English-speaking viewers flock to pic

“The Hunger Games” burst on the international scene in impressive fashion, gobbling up $59.3 million from 67 markets over the March 23-25 weekend, and bowing at the top of nearly every territory in which it appeared.

Megascreen circuit Imax contributed $10.6 million of the pic’s $212 million global take, the vast majority from Stateside Imax locations.

Overall, the pic did best in English-speaking countries, led by Australia, where it grossed just shy of $10 million (New Zealand contributed $1.3 million). The film’s Oz bow is comparable with other series firsts locally, such as “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” and “Transformers.”

The Jennifer Lawrence-starrer scored $7.5 million in the U.K., a sturdy take considering the sunny weather over most of northern Europe over the weekend. Germany and France both struggled to crack the $4 million mark.

Other top territories for “Games” include Russia, where the film earned $6.5 million, and Scandinavian markets, which contributed a combined $3.7 million.

As part of Lionsgate’s business model of selling off foreign rights, “Hunger Games” is released overseas via local distribs, with Lionsgate handling domestic distribution.

Outside of Europe, “Games” launched in mostly smaller Asian markets, though the Philippines supplied a stellar $1.7 million opening — that market has been particularly strong for the “Twilight” franchise.

Singapore and Taiwan contributed $1.4 million each. The film performed solidly in Latin America, with $3.6 million in Mexico and $2.6 million in Brazil.

“Hunger Games” expands into several major markets over the coming months, including Spain on April 20, followed a week later by China. Pic bows in Japan on Sept. 28.

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