‘Thirteen’ has lucky break in Europe

Pic tops charts

LONDON — “Ocean’s Thirteen” entered the fray stylishly enough at the European box office this weekend, coming out on top in the U.K., Spain and Italy, and a host of smaller territories.

The pretty suave “Thirteen” debut keeps up the decent run of opening results for this summer’s third installments in Europe.

“Spider-Man 3” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” have opened boldly in Europe and “Thirteen” completes the third part of the hattrick.

Another third installment, “Shrek the Third,” is also expected to pocket big wad of green notes in Europe — the last pic in the animated franchise topped $400 million in international coin.

Despite scorching weekend weather in Blighty, which drove overall trade southwards by 17% from the previous frame, “Ocean’s Thirteen” managed to pull a cool $6 million at 475.

The opening result pleased Brit bookers, who attribute the good perf to the appeal of the cast and the warm reviews from local crits. Exhibs are hoping that “Thirteen” will dip 35% to 40% in its soph sesh, as “although a ‘PG,’ it appeals to maturer audiences than some of the other popcorn event movies, which typically drop 50% or more in their second weekend.”

“Thirteen” finished well ahead of “At World’s End,” which slipped 57% in its third frame for a $66.4 million cume. The drop-off slightly concerns exhibs, who are projecting a final cume between $73 million and $79 million.

“Thirteen” and “At World’s End” totally dominated Brit biz. Third-placed was Sony opener “Are We Done Yet?,” with a modest $827,328 at 273.

Counterprogramming success “The Lives of Others” continues to trundle along nicely for Lionsgate U.K. The German pic about the life of an artist under constant Stasi surveillance in the GDR dipped just 21% in its ninth frame for a socko $4.6 million running take.

In Italy, “Thirteen” easily commanded top spot, but made a relatively small splash, pulling $2.2 million on 504.

Meanwhile, “At World’s End” plunged 75% to $1.3 million on 668 in a sun-drenched frame that saw a 47% weekend-to-weekend B.O. drop at Italo wickets, as locals hit the beaches en masse.

In its third frame, third “Pirates” pic has cumed $20 million, according to national compiler Cinetel.

The beach exodus made mincemeat of nearly all other outings, especially “Meet the Robinsons,” which pulled a paltry $327,000 on 219.

Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof” dropped 69% in its second frame to $370 on 318 for a funereal $1,160 per screen average in the third spot. The B-movie homage, released by Medusa, has grossed $2 million to date.

Italy’s only counterprogramming bright note was Berlin Golden Bear winner “Tuya’s Wedding,” which scored $99,000 on 25 via Lucky Red. Chinese helmer Wang Quanan’s drama about a Mongolian woman’s marital dilemmas pulled a $3,950 per screen average, the highest after “Thirteen.”

Overall biz was also flat in Spain, where a variety of televised sports distracted auds from a trip to the cinema. Crunch Spanish soccer league games, Formula 1 racing and the final of the Roland Garros tennis tournament — won by Spaniard Rafael Nadal for the third year running — ate into box office.

Only “Thirteen,” a fast-fading “At World’s End” and “Happily N’Ever After” made any real impression.

“Thirteen” bowed to $3 million off 463 for a $6,508 average. “It didn’t make a huge sum, but it was good enough, given the circumstances,” said one exhibber.

But “Thirteen” split opinions about its legs. For one exhibber, “It will hold pretty well.” Another, however, forecast a pretty quick fall off. “People come out disappointed. It doesn’t offer anything new,” he said.

“At World’s End” dropped 60% in its third weekend for a 17-day cume of $24.2 million, and now looks bound for some $27 million-$29 million, significantly down on “Dead Man’s Chest’s” $37.2 million in Spain.

Exhibbers reserved some praise, however, for U.S.-German toon pic “Happily N’Ever After,” a co-production between Odyssey Ent., Vanguard Films, BAF Berlin Animation Film and BFC Berliner Film. The fairy tale send-up, which is voiced by Sarah Michelle Gellar, grossed $747,818 off 265 for a $2,822 average. “That’s not bad at all,” said one exhib, and proof that toon pics show larger resistance to sports than more adult-skewed fare.

In Germany, “At World’s End” held top spot despite the arrival of crime caper “Thirteen.”

Holding off Clooney and co., and battling against warm weather, “At World’s End” dipped 50% to $4.8 million at 974 for a running total of $45.3 million.

“Thirteen” opened on 686 with $3.9 million, putting it well below 2004’s “Ocean’s Twelve,” which bowed with $5.2 million.

“Moviegoers are going for the big summer popcorn movie, and that’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ ” said one exhib. “‘Ocean’s Thirteen’ may have a lot of big stars, but it’s the same setup as the other films. ‘Pirates’ is aimed at a much wider audience and has a lot more to offer in terms of action and fun, especially for younger viewers.”

As elsewhere in Europe, “At World’s End” and “Thirteen” bossed biz. At number three, David Fincher’s cerebral serial killer thriller “Zodiac” dropped 47%, pulling in $429,980 from 199 for a running cume of $1.5 million.

Holding on to the eighth and ninth rungs were 3L’s French-German romantic comedy “2 Days in Paris” and Constantin’s canine fantasy “Herr Bello.” “2 Days in Paris” fell 52% to $101,739 from 67 on its way to a $1.3 million total. “Herr Bello” also dropped 52% for a weekend B.O. of $95,899 from 245 and a cume of $1.4 million.

Overall the German box office dropped 23% from the previous week.

“At World’s End” held nicely in France where “Thirteen” does not bow until June 20. The swashbuckler dipped 38% in its third frame to $4.4 million at 787 and a $34 million running cume.

Jean Becker’s “Conversations with My Gardener” opened strongly for StudioCanal. The light-hearted laffer toplining Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Daniel Auteuil earned $2.1 million in its first five days on 518.

While French crits have largely contradicted most foreign colleagues and gone gaga over Quentin Tarantino’s “Grindhouse: Death Proof,” the pic’s been a slight disappointment for TFM in its first five days. The Cannes contender brought in a shade over $1.4 million on 515.

“Zodiac,” which also received a splashy Cannes debut, has taken an impressive $7.6 million after four frames for WB.

Additional reporting by Nick Vivarelli (Italy), Ed Meza (Germany), David Hayhurst (France) and John Hopewell (Spain).

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