'Thor,' 'Rio' still draw foreign auds

Universal’s “Fast Five” sped past “Thor” to regain the overseas box office crown last weekend.

In its third week of international play, “Five” posted a stellar $85.8 million from 58 reported countries. Paramount’s “Thor” dropped to second place with $45 million from 57 markets outside the U.S.

The tentpole pair has been battling at the foreign wickets since launching the weekend of April 21 in select territories. In its debut frame, “Fast Five” bowed in just four markets, including the U.K. and Australia; “Thor” bowed head-to-head with “Fast” in Oz. Both pics expanded the following weekend, though “Thor” had a leg up with more new territories than “Fast” in the pair’s soph sesh.

Now, with both films having launched in almost the same number of markets, “Fast Five” is on top with $184.5 million vs. a total $176.1 million for “Thor.”

Landing in third place was 20th Century Fox’s 3D toon holdover “Rio,” which continued to play nicely as well-timed family counterprogramming to “Thor” and “Fast Five.” “Rio” tallied $15.9 million more in its fifth week of overseas playtime, lifting its international cume to $290.1 million. The toon has proven to be an indispensable feather in Fox’s overseas cap this year, helping the studio be the first to reach $1 billion in total 2011 box office grosses internationally.

As summer heats up, other majors should soon hit that same mark: Par and U both have a headstart with their respective tentpoles “Thor” and “Fast Five.”

Last weekend, “Fast Five” ranked tops in every major market where it opened, including record-breaking perfs in Mexico and Brazil. In Mexico, the pic opened with $8.6 million, which repped 55% of the total local marketshare, and stands as U’s biggest three-day opening ever in that market. The same for Brazil, where “Fast Five” tallied $5 million (with 41% marketshare) — at the same level as Par’s Brazilian opening of “Thor.”

In fact, “Fast Five” broke U opening records all over Latin America, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Uruguay.

Beyond Latin America, the car-heist installment also took the top spots in European markets like France and Italy, where it grossed $8.8 million and $7.4 million, respectively. Pic’s opening take in Gaul beat “Thor” by 17%; Italo auds also preferred “Fast Five,” which outpaced “Thor’s” opening there by 56%.

Par, however, isn’t too shaken up by “Thor’s” losses to “Fast Five,” since the comicbook pic has done exceptionally well in English-speaking territories such as Australia and the U.K.

In Blighty, “Thor” held strongly on to the No. 1 spot with $3.2 million, down 39% in its soph sesh, with a local cume of $15.8 million. Meanwhile, pic’s Oz weekend take was off 46% at $1.8 million, bringing the film’s cume there to $16.2 million after three weeks.

But it was China that contributed the film’s largest take of any new markets, posting $2.3 million from 4,900 locations. That’s just from one day, however, since the film opened in China on a Sunday.

Fox’s toon “Rio” came in third behind the weekend’s winning duo in its top two markets: France and Brazil. Toon’s $2.3 million weekend take in Gaul brought its local tally to $18.9 million, while Brazilian auds continued to support the toon, shelling out $1.9 million for a cume of $38.4 million. “Rio” now stands as the third-highest grossing animated feature in Brazil, behind “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” and “Shrek Forever After.”

In India, “Rio” surpassed homegrown toon “Hanuman” to become the territory’s biggest animated film ever — but with a modest benchmark of just $2.4 million.

While “Rio” already has opened virtually everywhere around the globe, Par and U still have some major markets where their pics have yet to bow. “Thor” is slated to open in Japan on July 2; “Fast Five” has five markets yet to bow, starting with China on May 12, then Venezuela on June 3. Japanese auds won’t get “Fast Five” until October.

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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