Box office sizzles o’seas despite heat

U.S.' summer tentpoles stoke foreign filmgoing

A correction was made to this article on July 23, 2003.

You can’t say the summer B.O. is at full throttle overseas, especially in heatwave-hit Europe, but brawny bows by “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” “Charlie’s Angels 2: Full Throttle,” “The Hulk,” “Bruce Almighty” and “Finding Nemo” pumped up the volume in assorted markets last weekend.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” began its offshore voyage with gusto in Argentina, capturing $355,000 on 103 screens. In local currency and admissions, it was a record for producer Jerry Bruckheimer and BVI’s second-biggest debut behind “Unbreakable.”

The frame’s pacesetter, “T3,” rang up approximately $17 million on 1,940 screens in 20 markets, spurring the cume to just under $54 million. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comeback vehicle drummed up $4.9 million on 377 in Australia (the 10th-biggest preem locally); $1 million on 65 prints in New Zealand (the industry’s seventh biggest, outpacing “Spider-Man”); and $684,000 on 18 runs in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei (one of the market’s best openings of the year, but 12% below “The Matrix Reloaded”).

Sony estimated the sci-fier picked up $6.5 million in its second weekend in Japan, where it’s handled by Toho-Towa. Precise figures weren’t available due to a Monday public holiday. Assuming a 35% decline, that brings the total in Japan to a hefty $24.5 million.

The “Angels” sequel became the 12th title to cross $100 million this year, surging to $107.6 million after minting $15.9 million from 6,184 engagements in 49 territories. Still ahead are 18 markets, all small except Russia and China.

McG-helmed caper fetched $3.6 million on 706 in France, 8% below the original in euros but 21% ahead in dollars, and a mediocre $379,000 on 85 in Belgium (20% less in local coin).

Slowing down

However, the femme fighters lost momentum in their second laps, plunging by 46% in Germany and tallying $6.1 million to date; tumbling by 44% in Spain for $4.7 million thus far; and sliding 55% in Mexico, notching $3.7 million. Pic sported stronger legs in the U.K., dipping by 25% in its third outing, hoisting total to $14.7 million.

“Hulk” mustered $5.8 million on 499 in Blighty, including $2.2 million in previews, Universal’s 10th-biggest debut. Comicbook-inspired actioner drew $10.4 million from 3,692 playdates in 30 countries, elevating cume to $71 million.

It’ll pass the $100 million mark, but by how much won’t be clear until after Aug. 2, when it launches in Japan.

Strongest perfs are Mexico’s $11.3 million, France’s $8.7 million, Spain’s $6.2 million in 17 days and Oz’s $6 million. At the low end is Germany’s $3.7 million in 18 days.

“Bruce Almighty” commanded $2.9 million on 409 in Mexico and $620,000 in Sweden, yet more personal bests for topliner Jim Carrey. Spyglass comedy has pocketed a socko $31 million in the U.K. (already BVI’s second-biggest live-action pic behind “The Sixth Sense”) and $12.7 million in Spain, both through fourth frames. In South Korea, pic pulled in $3.5 million in 10 days, easing by 26%. “Bruce” rustled up $10.4 million in BVI’s markets, driving the cume to $132.2 million, including four Spyglass territories.

In the swim

“Finding Nemo” located $1.2 million on 33 in Hong Kong, an animation record edging out “Toy Story 2” by 5%. Cume reached $37.3 million in just 16 territories, mostly in Asia and Latin America, highlighted by Mexico’s $13.4 million through its third cruise, where it ranks as BVI’s third most popular toon behind “Monsters, Inc.” and “Dinosaur.”

British horror pic “28 Days Later” triumphed in Spain with $1.4 million on 242. A patchy performer, Fox release has collected an impressive $9.8 million in its home market, a so-so $3.7 million in Germany and a lousy $1.2 million in France. Cume is $21.1 million in 31 markets.

“Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas” encountered choppy waters in Mexico, managing $673,000 on 272, but was more buoyant in Spain with $841,000 on 272. DreamWorks’ toon has caught a terrif $3.5 million in 10 days in Korea and a sturdy $2.9 million in 12 days in France, abating by a trifling 9%. Estimated cume is $12.5 million in 12 countries.

Mainland arrival

Winding up its tour, “The Matrix Reloaded” grabbed an estimated $1.4 million including previews in China. Warner Bros. was happy with that figure, given the widespread video piracy. Return, sans sneaks, was on par with “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.” Cume topped $431 million.

Entering its last market, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” wooed a fair $700,000 on 192 in Japan, about the same as the bows of “As Good As It Gets” and “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” Indie phenom has amassed an estimated $125.2 million.

Joel Schumacher’s “Veronica Guerin,” starring Cate Blanchett as an Irish journo whose investigation into the drug trade led to her murder, improved by 7% in Ireland, tallying $1.7 million in 10 days on 55. That augurs well for its Aug. 1 U.K. bow; pic is skedded to launch Oct. 17 in the U.S.

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