Summer swells up for foreign b.o.

'Pirates,' 'Wedding,' power seasonal wrap

The summer season abroad is finishing on a high note, buoyed by “Pirates of the Caribbean,” the sequels to “American Pie” and “Lara Croft” and muscular holdover biz for “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.”

Also, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” began its foreign campaign with gusto in Asia, benefiting from far less competition than in the U.S., where it was sunk by “Pirates.”

“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” pillaged $24.2 million from around 2,900 engagements in 16 territories, boosting its booty to $71.9 million. Swashbuckler seized $5.8 million on 646 screens in France, BVI’s second-biggest live-action preem behind “The Sixth Sense” and a record for producer Jerry Bruckheimer, slightly ahead of “Armageddon.”

Gore Verbinski-helmed adventure smashed BVI opening records elsewhere, bagging $5 million on 343 in Spain for the industry’s fifth-highest entry; $1.4 million on 73 in Holland, the market’s eighth best; and $1.1 million on 69 in Belgium, No. 10 all time.

Fueled by word of mouth, “Pirates” slipped by just 19% to ring up $4.2 million in the U.K., upping the 10-day total to $15.3 million. Through its third sojourn it has pocketed a stellar $27 million in Japan (up 1%, thanks to the Obon holidays) and $8 million in Mexico.

Heroic perf

Helmer Zhang Yimou’s “Hero” hauled in $5.3 million on 360 in Japan for local distrib WB, a record for a non-Nippon Asian film; its estimated cume topped $80 million, with the U.K., Australia and Latin America to come. “Hero” trailed local cop action/comedy “Bayside Shakedown 2,” which made off with $7.5 million in its fifth weekend, hoisting cume to a socko $89.2 million.

“American Wedding” partied hard in the U.K, wooing $6.9 million at 432 locations, including previews, UIP’s second-highest debut this year behind “8 Mile.” Laffer was No. 1 again in Oz, earning $1.6 million (down 42%) to bring the 11-day tally to a hearty $5.3 million.

“Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life” reigned in Germany (snaring $2.5 million on 802) and Taiwan ($1.2 million on 60) and was fairly feisty in Portugal ($423,000 on 64), Sweden ($401,000 on 60) and Norway ($257,000 on 68).

“T3” commanded $16.6 million from 6,400 screens in 50 markets, propelling cume to $219.2 million. Sci-fier trapped $3.8 million in France (abating by 51%), scoring a hefty $12.8 million in 12 days. Helped by milder weather, “T3” in its third frames eased by a moderate 38% in the U.K., tallying $23.3 million; fell by 28% in Germany, for $15.6 million; and declined by 44% in Spain, amassing $11.6 million.

Big ‘League’

Sean Connery starrer “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” conquered South Korea, collaring $2.6 million on 140 (Fox’s fourth-biggest bow locally) and Singapore with $563,000 on 44. It was No. 2 in the Philippines with $475,000 on 107, just behind “Finding Nemo’s” $486,000 on 40, including previews, a BVI toon record, outrunning “The Lion King.” Disney/Pixar pic’s cume is $61.5 million in 21 Asian and Latino territories.

Fast heading to $200 million, “Bruce Almighty” summoned up a divine $550,000 on 103 in Argentina, a BVI record in local currency, trumping “Signs,” and yet another career high for Jim Carrey. Cume topped $187 million, with Japan and France ahead.

“Daddy Day Care” tended a reasonable $1.8 million on 689 in Germany and $323,000 on 80 in Austria. Eddie Murphy starrer has grossed $31.6 million in 27 markets, highlighted by Australia’s $9.5 million and the U.K.’s $8.3 million.

Beginning their international roll-outs, “Freddy vs. Jason” scared up a decent $1.3 million on 237 in Blighty; “S.W.A.T.” netted a potent $250,000 on 41 in Malaysia (15% bigger than last year’s bow of “XXX”); and domestic dud “Hollywood Homicide” wasn’t disastrous in Mexico, taking $505,000 on 250.