‘Pirates’ treasure grows overseas

Film's domestic tally dipped by $2.2 million

The treasure chest for Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” turned out to be fuller than expected when actual receipts from the Memorial Day holiday weekend were counted Tuesday.

But while international B.O. edged up — by $6 million, or 2% — the pic’s domestic tally dipped by $2.2 million.

All told, global figures eked up 0.8% higher than the Mouse House had estimated, bringing the latest entry in the “Pirates” franchise to $404 million over six days rather than the $401 million the studio reported Monday.

Mark Zoradi, prexy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture marketing and distribution, said the uptick showed “Pirates” has “truly becoming a cultural phenomenon all over the world.”

“The global box office returns have continued to exceed our expectations and estimates,” he added.

Pic’s perf has been particularly pumped by its overseas grosses, which account for 62% of the worldwide total. With that figure at $404 million, “Pirates” beat out the $382 million that “Spider-Man 3” earned over its first six days in release.

But back here at home, “Pirates” numbers didn’t completely live up to some of the outsized expectations of B.O. watchers handicapping Memorial Day weekend.

Domestically, the movie’s actual take was somewhat less than studio estimates: “Pirates” played to $139.8 million over the four days of Memorial weekend, Disney said, rather than $142 million.

Pic still handily set the record for the Memorial Day frame, beating Fox’s “X-Men: The Last Stand,” which cracked $122.8 million last year.

Overall domestic cume — including limited Thursday runs of “Pirates” — was $153 million, rather than the $156 million Disney estimated Monday.

By comparison, “Spider-Man 3” opened to a three-day record of more than $151 million and has captured $307.6 million after a month in theaters.

Internationally, “Pirates” set an overseas launch record with $251 million over six days, $19 million ahead of “Spider-Man 3” and up notably from Disney’s $245 million estimate.

Pic posted record-breaking openings in 17 territories, including Argentina, Ecuador, Holland, Iceland, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Malaysia, Norway, Panama, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Taiwan, Ukraine and Venezuela.

Germany contributed significantly more than had been estimated Monday, with an increase of nearly $3 million to $22.9 million, trailing only the U.K. with $34.5 million. Other top hauls abroad came from France ($22 million), South Korea ($19.3 million), Japan ($18.4 million), Russia ($15.4 million), Spain ($13.2 million) and Australia ($10.5 million).

“At World’s End” still hasn’t opened in two key markets — India, where it launches Friday, and China, where it opens June 10.

Sony took issue Tuesday with Disney’s claim of a six-day record, asserting it should be counted as seven days, since BVI opened “At World’s End” a day earlier than reported in France and Italy on May 22. BVI said in response that its “Pirates” biz on that day consisted of $1.2 million at 251 playdates from evening showings in France and $200,000 from previews in Italy.

Still, Sony asserted “Spider-Man 3” should be given the record for grossing $418.1 million in its first seven days.

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