'Shrek the Third' footprint tiny
DreamWorks Animation’s “Shrek the Third” may have stomped the domestic B.O. over the May 18-20 weekend, but abroad, “Spider-Man 3” was still king.Crown will be hard to keep, however, as the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” aims its cannons at the world this week in more than 100 markets. But before the “Pirates” come to town, the third installment of the Sony and Marvel “Spider-Man” franchise collected another $50.8 million in its web, bringing its overseas cume to $467 million from 106 markets. That marked a drop of just 40% — a less steep slide than Spidey’s domestic tumble. “Shrek,” meantime, headed into only four international markets over the frame, including Russia, Ukraine, Romania and the Philippines, racking up some high marks, but not entering enough territories to make a major impact yet. CG pic — being distribbed by Paramount Intl. Pictures — gobbled up $13.8 million from 689 screens. Russia marked a record opening — the biggest ever for a toon there — with $11.1 million. That total also made the third “Shrek” the biggest non-Russian pic to open in the market and helped the green guy vanquish the spider. Taking advantage of “Spider-Man 3’s” slide after its third frame — as well as “Shrek’s” absence in most major markets — David Fincher’s serial-killer pic “Zodiac” cut up some solid numbers in key markets, including France and the U.K., following its Cannes berth. Pic is succeeding in Europe despite its failure to engage U.S. auds earlier this year. Other Hollywood pics also seemed bolstered by Spidey’s success. But Buena Vista Intl.’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” setting sail this past week around the world, was poised to close up that window of opportunity. Up first in the “Pirates” booty call were France and Belgium on May 23. Australia, Germany and Sweden opened the pic on May 24, and it was set to launch May 25 in the U.K., Spain, Italy and Korea. Weekend launches for “Pirates” were also skedded in Japan and Taiwan. “Spider-Man” dropped 54% in the U.K. in its third weekend, raising its cume to $56.1 million. That total put the sequel ahead of the last Spidey installment. The pic is now in the hunt to surpass the first film in the franchise, which corralled $57.2 million in Brit ducats. Cerebral serial killer pic “Zodiac,” meantime, opened with a bang in Blighty in a more limited release. Pic finished in the No. 3 slot with $1.6 million at 227. (A $7,101 per-screen average trailed only “Spider-Man 3’s” nearly $10,000 per print numbers.) Also of interest in U.K. biz, the London-set zombie sequel “28 Weeks Later” dipped 44% in its second frame, eating up $1.7 million for a $6.6 million cume. Fox’s original “28 Days Later” hit $12.3 million in Blighty four years ago, starring Cillian Murphy, who didn’t return for this installment. Over in France, B.O. was buoyed by “Spider-Man 3,” which is showing some serious arachnid legs. After three frames, it made $6.9 million for the week, and has cumed approximately $43.6 million on 850 for Gaumont Columbia TriStar. “Zodiac” also opened strongly in France, buoyed by boffo reviews and its Cannes competition slot. The only major release in the past few weeks in Gaul, it made more than $3.2 million on 376 in its first five days. Courtroom cat-and-mouse thriller “Fracture,” toplining Anthony Hopkins, has pleased local distrib Metropolitan, raking in $4.6 million on 308 in its second frame. “Stomp the Yard” also opened quite well for Gaumont Columbia TriStar. Though it seems an unlikely fit for France, the tale of a hip-hop street dancer made better than $1.3 million on 149 in its first five days. In German biz, “Spider-Man 3” kept the pole position, with a meager third-frame drop of 20%, to $3.5 million on 880 screens. No. 3 in Germany was New Line’s “Fracture” on 204 screens, while “Stomp the Yard” kicked to fourth on just 150 screens. In Italy, where sunny climes have exhibs starting to sing the summertime blues, Spidey clung to the top spot despite a 44% drop and a measly $1.7 million on 725 in its third frame, which brought the third Peter Parker installment’s cume to $21 million. Italy was one market where “Zodiac” didn’t kill. The pic debuted in second place to a lower-than-expected $860,000 on 230. In Spain, “Spider-Man 3” topped the charts, slipping 42% to $2.6 million. “Zodiac” opened solidly, taking $1.4 million at 188. Nick Vivarelli in Italy, David Hayhurst in France, Christian Koehl in Germany and Emilio Mayorga in Spain contributed to this report.