‘Panda 2’ sails past ‘Pirates’ overseas

Pics success proves 3D power abroad

With an additional 17 overseas territories, Paramount-DreamWorks Animation’s 3D toon “Kung Fu Panda 2” was able to claim the top spot overseas during the June 10-12 weekend, knocking Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” from its three-week-long perch at No. 1.

Both pics deftly displayed the power of 3D among overseas auds. “Panda 2,” now playing in a total 45 markets, collected $53.6 million in its third frame for an overseas cume at $203 million, while “Stranger Tides” tallied $42.7 million through June 12. That pic has been on a worldwide rampage since its May 20 release, becoming the franchise’s best overseas grosser at just shy of $680 million, as well as the sixth-highest international release ever. (“Stranger Tides” should gain two ranks in the coming week, approaching No. 5 pic, “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaur” and No. 4 pic, “Alice in Wonderland,” both with just over $690 million internationally.)

“Stranger Tides” gained approximately 4% vs. its estimated weekend tally. The uptick helped Disney’s fourth “Pirates” pic narrowly beat 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men: First Class,” which wound up with $41.8 million, compared with Fox’s projected $42.2 million weekend take. “First Class” has cumed overseas $124.2 million in two weeks.

Top market for “Panda 2” was the U.K. — also where “First Class” played best — with the toon bowing to approximately $10 million at 516 locations. That’s an overwhelmingly 94% better than fellow 3D toon “Rio” and 54% ahead of “How to Train Your Dragon” (all excluding “Panda 2’s” $5.1 million from previews).

While “Panda 2” debuted tops in Blighty, “First Class” slipped just 30% in its soph sesh there for a weekend take of $4 million, bringing its local cume to $16.6 million.

Warner Bros.’ stellar comedy holdover “The Hangover Part II” did one better than “First Class” in the U.K., claiming the market’s No. 2 spot with a weekend perf totaling $4.5 million for a cume of $43.1 million after three weeks. In Blighty, “Hangover II” already has drunk in 19% more coin than the entire run of its predecessor. Warners’ laff sequel collected a weekend total of $39.4 million from 55 overseas territories, pushing its international cume passed the $200 million mark. (The original “Hangover” grossed in total $191.6 million internationally.)

“Hangover II” reps a welcome surprise among U.S. comedies, which typically don’t travel well overseas outside of English-speaking markets.

“Stranger Tides” already has become the biggest “Pirates” installment in 48 international territories, including Brazil, Italy, Mexico and Russia. Pic’s top-grossing market, Japan, has contributed a total $76.7 million, boasting No. 1 perfs there for four consecutive weeks. In its fourth frame in Japan, “Stranger Tides” earned $8.2 million — the most of any other territory during that weekend.

Other top markets for “Stranger Tides” included German-speaking countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), which contributed $5.3 million for a local cume of $66.7 million, followed by China’s $3.9 million weekend gross, bringing the film’s overall tally there to $65.2 million.

With powerful Hollywood holdovers drawing most overseas biz, there isn’t much room for new U.S. entries launching overseas.

Case in point: Par decided to hold off releasing J.J. Abrams’ sci-fi homage pic “Super 8” from most international markets; the pic’s only major territory to go day-and-date with U.S. was Australia, where the pic bowed to $2.7 million. “Super 8” benefited from a long holiday weekend in Oz (the Queen’s birthday), where it outpaced similar original sci-fiers “District 9” and “Cloverfield” by 50% and 20%, respectively.

“Super 8” expands to 16 additional territories in its soph sesh, including Russia and South Korea.

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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