'City' tops international box office

Foreign fans of “Sex and the City” pushed the romantic comedy to the top of the weekend’s international box office with $37.2 million at 4,000 playdates in 40 markets, edging the third frame of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

The frame also saw healthy perfs from a pair of family pics with domestic winner “Kung Fu Panda” and “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” both topping $20 million.

“Sex and the City” grabbed the spotlight in a demonstration of its worldwide appeal via a combo of 14 first-place launches plus decent holdovers in major European markets. “Sex” — handled by a variety of offshore distribs — has already cumed $91.3 million overseas and underlined the attraction of female-skewing counterprogrammers during tentpole season.

“Sex” turned in its top launches from Australia with $7.7 million, South Korea with $2.8 million, Denmark with $1.5 million and Mexico with $1.2 million. After a sensational Brit debut, Blighty biz fell 62% to $6.6 million, while Germany declined 50% to $3.7 million and France added the same amount in their soph seshes.

“Sex” also finished first in several mid-tier markets including Belgium, Greece, Hungary and New Zealand. With its promising start and Japan, Russia and Spain still not open, “SATC” could wind up its foreign run in the same neighborhood as “The Devil Wears Prada,” which topped $200 million internationally two years ago.

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” came in a close second with $36 million at 8,352 in 60 markets, declining about 50% in its third frame. With the start of the Euro Cup providing ample distraction for the male demo, biz still held decently with a 49% decline in the U.K. to $5.6 million, a 50% slide in France to $4.3 million and a 51% decrease in Spain to $3.1 million.

After the fifth-biggest foreign opening frame ever, “Crystal Skull” has totaled an impressive $326 million internationally — the best offshore cume since “I Am Legend” reached $327 million earlier this year. It should easily eclipse the $400 million mark, becoming the 29th pic to do so, with Japan launching on June 21.

Par kicked up a socko offshore launch for “Kung Fu Panda” with $20.7 million at 1,398 — a sterling $14,807 per location — in only nine markets with each posting the top result for a DreamWorks animated pic. The booming Russian market led the way with $9.2 million, 158% better than “Ratatouille,” followed by $7.5 million in South Korea, more than triple “Ratatouille.”

“Panda” also set records in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines for the best three-day animated launch ever, underlining the strong offshore appeal of CGI animated titles. Par’s holding back the pic in Western Europe until July to take advantage of holidays and the start of vacations.

Disney’s also opting for the go-gradual approach with “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,” which grossed $20.3 million at 5,500 in 28 markets as the sequel topped the $100 million mark overseas. Biggest contributions came from its Oz launch with $3.9 million and its Chinese debut with $3.2 million, 60% above the original “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

“Caspian” also took in $2.5 million in its third Japanese frame, off 43%, and opened with $1.3 million each in Brazil and Taiwan.

Fox’s female-skewing “What Happens in Vegas” led the rest of the pack with $7.8 million at 3,000 to push international cume to nearly $108 million. The romantic comedy’s already shown unexpectedly strong traction offshore and is $35 million ahead of the domestic total.

“Iron Man” struck more gold with $4.8 million to lift the foreign cume to $249 million — the second biggest total for a 2008 title after “Crystal Skull.” Combined with domestic, the Par/Marvel tentpole’s totaled $538 million worldwide, 47th highest of all time.

Sony’s “21″ stayed in the game with $4.4 million at 1,575, including a $1.9 million French opening, to push the gambling thriller’s foreign cume to a decent $59.3 million. And its “Made of Honor” charmed its way to $2.9 million at 1,645 for a $35 million cume from 34 markets.

Sony’s “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” scored first with $2 million at 401 in Mexico in the biggest launch for an Adam Sandler film in that market. Studio’s holding off launching “Zohan” in most of Europe until August.

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