‘Zodiac’ prospects are bright in Europe

Spidey holding well

LONDON — Sony juggernaut “Spider-Man 3” held firm and Cannes contender “Zodiac” bowed brightly this weekend at the European box office.

In the U.K., “Spider-Man 3” slipped 54% to $5 million at 508 in its third frame. The superhero pic has now cumed $56.1 million, which puts it ahead of the “Spider-Man 2” take of $52.6 million (£26.7 million) and closing in fast on the original Spidey pic, which banked $57.2 million (£29 million).

David Fincher’s “Zodiac” opened well in Blighty from a modest release, taking third spot with $1.6 million at 227. The $7,101 screen average trailed only “Spider-Man 3” ($9,885).

Spanish helmer Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s London-set horror sequel “28 Weeks Later” dipped 44% in its second frame to $1.7 million at 401 for a $6.6 million running cume. Danny Boyle’s original “28 Days Later” took $12.3 million in Blighty in 2003.

Local laffer “Magicians,” starring TV comic duo Mitchell and Webb, managed a very modest $721,246 at 251 through Universal on its home turf launch. Bookers concur that the stars of hit TV show “Peep Show” have not managed to translate their small screen popularity to the big screen.

Shane Meadows’ superbly-reviewed Brit pic “This Is England” dropped a respectable 39% in its fourth frame to move the running cume to $2.3 million.

Showing even better traction at upmarket U.K. sites is German Oscar-winner “The Lives of Others,” which slid just 26% in its sixth frame for a $3.9 million cume for Lionsgate U.K. Driven by excellent word of mouth, the pic about Stasi surveillance in the GDR has proved a big draw with U.K. arthouse auds.

In a rare development, local fare was largely squeezed out of the picture in France, with non-local pics taking the top six spots.

Overall Gallic trade was bumper as Thursday was a national holiday and at least half the population also took Friday off.

“Spider-Man 3” is proving to have great stickability in France where it dipped just 4% to $6.9 million at 973. It has now taken a boffo $43.6 million in France.

The high-profile Cannes launch of “Zodiac” helped the pic to an impressive French opening five-day weekend of $3.2 million at 376. The serial killer thriller benefited from positive reviews from the French crix.

Spots three to six in the French charts went to Yank courtroom drama “Fracture,” U.S. dance movie opener “Stomp the Yard,” Brit laffer “Mr Bean’s Holiday” and Yank actioner “Next.”

Top local performer was Oliver Dahan’s seventh-placed “Pur week-end,” which has cumed an underwhelming $2.5 million for Wild Bunch in three frames.

In Spain, “Spider-Man 3” bossed the charts, slipping 42% to $2.6 million. As elsewhere in Europe, “Zodiac” opened well, taking $1.4 million at 188.

The continued poor performance of local productions concerns Spanish bookers who bemoan the low Spanish market share and their current over-reliance on Yank summer blockbusters.

Spanish-Argentinean co-production “The Mud Boy” sank without trace on its opening, taking $85,796 at 69. Eurocine Films’ Penelope Cruz starrer “Chromophobia” also failed to excite; it took $75,532 at 49.

In Germany, helmer-writer-star Julie Delpy’s “2 Days in Paris” proved a big hit at arthouse sites. The comedy, which satirizes Yank-Gallic differences, took $388,117 at 52 for a chart-topping screen average of $7,464.

In a decent German frame, “Fracture” and “Stomp the Yard” exceeded bookers’ expectations on their bows, taking $1.2 million at 204 and $867,464 at 150, respectively.

Local opener “Herr Bello” landed sixth spot with a solid if unspectacular $460,645 at 225 for Constantin. And local laffer “Vollidiot” is showing decent legs; it dipped 10% in its sixth frame for a $6.3 million cume.

Male menopause laffer “Wild Hogs” has really clicked with Teuton auds. With $1.3 million at 583, it took second spot behind Spidey ($3.7 million at 880) in its fifth frame and has now notched $10.9 million for BVI.

Confirming Italy’s customary summer sag, weekend grosses saw a 19% drop compared with the previous frame, which had in turn seen a steep 55% drop.

Spidey clung on to top spot, falling 44% to $1.7 million at 725 for a $21 million cume.

In the weak frame, “Zodiac” nabbed second spot with $860,000 on 230, which was slightly below bookers’ modest expectations. The pic was not helped by the overall flagging state of biz and poor reviews from the Italo crix.

Local immigration drama “Lo, L’altro” bombed, taking just $90,000 at 60 through Fox. Italo industryites predicted a bigger bow from the Raoul Bova starrer.

But rookie helmer Davide Marengo’s homegrown black comedy “Notturno Bus” held up nicely, dropping a mere 26% in its second frame to $260,000 on 194 for a solid $800,000 cume.

Additional reporting by Nick Vivarelli (Italy), David Hayhurst (France), Christian Koehl (Germany) and Emilio Mayorga (Spain).

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