Spidey still spinning worldwide web

'Spider-Man 3' on top in foreign markets

It’s still Spidey’s world outside the U.S., as the third frame of “Spider-Man 3” dominated international moviegoing with $49.6 million at 15,850 playdates in 105 markets.

Sony’s comicbook actioner saw minimal competition other than limited forays by Paramount’s “Shrek the Third” and “Zodiac.” The green ogre opened day-and-date in just four markets, taking in $13.3 million at 750 sites, including a record-setting Russia launch, and Warner’s “Zodiac” began its foreign debut with a respectable $9.5 million at 1,400 in 17 territories.

But “Spider-Man 3” remained massive thanks to impressive holds in many markets; pic saw an overall decline of just 41% for the weekend. It’s already the No. 1 film of all time in Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, the Philippines and Singapore, and its foreign cume has hit $465.1 million — the 16th highest of all time. Its worldwide total has reached $747 million, No. 22 on that list.

Combined grosses of the Spidey franchise have hit $2.34 billion.

Overseas markets have contributed more than 62% of the “Spider-Man 3” worldwide gross, underlining the potential payoff for studios opting for high-cost sequels. That strategy’s coming into sharp focus with this week’s worldwide launch of “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” starting with nine international markets on Wednesday, including France, Italy and South Korea.

France led the way for “Spider-Man 3,” as grosses slid just 15% to $6.5 million at 973, while Brit biz fell 52% to $5.3 million at 1,077. German grosses held exceptionally well amid holidays Thursday and Friday, with a 9% decrease to $4.2 million at 1,162. Japanese takings declined only 25% to $3.7 million at 799.

Mexican biz decreased 51% to $3.1 million at 930, but that was enough for “Spider-Man 3” to supplant “Ice Age 2” as the market’s all-time top grosser with $30.5 million. Only the U.K. ($57.2 million), France ($46.4 million), Japan ($43.6 million) and South Korea ($31.4 million) have posted higher cumes so far.

Half a dozen other markets hit seven figures: Brazil, off 34% to $2.9 million; Korea, down 58% to $2.7 million; Spain, off 45% to $2.5 million; Australia, down 40% to $2.1 million; Italy, off 45% to $1.8 million; and Belgium, up 17% to $1.2 million.

In India, Spidey declined 59% to $945,000 at 570 for a $13 million cume, and in China, it slid 69% to $680,000 at 534 for a total of $12.3 million — second highest for a Hollywood film after “Titanic.”

After spending two frames steering clear of “Spider-Man 3,” rivals began counterprogramming forays abroad, with “Shrek the Third” grabbing the most green in Russia with $11.1 million at 600 — representing the biggest launch ever for a foreign pic there, edging “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” and 44% higher than “Spider-Man 3.”

“Shrek the Third” also romped in the Ukraine, with $1.08 million, for the second-best opening ever behind “Dead Man’s Chest,” and in the Philippines, with $1 million at 78, for the biggest animated launch, topping “Ice Age 2.” Its Romanian debut took in $120,000 for that market’s best animated opening.

With “Shrek 2” having grossed well over $400 million in overseas markets, the stage is set for a similar perf by “Shrek the Third.” Paramount will begin opening the third ogre pic next month in other major markets as school vacations start.

As for “Zodiac,” which found only modest traction Stateside with $33 million for Paramount, David Fincher’s chiller opened in second or third in key markets and scared up better numbers than his “Fight Club.”

Top perf by far came in France with $3.5 million at 376, highlighted by outgrossing “Spider-Man 3” in Paris on Saturday.

“Zodiac” results were more moderate in the U.K., with $1.5 million at 227, as pic finished third behind Spidey and the soph sesh of “28 Weeks Later.” Spanish biz also generated a solid $1.5 million at 188, on par with “Seven,” while Australia and Italy were milder with $1.1 million at 182 and $880,000 at 223, respectively.

“Zodiac” will expand in two weeks with launches in Belgium, Germany, Holland and Mexico.

Universal’s comedy hit “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” led the rest of the pack with $3.5 million at 2,400 in 47 markets, drawing its best number from its eighth German frame, with $646,000 at 579. The “Bean” sequel has cumed $176 million, with openings still coming in China, Japan, South Korea and the U.S.

Fox’s “28 Weeks Later” pulled in $3 million at 878, led by a Brit soph sesh of $1.9 million at 402, for a foreign cume of $10.3 million and $29 million worldwide. Distrib’s “The Hills Have Eyes 2” scared up $1.3 million at 800 for an international take of $11.3 million and $32 million worldwide.

Par’s “Next” opened nicely in South Korea with $1.9 million at 140, 46% ahead of “Shooter.” Its “Blades of Glory” added $1.5 million at 857 for a foreign cume of $15 million, and “Shooter” bagged $1.4 million at 1,327 for an international total of $41.3 million — $5 million short of the domestic total.

BVI’s “Wild Hogs” remained a respectable overseas performer with $2.5 million at 2,114, led by its fifth German frame with $1 million at 585. Foreign cume’s hit $75 million, lifting the worldwide to $236 million.

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