Ogre edging Spidey

'Shrek 2' No. 1 summer family film o'seas

“Spider-Man 2” and “Shrek 2” may not be going out head-to-head abroad, but the timing is close enough to draw comparisons — and the DreamWorks toon appears to have the edge, establishing itself as the No. 1 family film released overseas this summer.

Although it’s notched numerous company and industry records, the Spidey sequel hasn’t matched the “Shrek” sequel’s bows in many key markets.

The webslinger has been squeezed by the ogre in Australia, and the pics are cannibalizing each other in Germany, where they went out a week apart to get ahead of the July 22 launch of “(T)raumschiff Surprise,” a “Star Trek” spoof from the creator of “Manitou’s Shoe.”

In Japan, Spidey has met his nemesis in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” which effortlessly regained pole position in its fourth stanza last weekend.

‘King’ crowned

Meanwhile, “King Arthur” showed far more spunk in its first five offshore markets than at home, “I, Robot” mesmerized Thailand, “Garfield: the Movie” ruled Mexico, and “Prisoner of Azkaban” enchanted folks in South Korea.

“Fahrenheit 9/11” continues to generate B.O. heat overseas, gunning down $5 million in 10 days in the U.K. (off 24%), $6.8 million in 12 days in France (slipping 22%) and $1 million in Belgium (down 39%). Michael Moore’s incendiary docu drummed up $170,000 on 23 in Argentina and a highly promising $554,000 from sneaks on 68 in Australia as a primer for its July 29 preem.

Spidey spun an estimated $62.2 million from some 9,400 screens in 57 markets (a Sony record overseas), propelling cume to $200.1 million in 19 days of international release. With Italy and sundry smaller markets ahead, the Sam Raimi-helmed adventure looks headed for north of $400 million and its predecessor’s $418 million lifetime haul.

Tobey Maguire/Kirsten Dunst headliner seized the top spots as it swooped into 10 territories, continuing its perfect score of No. 1 debuts in all 61 markets. The U.K. delivered $16.1 million from 1,117 playdates, including Thursday previews. Excluding sneaks, that was 21% bigger than the first Spidey and the territory’s 14th highest preem.

France generated $12.5 million on 900 (the ninth best opening for a U.S. release, 13% up on the original) and Spain contributed $7.7 million in five days on 603.

Hot weather hurts

“Spider-Man 2” caught $1.2 million in Belgium and $1.1 million in Holland, respectively 8% and 15% below the first edition’s bows, blamed by the distrib on hot weather that flattened ticket sales in Northern Europe. Its $795,000 entry in Portugal was the sixth biggest locally, while Israel’s $402,000 was the ninth highest.

Pic fell by an acceptable 39% to $4.6 million in its second sojourn in Japan, spurring the market cume to $20.7 million. But in its soph sessions, it slumped by 57% to $4 million in depressed Germany, ringing up $16.1 million to date, and took similar hits in sweltering Scandinavia.

“King Arthur” took the crown in four markets and looks capable of emulating other period adventures such as “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” “Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World,” “Troy” and “The Last Samurai,” all of which turned out to be far more popular overseas than in the U.S.

Antoine Fuqua-directed knights tale nabbed $2.4 million on 245 in Australia (in local currency 12% bigger than “Master & Commander”), $397,000 on 33 in Singapore (13% up on “Gladiator”), and $324,000 on 41 in Malaysia (on par with “Troy”).

Jerry Bruckheimer production corralled a strapping $342,000 on 62 in New Zealand but couldn’t unseat the Spidey 2 and “Shrek 2” holdovers.

“Shrek 2” devoured an estimated $24.8 million from 4,484 screens in 30 UIP markets, elevating cume to $306.4 million, including South Korea’s hefty $17.3 million, eclipsing the original’s $211.6 million lifetime cume. Toon’s chances of reaching $500 million hinge largely on how it performs in Japan, where it launches this weekend. Through its third chapters, it’s whistled up $63.8 million in Blighty, $23.8 million in Spain and $24.4 million in Germany (where it tumbled by 55%); after its fifth it’s amassed a socko $32.2 million in Oz.

‘Robot’ rules

Will Smith starrer “I, Robot” blitzed Thailand, whipping up $1.1 million on 200, marking Fox’s fourth biggest preem locally. Sci-fier bows this weekend in Oz and a few Asian markets and is slated for Europe in August/September.

“Prisoner of Azkaban” minted an estimated $19 million from some 6,300 screens (down just 12% on the prior weekend), and cume flew to $435 million, with Greece and China on the horizon. It’s tracking 4% below “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (which made $656 million) and 5% down on “Chamber of Secrets” ($615 million) at the same stage in their international rollouts.

Hogwarts saga conjured $5.3 million on 302 in South Korea, including previews — 45% higher than the first edition and 17% better than the second. “Azkaban” mustered $6.4 million in its fourth stanza in Japan, hoisting the territory total to a stunning $65 million.

Entering its first significant markets, “Garfield” drew a terrif $2.2 million on 487 in family-friendly Mexico, an impressive $1.1 million on 262 in Brazil (placed second) and a fair $285,000 in Argentina (ranked fourth).

After mediocre forays in France and Italy, “The Stepford Wives” shone in Oz, no doubt attracting many Nicole Kidman admirers, capturing $1.5 million on 203. But the Frank Oz-directed remake wasn’t as appealing in Germany, drawing $835,000 on 251.

Chinese helmer Zhang Yimou’s epic “House of Flying Daggers” conquered Taiwan, notching $1 million on 137 for local distrib Fox.

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