'At World's End' tops international box office

The buccaneers remain undisputed kings of the international box office: “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” looted an impressive $105.4 million at 17,500 playdates in 103 countries in its second weekend.

With no significant competition, the third “Pirates” declined 46% from its opening frame, showing far more traction in foreign markets than Stateside, where the soph sesh slid 62%.

Its international cume has hit $408.8 million in a dozen days, representing 65% of the worldwide total of $625.3 million — already the 29th highest of all time.

For the weekend, foreign markets contributed an impressive 71% of the worldwide receipts for “At World’s End.” And its stronger offshore holds reflect the ability of Hollywood’s mega-franchise pics like “Spider-Man 3″ last month, to connect with international moviegoers.

“At World’s End” sailed past several milestones, becoming the 24th pic to top $400 million internationally and the fastest to hit that mark. It’s blown past the foreign cume for 2003′s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl” by $54 million and has already accumulated 64% of the final international total from last year’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.”

“At World’s End” became only the second film to gross more than $100 million internationally in its second frame, along with “The Matrix Reloaded,” which took in $113 million four years ago from soph seshes in 16 markets and openings in another 80.

“World’s End” is also the eighth Mouse House title to top the $600 million worldwide mark. Its European cume has hit $260 million, 8% ahead of “Dead Man’s Chest” at the same point; $89 million in Asia, 28% higher than “Chest”; $40 million in Latin America, 44% better than “Chest,” and $20 million in Australia and New Zealand, 2% above “Chest.”

Traction for Capt. Jack Sparrow will be tested soon as “At World’s End” faces its first foreign competition from a trio of tentpoles — Warner Bros. goes day-and-date next weekend in many markets with “Ocean’s Thirteen”; Fox will fire up a global opening for “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” during the following frame; and Par’s “Shrek the Third” begins its foreign expansion into key territories over the next two weekends.

Japan and the U.K. led the “Pirates” plunder, with $11.5 million each at 875 and 552, respectively; the Japanese take was off only 4% from its opening weekend (minus previews) for a $35 million cume, while Brit biz slid 49% to hike the U.K. cume to $59 million.

The fifth frame of Sony’s “Spider-Man 3″ offered the only semblance of competition to the pirates with $11.8 million at 11,500 in 77 markets, lifting the foreign total to $525.7 million, 12th best of all time. The worldwide cume has hit $844 million — 14th highest on the all-time list — and the three Spidey pics have combined for more than $2.4 billion in box office.

Top “Spider-Man 3″ perfs came from Japan, off 37% to $1.5 million at 777 for a total of $51.7 million, the U.K. with $1.1 million at 769 for a $64.5 million cume, and France with $1.1 million at 866 for a $51.8 million take.

Warner’s “Zodiac” counterprogrammed a moderate $5.8 million at 1,900 in 38 markets for a foreign cume of $26.4 million and worldwide total of nearly $60 million. France continued to lead the way, with $1.04 million at 371 in its third frame, followed by a German launch of $740,000 at 150 and a third Italian outing with $700,000 at 226, up 4%.

Paramount/Dreamworks’ “Shrek the Third” took in more foreign green with $4 million at 754 in nine markets, led by its third Russian frame with $1.5 million at 436 for a $21.1 million total. In a signal that the ogre’s on track for socko numbers in coming weeks, “Shrek 3″ set record launches for an animated pic in Singapore with $1.2 million at 62, 51% ahead of “Ice Age 2″; and in Malaysia with $575,000 at 49.

Fox’s zombie-laden “28 Weeks Later” showed some life with $2.3 million at 1,400 in 20 markets, led by a Russian launch of $740,000 at 148 and a Mexican opening of $478,000 at 312.

Universal’s sturdy comedy “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” took in $1.5 million at 1,650 in 40 territories to boost the international total to $181.2 million, including a $200,000 Taiwanese opening. U also debuted “The Hitcher” in seventh in the U.K. with $430,000 at 256 dates.

Par’s “Shooter” bagged $1.4 million at 789 in 61 markets for a $44.3 million foreign cume, nearly matching the domestic total.

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