Foreign totals outperform domestic box office

While Universal-Imagine Entertainment’s epic tale “Robin Hood” underperformed at the domestic B.O., internationally the film outpaced studio expectations, with a day-and-date bow totaling $75.2 million in 56 territories on 7,091 screens. Debut ranks as the second-highest overseas opening for U, behind “King Kong’s” $84.3 million launch in 2005.

Worldwide doubloons for “Robin Hood” have piled up, approaching $130 million as of May 19.

Pic’s extensive day-and-date rollout, coupled with an international bow at the Cannes Film Festival, helped bolster the film’s overseas prospects. Originally titled “Nottingham,” U eventually reverted to the pic’s more recognizable moniker to help draw aud attention.

Budgeted at approximately $155 million, the Ridley Scott-helmed version of the classic Brit tale also came with built-in international appeal, led by Aussie leads Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. “Robin Hood” reps the fourth Scott-Crowe collaboration, including 2000′s sandals-and-swords epic “Gladiator,” which cumed $369.8 million worldwide.

Most insiders expected the pair’s most recent outing to perform well in English-speaking territories, such as the U.K. and Australia, but face a tougher time in European markets like Italy, Spain and France.

Yet the pic topped most overseas territories, including Blighty, which dolled out top coin in its opening weekend, with $8.1 million in 539 forests. The pic’s Cannes launch also helped boost notoriety in Gaul, where “Robin Hood” took in $6.8 million (a 30% market share) at 648, outpacing “Gladiator’s” launch by some 30%.

“Robin Hood” marks U’s highest-grossing opener in both Italy and Russia, with $6.1 million and $5.8 million, respectively.

Top performances for pic came two weeks after Paramount and Marvel Entertainment launched their comicbook redux “Iron Man 2,” which took in $28.2 million at 9,518 screens in 55 markets. Entering its third week internationally, “Iron Man 2″ has cumed $238.2 million.

Par opted to launch the pic overseas more than a week before its domestic bow in order to lengthen playability before “Robin Hood” entered the international scene. Pic also gained headway in most European markets before the World Cup, which runs June 11-July 11, and reps a speed bump for distribs, as overseas moviegoers, especially in Europe, steer clear of multiplexes in favor of soccer pitches.

China, which won’t get “Robin Hood” until June, repped the top territory for “Iron Man 2,” grossing $4.4 million on approximately 3,000 screens, down 45% in its soph sesh. Territory’s cume now stands at $16.7 million, while in France, “Iron Man 2″ has cumed $17.7 million since April 28. In its third frame in Gaul, slipping just 20%, the film earned $3.3 million on 637 screens.

Disney’s 3D fantasy “Alice in Wonderland” continues its steady march to $1 billion worldwide, with current totals at $984.3 million as of May 19. The pic stands as the sixth highest-grossing worldwide title, behind Warner Bros. “The Dark Knight” ($1 billion). With last weekend’s $11.4 million take, “Alice” likely will surpass “Dark Knight” in the coming weeks.

Last weekend’s top territory for “Alice” was Japan, which charmed $4.7 million at 858 screens. Pic’s cume rose to $101.6 million in that territory, after five consecutive weeks in the top spot. “Alice” ranks as the Mouse House’s third-highest grosser in Japan, following “Finding Nemo” ($102.4 million) and “Armageddon” ($115.6 million).

Disney will tout major player “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” this weekend; pic is set for a Stateside bow during Memorial Day Weekend. “Prince” launches in 18 territories, 40% of the international marketplace, including Italy, Spain, Germany and the U.K.

The Mouse House attributes the early bow to the World Cup, in order to add a week of playability. The studio also says it hopes the film will register with a global aud, given the film’s exotic locales and international cast. Jake Gyllenhaal toplines alongside Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley and Alfred Molina.

Emilio Mayorga in Barcelona, Mark Schilling in Tokyo, Clifford Coonan in Beijing, Ed Meza in Berlin, Lauren Seligman in Paris and Nick Vivarelli in Rome contributed to this report.

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