'Jones' finds treasure at foreign box office

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” stayed socko at the weekend’s international box office with $71.5 million at 8,439 playdates in 60 territories while “Sex and the City” wowed foreign fans with $39.2 million at 3,537 in 13 markets.

“Crystal Skull” held impressively overseas in its sophomore session with a 51% decline after the fifth-largest launch of all time, hoisting foreign cume to $266 million. And “Sex and the City” charmed its way to plenty of counter-programming coin with a sparkling $11,091 per-screen average.

“Sex and the City” turned in its best figure by far in the U.K with $18.3 million over its first five days and nearly matched the $10.6 million “Crystal Skull” grossed during Friday-Sunday. The comedy also won handily in Germany by 43% with $7.8 million while the fourth Indiana Jones pic prevailed in France by 33% with $8.9 million and in Italy by 7% with $3.3 million.

Though romantic comedies have a mixed record overseas, the strong offshore traction for “Sex” underlines the drawing power of high-profile female-driven fare such as “The Devil Wears Prada” ($201 million), “The Holiday” ($141 million) and “What Happens in Vegas” ($95 million in less than a month).

“Sex and the City,” handled by an array of overseas distribs, expands next weekend into Australia, Brazil and South Korea.

“Crystal Skull,” which has been outperforming last summer’s “Transformers,” showed plenty of staying power in several other key markets as rivals refrained from challenging the mega-franchise. Spain delivered $6.6 million, off 41%; South Korea grossed $5.8 million, down 34%; and Australia with $5.4 million, off 42%.

“Skull” also opened in first place in India with $1 million, slightly better than “Transformers.” With no new competition until U goes day and date with “The Incredible Hulk” on the June 13, “Crystal Skull” should continue cashing in offshore next weekend and easily top the $297 million international cume for 1989’s “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”

Given its solid traction so far outside the United States, “Crystal Skull” looks likely to wind up becoming the 29th pic to hit the $400 million mark in foreign coin. It’s already the top 2008 grosser overseas and it’s pushed the combined international cume of the four Indiana Jones pics past $850 million.

The frame also saw Disney’s “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” stay strong with $16.8 million at 4,500 in 19 markets led by its second Japanese frame with $4.4 million for a $15.2 million cume in that market — the only territory where “Crystal Skull” has not yet opened. “Prince Caspian” also launched well in Brazil with $2.3 million, Thailand with $1.4 million and Poland with $1.2 million.

The second “Narnia” pic saw its holdover markets decline by a respectable 38% as it aims to match the $450 million foreign cume of the original “The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

The Mouse House is holding back most Euro markets for “Caspian” for several more weeks, awaiting the arrival of school vacations.

Fox’s “What Happens in Vegas” continued to connect with $12.1 million at 3,900 in 61 markets, led by a $2.1 million launch in Mexico and a $2 million Korean opening. Its $95.4 million foreign cume has topped expectations and is nearly $30 million ahead of the domestic total.

“Iron Man,” which had been the year’s top performer until this weekend, mined another $8 million at 5,000 to pull its foreign cume to $243 million. Combined with the domestic total, the actioner’s racked up $520 million worldwide to rank 52nd on that list.

By contrast, Warner Bros. tentpole “Speed Racer” continued to wobble off the track with $3 million at 3,5000 in 39 markets for a disappointing foreign cume of $34.2 million.

Sony’s “Made of Honor” added $3.9 million at 1,895 — half of that from its Spanish launch — for a $30.6 million foreign cume. And its “21” counted another $3 million at 1,250 to boost the offshore take to $53 million.

Fox’s “27 Dresses” took in $1.3 million at 350 via launches in Japan and China to move the international total past $80 million.

Fox also reported “Shine a Light” opened well in Australia and New Zealand with $275,000 at 31. The Rolling Stones docu has already grossed $1.3 million in the U.K.

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