Webslinger set on global domination

'Spider-Man 3' continues breaking records

It’s Spidey’s world for now.

Sony’s third iteration of its gilded webslingler franchise demolished the international B.O. record with $227 million at 16,700 playdates in 105 countries in six days — $62 million more than the foreign launch mark set by “The Da Vinci Code” a year ago in its first five days.

 Primed by a massive marketing push culminating in eight international preems, “Spider-Man 3” set records in 26 foreign markets including Brazil, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia and South Korea. Asia in particular sparked strongly to Spidey with new highs in every single territory. Even in markets where the pic’s opening didn’t topple records, nearly all the openings eclipsed the first two Spidey pics.

 Sony took advantage of sky-high awareness by opening in 18 markets on Tuesday for a stunning first-day gross of $29.2 million, followed by $13.5 million on Wednesday, $19.4 million on Thursday, $45.7 million on Friday, $64.8 million on Saturday and an estimated $54.4 million on Sunday.  

 Japan, which opened Tuesday to coincide with Golden Week festivities, delivered the top “Spider-Man 3”  number with $26.5 million at 822 — 40% ahead of the mark held “The Matrix Reloaded.” Brit biz turned in the third-best U.K. launch ever at $22.9 million at 1,357 in three days, while Spidey ensnared $21.8 million at 967 in its first six days in France for the fifth-best Gallic debut.

 In South Korea, “Spider-Man 3” was unstoppable with $18.3 million at 683 in six days, three times bigger than the record held by “The Host.” Italy launched with $15.1 million at 907 in six days and Germany reached the same mark at 1,148 in four days; Spain and Mexico both totaled $11.1 million; and Australia and China both grossed $7.9 million with the Chinese launch setting a record for an American film launch, besting Sony’s own “The Da Vinci Code.”

 Russia and Ukraine combined for $7.4 million, and Brazil launched with $6.9 million, as both markets beat the records set by “Da Vinci.” And the fast-growing mid-tier Asian markets all delivered records — India with $4.7 million, the Philippines with $3.8 million, Thailand with $3.5 million, Singapore with $2.7 million and Malaysia with $2.4 million.  

 Austria, Taiwan, Sweden and Switzerland all topped $2 million and 14 other markets topped $1 million, with all-time best launches in Argentina, Colombia, Indonesia, Peru and the United Arab Emirates.

 Jay Sands, senior VP for Sony Pictures Releasing Intl., pointed to two factors in making Spidey a must-see in every market: “The keys overseas were the spectacular creative campaign and the willingness of the cast and filmmakers to travel.”

 “Spider-Man 3” is already only $1.4 million short of matching “300” as the top foreign performer released in 2007. And it’s grossed well over 50% of the final foreign grosses for 2002’s “Spider-Man” ($403 million) and 2004’s “Spider-Man 2” ($418 million).

 The spectacular foreign returns for “Spider-Man 3” already account for more than 60% of the pic’s worldwide total of $375 million, underlining the increasing importance of overseas biz for mega-budget tentpoles. Distribution execs stress that creating franchises like “Spider-Man” and BVI’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” is crucial in foreign markets since audiences don’t go to the movies as often as U.S. audiences do.  

The socko Spidey biz raises the bar for upcoming tentpoles, mostly notably “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” and “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” The third “Pirates” adventure launches in nine foreign markets on May 23, two days ahead of the domestic bow, while the fifth “Potter” pic goes day-and-date on the second weekend in July.

 Until “Pirates” opens, however, “Spider-Man 3” will have clear sailing overseas during the next two weekends as rivals have opted to stick with holdover fare. Paramount’s decided to wait until June and July to open “Shrek the Third” in most overseas markets to coincide with school vacations even though those start well after its May 18 domestic launch.

 BVI’s laffer “Wild Hogs” led the rest of the pack with $4.6 million at 3,255 in three dozen markets, edging Universal’s “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” with $4.5 million at 3,400 in 50 territories — both combining for 4% of the “Spider-Man 3” haul. “Hogs” came in second in Germany in its third frame with $1.5 million at 505 and fourth in the U.K. in its fourth weekend with $605,000 at 400 to lift the foreign cume to $64.5 million and the worldwide to $225 million.

 “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” performed best in its third French frame with $1 million, followed by $500,000 in its sixth Brit weekend. The comedy sequel has cumed $166 million overseas, three months before its domestic launch.

  Paramount’s “Shooter” bagged $3.2 million at 1,762 in 56 markets, lifting the foreign cume to a moderate $35 million and the worldwide to $81 million.

 Warner Bros. reported two pics with significant biz — “The Reaping” with $1.9 million at 1,372 in 43 markets for a modest foreign cume of $31.8 million; and “300” with $1.75 million at 2,200 in 56 territories for an international total of $228.4 million and a worldwide mark of $436 million.

 BVI’s “Meet the Robinsons” was the only other pic to hit seven figures, pulling in $1 million at 2,800 in 39 markets for a foreign cume of $48.3 million, with 50% of markets still to open, and a worldwide figure of $130 million.

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