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‘Sex’ still swell despite soccer fever

Comedy grossed $36.9 million in second sesh

Women abandoned the European soccer championships to propel comedy “Sex and the City” to No. 1 at the international box office over the June 6-8 weekend.

Laffer, based on the former HBO TV series, grossed a robust $36.9 million in its second sesh, lifting its foreign cume to $91.5 million. That’s not far behind the domestic gross of $99.2 million through June 8, making the film one of an elite group of chick flicks doing well abroad.

Even with Euro 2008 soccer on TV, Paramount’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” still found the sweet spot in its third frame, grossing $36.8 million for the June 6-8 frame. That pushed the tentpole’s foreign cume past the $300 million mark to $327.4 million.

Film is the first released in 2008 to make more than $300 million internationally. Through June 8, pic’s worldwide gross was a rousing $580 million.

“Sex and the City” took top spots in Germany, the U.K. and Italy.

After its monster U.K. bow, “Sex” dipped a hefty 65% in Blighty but still took top spot with $6 million at 469 screens. The hyped TV spinoff has now banked $31.4 million for Entertainment in the U.K.

“Crystal Skull” dipped 52% in its third weekend to $5.2 million at 534 for a running U.K. cume of $64 million.

Warm weather saw beaches and parks fill up, leading to light traffic at some theaters in Blighty. The televised soccer matches also were a draw, although there wasn’t massive interest in the U.K. since none of the home nations qualified for the finals.

In Germany, the interest in Euro 2008 was far more evident, although “Sex and the City” and “Crystal Skull” survived the soccer onslaught even as hordes of patriotic Teutons crowded public viewing venues, sidewalk cafes, pubs and restaurants to watch the games, in which Germany was favored.

While the overall box office plunged a staggering 39% in Germany, “Sex and the City” took in nearly $3.6 million from 836 locations for a running total of $13.5 million. “Skull” grossed $2.5 million as it dipped 43% for a cume of $22 million.

In Italy, “Sex and the City” slid 31% to $2 million from 531 screens for a cume of $7.2 million for local distrib 01 Distribuzione. “Crystal Skull” declined 48% to $1.7 million on 562 via Universal for a $15.3 million Italo three-week take.

Local faves “Gomorrah” and “Il divo” continued to prosper. Matteo Garrone’s “Gomorrah,” a naturalistic depiction of the Neapolitan mob that won the Cannes Grand Prix, dipped just 19% in its third frame for $1.3 million from 349 via distrib 01. Pic has a boffo $13 million running cume, making it one of Italy’s top grossers this year.

Paolo Sorrentino’s “Divo” took in $1.2 million on 358 via Lucky Red for a two-week cume of $4.6 million. The caustic Cannes jury prize winner about shady Italo elder statesman Giulio Andreotti is believed to be benefiting from the success of “Gomorrah” and vice versa.

In France, “Crystal Skull” beat out “Sex and the City” by 95,000 viewers. “Skull” has now cumed $29.7 million for Paramount, while “Sex” has done $11.1 million for Metropolitan.

“Crystal Skull” came in No. 1 in Spain, where “Sex and the City” has yet to bow. Cume is now $24.5 million, with the tentpole declining a respectable 54% in its third frame.

After “Sex and the City” and “Crystal Skull,” the next highest grossing film of the June 6-8 weekend was Paramount and DreamWorks Animation’s “Kung Fu Panda,” which debuted in its first nine markets. The socko launch of $20.4 million from 1,398 amounts to a sterling per location average of roughly $14,000. In those markets, the toon scored the best numbers ever for a DreamWorks Animation pic.

The booming Russian market led the way with $9.2 million, 158% better than last summer’s Pixar/Disney title “Ratatouille,” followed by $7.5 million in South Korea.

“Panda” also set records in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines for the best three-day animated launch ever, underlying the strong offshore appeal of CG animation titles. Par’s holding back the pic in Western Europe until July to take advantage of the holidays and the start of vacation, as well as to avoid Euro 2008.

Disney is taking the same approach with family pic “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” which placed No. 4 at the international box office for the June 6-8 weekend. Pic came in just behind “Panda” with $20.1 million in its fourth frame for a foreign cume of $106.2 million. Biggest contributions for the frame came from its Oz launch with $3.9 million and its Chinese debut with $3.2 million, 60% above the opening gross of the first “Narnia” pic.

Twentieth Century Fox’s Cameron Diaz-Ashton Kutcher laffer “What Happens in Vegas” continued to draw interest, placing No. 5 overall at the international box office. A sleeper hit both domestically and internationally, comedy grossed $7.4 million in its fifth frame for a foreign cume of $109 million. Domestic cume was $72.3 million through June 8.

Dave McNary in Los Angeles, Ed Meza in Germany, David Hayhurst in France, Nick Vivarelli in Italy and Emilio Mayorga in Spain contributed to this report.

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