“Shrek 2” jousted with “King Arthur” in Japan over the weekend, but neither could dethrone the market champ, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” which flew through its fifth stanza. And neither rookie was a match for the third chapter of “Spider-Man 2.”
The “Shrek” sequel’s estimated bow of $2.7 million, including previews, is no great surprise considering the original wound up pocketing a measly $18 million in Japan. While the opening was 30% ahead of the first film’s entry, it’s a disappointing start for UIP and DreamWorks, which had loftier expectations after organizing a talent tour to Japan and mobilizing a hefty P&A campaign.
“Shrek 2” minted an estimated $17 million overseas for the weekend, elevating cume to $338 million, with Italy and a few smaller markets ahead.
“King Arthur” captured a projected $3.2 million in Japan, with sneaks, bigger than the preems of “Gone in 60 Seconds,” “Con Air” and “Gladiator” and a handsome number in light of its poor domestic performance.
Knights’ tale commanded an estimated $1 million in Sweden and $450,000 in Norway, No. 1 in both and the second best entries for producer Jerry Bruckheimer behind “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.”
Medieval adventure drummed up $450,000 in Taiwan capital Taipei, but skidded by 55% to $1.1 million in its soph session in Australia, bringing the Oz total to a nonetheless nifty $5.2 million.
‘Potter’ pleases Japan
“Prisoner of Azkaban” coined an estimated $3.8 million in Japan, spurring market haul to a stellar $77.3 million. Hogwarts saga earned about $11 million over the weekend on around 5,000 screens, propelling cume to $458.6 million. Warners’ family pic conjured $2.2 million in its second outing in South Korea, upping the territory tally to a juicy $9.1 million.
In its world preem, “Thunderbirds,” the Working Title pic inspired by the classic TV series, rang up a modest $2.4 million on 433 playdates in the U.K. and Ireland, including previews. Met with scathing reviews, it placed third behind the second turn of “Spider-Man 2” and the fourth of “Shrek 2.”
Sans sneaks, the opening was slightly bigger than that of all three editions of “Spy Kids,” but not an auspicious debut for the Jonathan Frakes-helmed film, which bows Friday in the U.S.
Action is his reward
The frame’s No. 1 title, “Spider-Man 2” spun an estimated $31.6 million, driving cume to $267 million, with Italy and China on the horizon.
Tobey Maguire/Kirsten Dunst starrer nabbed $1.6 million on 303 screens in India, marking a record for a Hollywood pic (in local currency, 40% ahead of the first Spidey) and the widest release ever in the territory.
Superhero saga fetched $3.4 million in Japan, off a modest 34%, bumping the market total to $30.9 million. Sam Raimi-helmed epic effortlessly retained pole position in its soph sessions in several major markets, despite hefty drops. Pic generated an estimated $6.3 million in the U.K. (down 53%), scoring $30.7 million so far; $6.6 million in France (tumbling by 49%), amassing $22.3 million; and $2.3 million in Spain (plunging 56%), banking $13.5 million.
In its third lap in Germany, the webslinger plummeted 55% to $1.8 million, and local cume reached $20 million. Sony is encouraged to find that Spidey is tracking strongly on weekdays, as the weekend reps about 61% of the full week’s business during the summer holidays vs. 75%-80% in the fall.
‘Robot’ shows mettle
Decline of “King Arthur” in Oz can be attributed mostly to “I, Robot,” which programmed an estimated $3.3 million on 346, giving Fox its seventh-biggest debut in the territory.
Will Smith starrer was No. 1 also in the Philippines ($426,000 on 110) and New Zealand ($396,000 on 60).
In family-friendly Mexico, “Home on the Range” ponied up around $1.2 million, which, if that estimate holds, would rank in top spot ahead of “Garfield: The Movie,” which lapped up $1.1 million in its second outing (off 49%), taking a swell $5 million to date. “Garfield” grabbed a handy $501,000 on 90 on debut in Taiwan.
“Fahrenheit 9/11” mustered a terrif $803,000 in its second weekend of advance screenings Down Under and has $1.3 million in the till ahead of its Thursday bow.