International BO bounces back after Euro Cup

Adios soccer, hola Will Smith tentpole “Hancock.”

With the Euro Cup soccer tournament over, the international box office roared back to life over the July 4-6 frame, much to the delight of Hollywood majors.

Foreign auds once again fell hard for Smith, who has officially replaced Tom Cruise as the world’s biggest star. Sony’s “Hancock” easily raced to the top of the chart, grossing $78.6 million as it opened with 5,759 playdates in 50 markets. Domestically, “Hancock” opened to $62.6 million.

The opening foreign haul was the third best of any pic this year after “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” and “Iron Man” — and that’s without such key territories as France, Mexico and Russia, where “Hancock” weren’t to debut until July 11.

In the U.K. alone, “Hancock” took in a hearty $18.9 million from 450 screens, including $6 million from previews. Cume confirmed Smith’s massive popularity with Brits, who ignored poor reviews and flocked to the multiplexes, just as they did for Smith’s last pic, “I Am Legend.”

“Will Smith is still the man; there’s no doubt about it,” a London-based booker says.

“Hancock” did an eye-opening $12.8 million from 723 locations in Germany, the best start of any film so far this year, ahead of the $12 million earned by “Crystal Skull” in its first weekend.

A German booker says “Hancock’s” perf underscores Smith’s tremendous popularity.

After weeks in the doldrums, due in large part to the Euro Cup, the German box office soared a whopping 271%, thanks to Smith’s B.O. muscle.

“Hancock” wasn’t the only film benefiting from the surge.

Paramount’s “Kung Fu Panda” came in No. 2 for the frame, grossing $40.2 million from 5,325 playdates in 44 markets, led by an impressive $10.7 million launch in the U.K.

Studios with summer family films intentionally held off from rolling out their pics in soccer-crazed territories until the Euro Cup concluded. The strategy seems a smart one. “Panda’s” foreign cume is already $154.2 million, with most of Europe not even weighing in yet.

U.K. booty for “Panda” beat expectations. Exhibs reported that the toon is managing to attract adult auds on weekday evenings.

The combo of “Hancock” and “Panda” made life difficult for holdovers at the U.K. box office. Universal’s actioner “Wanted” and Disney’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” felt the full force, dropping 67% and 50%, respectively. Neither decline overly concerned bizzers, given that both titles opened strongly the weekend before.

“Wanted” was expected to fall steeply because of its 18-and-up rating in Blighty.

“Panda” and “Hancock” also ate up most of the biz in Germany, where “Panda” earned $4.6 million from 831. Mike Leigh’s Berlinale screener “Happy-Go-Lucky” was the only other new entry in the top 10, grossing $466,672 from 92 via Tobis for fifth place.

Disney’s family title “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” came in No. 3 internationally, grossing 24.6 million from 4,689 runs in 42 markets. It earned $6.3 million in its Spanish launch, while it slid only 12% in it’s soph sesh to $5 million. Pic’s cume is $194.3 million.

“Prince Caspian” opened No. 1 in Italy, where it earned $4.1 million from 625 playdates for a five-day cume of $5.8 million.

Italy was one territory that was unable to hit its post-Euro Cup stride in terms of theater traffic.

“Results aren’t bad, but they are short of what we needed to re-establish a good rhythm to cinema trade,” a booker says. Biz wasn’t helped by the fact that people headed to the beaches, or were distracted by Sunday’s historic Wimbledon final between Spaniard Rafael Nadal and Swiss-born Roger Federer.

In France, “Prince Caspian” declined just 8% in its second sesh after nabbing the fifth best opening of the year. Through July 6, the film’s cume there was $15.3 million.

“Wanted” came in No. 4 at the international box office for the weekend, grossing $24.6 million for an international cume of $63.7 million. In Italy, the Angelina Jolie-James McAvoy starrer easily ousted local laffer “Un Estate al mare” (A Summer at the Sea) from the No. 1 spot, pulling $2.2 million from 393 screens in a sunny frame that saw Italians in big cities start their summer exodus toward the beaches.

Disney-Pixar’s “Wall-E” placed No. 5 for the weekend as it continued its slow rollout, grossing $13.6 million from 646 playdates in nine markets, mostly from its $5.3 million Mexican launch and its $5 million Russian opening. Both were the best opening numbers for those respective territories. “Wall-E” opens next in the U.K. on July 18. Foreign cume through July 6 was $18.6 million.

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

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