend’s bracing $95 million take, has now cumed more than $250 million offshore from “Meltdown” for a worldwide total of $397 million. With spring holidays observed this week in many markets and Italy and South Korea launching next weekend, “Meltdown” still has plenty of mileage offshore.

As in previous weekends, the family-friendly CG sequel’s gross easily beat the combined total for the next five films, led by UIP’s “Inside Man” with $12 million, followed by BVI’s moderate foreign launches of “The Wild” with $10 million and its “Scary Movie 4″ with $9 million.

“Meltdown,” which has eclipsed the original “Ice Age” on the foreign side by $44 million, saw its top numbers in Germany, with $10.9 million at 1,111 sites, down 33% from its opening, for a $35.3 million cume. French soph sesh slid 44% to $7.4 million at 863, while the second U.K. frame declined 30% to $6.7 million at 502, for respective totals of $23.2 million and $33.7 million.

Other notable “Meltdown” numbers came from Australia, down just 17% to $3.1 million at 388 engagements in its second frame; Spain, down 34% to $3 million at 450 in its third frame; Brazil, off 22% to $2.6 million at 519 in its third weekend; and Switzerland, off only 13% to $2.4 million at 141 in its soph sesh.

Toon stayed potent in Russia with $1.6 million at 459 for a three-week cume of $17.5 million. And “Meltdown” scored solid launches in Hong Kong with $829,000 at 25 and in Thailand with $516,000 at 110.

“Ice Age: The Meltdown” has revived what had been mostly moderate foreign biz that saw only seen BVI’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe exceed $200 million in grosses during 2006. Overall weekend business towered over the same frame of 2005, when “The Interpreter” led with $9.3 million at 1,157 screens.

“Inside Man” finished a distant but decent second as an adult counterprogammer, taking $12 million at 2,900 playdates in 41 markets, led by a French launch of $2.4 million at 338, a Spanish opening of $2 million at 246 and an Italian soph sesh of $1.3 million at 207. Foreign grosses have hit $51 million, led by $11.1 million in Blighty.

BVI’s CG toon “The Wild” — aimed at the 8-and-under crowd — took in a lukewarm $10 million in day-and-date launches in two dozen markets, with best perf coming in Spain with $2.2 million at 382, trailing the third frame of “Meltdown” by 25%. Mexico was the second best market with $1.9 million at 475 (on a par with openings of “A Bug’s Life” and “Lilo & Stitch”), followed by $1.3 million at 400 in Italy and $1.2 million at 385 in France.

Distrib saw respectable biz from “Scary Movie 4″ with day-and-date openings in eight markets. Top numbers came in the U.K., with $3.5 million at 500, and Australia, with $2 million at 220 — both slightly behind the “Scary Movie 3″ launches. Russia opened solidly with $1.6 million at 150, doubling “Scary Movie 3.”

BVI opens “Scary Movie 4″ next weekend in Germany and Mexico. The previous three pics generated $300 million in offshore foreign grosses.

Warner’s “V for Vendetta” continued to show only moderate traction, with $3.2 million at 1,400-plus prints in 41 markets, led by $914,000 at 302 in its second frame in Spain. Foreign gross has hit $37 million, pushing the worldwide total to $103 million.

UIP’s “Failure to Launch” took in $3.2 million at 1,594 locations in 27 territories, with an Australian launch of $1.02 million at 184. The romantic comedy has cumed $23 million offshore and $106 million globally.

Figures weren’t available Sunday for the third weekend of C2/Intermedia’s “Basic Instinct 2,” but were likely modest and in the $3 million range.

Other films reaching seven figures included Sony’s “Yours Mine and Ours” with $1.9 million at 1,065; UIP’s “Nanny McPhee” with $1.7 million at 1,500; BVI’s “Narnia” with $1.6 million; Sony’s “Hostel” with $1.3 million at 700; and BVI’s “Shaggy Dog” with $1.1 million.

“Narnia,” which has cumed $445 million overseas, led in Japan for the seventh straight weekend with $1.4 million to push its total in that market to $52 million.

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