‘Pirates’ to pillage fresh competish

'Dead' could move past $250 million by Sunday

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” will test its sea legs this weekend, while “Superman Returns” gets a big chance to fly overseas.

“Pirates” will almost certainly break the one week B.O. record of $192.1 million held by “Spider-Man 2” and move past $250 million by Sunday — six-day cume was $184 million on Wednesday. Only question now is whether the sequel will have a long run that brings it into the $400 million-plus or even $500 million-plus B.O. stratosphere.

Pic has set records nearly every day this week, and it’s seeing weekday declines better than those of other blockbuster openers, such as both “Spider-Man” films, the “Star Wars” prequels, “Shrek 2” and the “Harry Potter” pics. If “Pirates” drops less than 47%, it will break the all-time second weekend record of $72.2 million held by “Shrek 2.”

With some 30 million tickets sold already, Johnny Depp starrer will have to quickly start mustering repeat business to maintain its momentum.

Frame’s openers are “You, Me and Dupree” and “Little Man,” which will most likely compete for No. 2 in the high teens or 20s.

After a two-week domestic run that has brought its cume to $149.6 million, “Superman Returns” opens this weekend in most key international markets, where Warner Bros. had been holding off due to the World Cup.

Pic has grossed a decent $43.7 million in the past two weeks overseas in Australia, Korea and a dozen other Asian territories.

The Man of Steel did solid, though not blockbuster, business on Wednesday as it opened in the No. 1 spot in France, Spain, Belgium and French-speaking Switzerland. Pic bows in Brazil, Mexico and the U.K. on Friday.

France reported $1.1 million with 146,000 tickets from 854 prints, 40% better than “Batman Begins,” 19% better than “Mission: Impossible III” and 21% better than “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which opened the same weekend last year and went on to gross $268 million internationally, including $29 million in France.

Opening day did fall short of “The Da Vinci Code,” which launched with $1.9 million from 232,898 French tickets, and was far under opening-day figures in France for last year’s “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” (641,799 tickets) and “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (606,591).

Spain opened with $947,000 from 560 prints, nearly double the bow of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and on par with that of “MI3,” which went on to gross $9.2 million in that market.

“Superman” launched in China on Tuesday and grossed $1.3 million in its first two days.

Belgium’s launch took in $78,000 from 108, 73% better than “Charlie,” which opened on the same weekend last year.

Pic bowed in Hong Kong on Thursday to $244,000, topping “MI3” by 19%.

“Dead Man’s Chest” has taken in $66.4 million overseas through Wednesday in a total of seven markets, including the U.K., Australia and South Korea. Over half that haul is from Blighty, where the movie’s grossed a boffo $35.3 million.

Pic’s expanding this weekend to an array of mid-level foreign markets such as Indonesia, Holland, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, Scandinavia, Singapore and Turkey.

It slowly rolls out to other major markets throughout July and August.

Back at home, “You, Me and Dupree” will be the first test for Owen Wilson as the primary star of a comedy. His two biggest bows, “Wedding Crashers” and “Starsky and Hutch,” which opened to $33.9 million and $28.6 million, respectively, co-starred Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller, respectively. A somewhat more modest bow for “Dupree,” which hits 3,132 playdates, looks likely.

First foreign launch will be Aug. 25 in the U.K., followed by most other markets in the fall. Many distribs have been forced to take a similar tack with mid-summer U.S. films, opting to avoid competition with the World Cup,  “Pirates” and “Superman Returns.”

“Little Man” bows at 2,533 theaters. Last Wayans brothers pic outside the “Scary Movie” franchise was “White Chicks,” which opened to $19.7 million in 2004. Sony and Revolution are likely hoping to match that performance, primarily from younger auds.

Limited fare

In limited release, Warner Independent expands Richard Linklater’s sci-fi adaptation “A Scanner Darkly” to 216 theaters after a strong bow at 17 last weekend.

First Independent has two films debuting: sex comedy “Mini’s First Time” at seven theaters in New York and L.A. and the David Mamet-written “Edmond” at two in Gotham.

Bauer Martinez opens Ed Burns’ “The Groomsmen” at three in L.A. and Gotham.

Cyan Pictures bows “The Oh in Ohio” at five theaters in New York and L.A.

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