Overseas auds cuddle up to ‘Panda 2’

Paramount-DreamWorks pic wins week with $58 million

In its second straight winning weekend, Paramount-DreamWorks Animation’s “Kung Fu Panda 2” tallied a stellar $58.2 million internationally, boosted by top perfs in 10 new markets, including France, Germany and Spain.

“Panda 2,” which has collected $284.2 million overseas so far, continues to power its way at foreign wickets with Par’s steady strategic rollout aimed at benefitting from summer holidays, mostly in Europe. The toon posted especially strong numbers in France, with $7.2 million, making it the year’s biggest opening for an animated pic in that territory.

French totals for the toon sequel put it 4% ahead of its predecessor’s opening. Debut figures in Spain weren’t as animated, coming in far behind the first “Panda,” with $2.8 million for the second pic.

Par has staggered its release for “Panda 2” since debuting the toon day-and-date with the U.S. during the weekend of May 27. As a result, “Panda 2” has dominated the family market, with little competition. But the film could hit a significant road block this weekend, with Disney/Pixar’s “Cars 2” launching in a handful of major overseas markets, including Australia, Italy, Mexico and Russia. (“Panda 2,” however, hasn’t been released in either Oz or Italy.)

Disney’s established major player overseas, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” so far has grossed $731.9 million internationally through June 19, with global totals approaching the $1 billion mark. Disney expects the film will cross that milestone over the next few weeks, which would make it only the eighth film in history to reach that number.

In its fifth week, “Stranger Tides” collected another $25.9 million, with Japan contributing the biggest share, at $5.7 million, down 31%, followed by German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), dropping a mere 27% for a weekend take of $3.9 million. The German-speaking territories posted the best weekend hold for “Stranger Tides,” while in Japan, the film charted its fifth-straight No. 1 perf.

Overseas success for both “Panda 2” and “Stranger Tides” was expected, especially given international auds’ support of 3D fare — as well as the popularity of the franchises.

More surprising, however, is Warner Bros.’ boffo perf of “The Hangover Part II,” which has cumed $257.6 million internationally, with a global take of $491 million as of June 19. In passing the $468 million worldwide total set by the original “Hangover,” the sequel became the biggest R-rated comedy at the global box office.

Historically, U.S. laffers have had difficulty traveling overseas, with key exceptions in English-speaking territories. “Hangover II” managed to buck that trend — thanks in no small part to its predecessor — even in typically tricky territories like France, which has contributed a cume of $18.8 million.

Warners also tried to light up overseas wickets with DC Entertainment comicbook pic “Green Lantern.” That film debuted in 15 markets — a relatively limited start for a major summer tentpole — with a weekend tally of $16 million.

Pic’s biggest contribution came from the U.K., with $4.1 million, followed by Russia, with $2.4 million. “Green Lantern” ranked No. 1 in Blighty, beating “Panda 2” and Sony’s “Bad Teacher,” which debuted there at $3.2 million. “Bad Teacher” expands to more than 20 additional markets set to go day-and-date with the U.S. the weekend of June 24, with Germany the only major territory.

In Russia, “Green Lantern” came behind Par’s “Super 8,” which opened to $4.1 million. That was 13% less than the opening of “District 9,” but a whopping 126% ahead of fellow J.J. Abrams pic “Cloverfield.” “Super 8” scored a total $12.1 million in its second frame, bringing the pic’s overseas cume to $21.6 million.

On deck for “Super 8,” Japan launches on June 24; “Green Lantern” will wait until late July before its next major markets (Germany and Spain) open.

Emilio Mayorga in Barcelona, Ed Meza in Berlin, David Hayhurst in Paris, Nick Vivarelli in Rome and Mark Schilling in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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