‘Spider-Man 2’ ensnares Europe

'Robot' is Fox's third biggest preem in Thailand

Sony’s webslinger conquered a large chunk of Europe over the weekend, while “King Arthur” proved much more valiant in its first five offshore markets than at home.

Meanwhile, “I, Robot” blitzed Thailand, “Garfield: The Movie” was the champ in Mexico and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” enchanted folks in South Korea.

It was a generally buoyant frame except in Northern Europe, where hot, sunny weather flattened ticket sales, noticeably impacting “Spider-Man 2’s” bows in Holland and Belgium and its soph sessions in Germany and Scandinavia.

Columbia TriStar Intl. senior exec VP Mark Zucker wasn’t perturbed by the B.O.-unfriendly climate, noting, “We have a long summer vacation ahead of us in Europe, and I’m sure everyone who wants to see ‘Spider-Man 2’ will go to it.”

Sony’s superhero saga amassed an estimated $62.3 million from around 9,400 screens in 61 markets (a company record overseas), propelling its cume to $200.1 million in 19 days of international release, with Italy and sundry smaller markets ahead.

The sequel seized the top spots as it debuted in 10 territories, led by the U.K.’s estimated $15.7 million from 1,117 playdates, including Thursday previews. Excluding sneaks, that was 18% bigger than the first Spidey and the territory’s 11th highest preem.

Sam Raimi-helmed adventure caught a projected $11.6 million on 900 in France (the ninth best opening for a U.S. release, 13% up on the original) and $7.7 million in five days on 602 in Spain.

“Spider-Man 2” fetched an estimated $1.16 million apiece in Belgium and Holland, fractionally below the first edition’s bows in both, with slippage attributed by the distrib to the weather. Its $820,000 entry in Portugal marked the fourth biggest locally, while Israel’s $400,000 was the ninth highest.

Tobey Maguire/Kirsten Dunst headliner fell by an acceptable 39% to $4.5 million in its second sojourn in Japan, spurring the market cume to a socko $20.7 million. But it slumped by 55% to $4.1 million in depressed Germany, ringing up $16.3 million to date.

‘Arthur’ reigns o’seas

“King Arthur” took the crown in four markets and looks set to emulate 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.

Jerry Bruckheimer production nabbed an estimated $2.6 million in Australia (on par with “Last Samurai”), $385,000 in the Philippines (12% bigger than “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”), $325,000 in Malaysia (15% up on “Pirates”) and $325,000 in Singapore.

Antoine Fuqua-helmed knights’ tale drummed up a lively $420,000 in New Zealand, but couldn’t unseat the “Spider-Man 2” and “Shrek 2” holdovers. In aggregate, BVI calculated “Arthur” pocketed the same amount in dollars in those five territories as did “Last Samurai” and “Armageddon.”

“Shrek 2” was squeezed in its third outing in Germany, tumbling by 48%-50% to $3 million, bringing the territory total to $24.5 million.

DreamWorks’ ogre devoured an estimated $23 million in UIP’s markets, elevating the cume to $307 million, including hefty contributions from South Korea and Hong Kong. Toon appears headed for north of $400 million, depending partly on how it performs in Japan, where it launches next weekend. It’s whistled up around $63.5 million in Blighty, $33.4 million in Australia and $23.7 million in Spain.

Advanced robotics

Will Smith starrer “I, Robot” tore through Thailand, whipping up $1.1 million on 200, marking Fox’s third biggest preem locally.

“Prisoner of Azkaban” minted an estimated $20.4 million from around 6,300 screens (down just 6% from the prior weekend), and its cume flew to $435.2 million, with Greece and China on the horizon.

Hogwarts saga conjured up a projected $5.5 million on 302 in South Korea, including previews, in Seoul rated as 25% higher than “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and 14% up on “Chamber of Secrets.”

“Azkaban” regained pole position in its fourth stanza in Japan, mustering approximately $6.4 million, hoisting the territory total to a dazzling $65 million.

“Garfield” drew a terrif $2.3 million on 487 in family-friendly Mexico, an impressive $1 million on 262 in Brazil (placed second) and a fair $265,000 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 $1.55 million on 204. But the Frank Oz-directed remake wasn’t as appealing in Germany, drawing $700,000 on 244.

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

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