‘Spider-Man 3’ sets records

Overseas audiences caught in Spidey's web

Buena Vista Intl.’s “Wild Hogs” may have gunned its way to the top of the international charts over the weekend, but it was “Spider-Man 3” that set a torrid pace at the B.O., breaking opening-day records across Asia and Europe.

But beyond the “Spider,” overseas biz was chilly amid warm weather, as a crop of current hits wound down and new releases failed to generate sparks. “Hogs” won the frame, with just $7.5 million from 34 markets, and “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” followed closely behind.

“Next,” “Shooter” and “Perfect Stranger” rounded out the top five, with those three pics separated by only $300,000.

“Spider-Man 3,” meantime, scored the biggest opening day ever in 10 out of the 16 markets in which it

launched May 1, and was easily outpacing the first two pics so far. In its first day of release, Sony’s “Spider” sequel raked in $29.2 million. (First two “Spider” pics combined crawled to $26.2 million in those markets on their opening days.)

After setting one-day B.O. records across Asia, Spidey continued his winning ways in Europe with the biggest opening-day tallies ever in France, Italy, Belgium and Egypt, among others.

The U.S. and U.K. were two of the final territories to get the pic, which bowed May 4 there.

In France, first-day reports for Spidey were boffo, with the film racing to $6.8 million off 778 engagements, beating the mark set by the last pic in the “Star Wars” franchise.

According to Gallic box office compiler CBO, the first-day admissions figure of 175,334 is the highest ever for the Paris region, comfortably ahead of “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” which did 124,664 admissions at 52 in 2005.

And the pic broke Italy’s all-time opening-day record by scoring $4 million on 900 screens for its May 1, bow.

That pulverized the existing record of $2.5 million held by “The Da Vinci Code,” and tripled the day-one takes of Spidey’s two previous installments.

Sony spent some $3.3 million on marketing “Spider-Man 3” in Italy, about the same amount it invested to launch the franchise’s previous installments. A splashy Rome bow on April 24, with stars and helmer Sam Raimi in tow, gave the pic a big boost.

“This is a nice surprise, which bodes well for what promises to be Italy’s biggest summer ever,” Sony Pictures Italia topper Paulo Simoes tells Variety.

In Germany, “Spider-Man 3” grossed $4.6 million from 486,571 admissions on its first day. That puts it on track to easily match the success of the two earlier pics: “Spider-Man” took $1.6 million in its first four days in Germany, while “Spider-Man 2” garnered $10.3 million over four days.

“The warm weather in Germany is not exactly movie-enhancing, but we’re very happy with the results,” Sony’s local m.d. Martin Bachman says.

Pic also was the biggest opening day ever in Belgium and Egypt.

In its opening day Tuesday, Sony estimated that the pic hit ¥415 million ($3.47 million) in Japan, beating “Spider-Man 2’s” ¥410 million. The first “Spider” took in ¥347 million in its first day in Japan in 2004.

In Korea, the latest pic also beat out one-day marks for its predecessors, taking in 3.2 billion won ($3.44 million), Sony honcho Jeff Blake said.

In Hong Kong, Spidey saw the biggest opening day of all time, with $HK7.5 million ($958,984), besting previous record holder “Kung Fu Hustle.”

Pic also drew the biggest opening day of any film in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. In Taiwan, it saw the biggest weekday opening ever.

Key openings follow Thursday in territories including China and Russia.

Without “Spider-Man,” U.K. biz fell 16% on the previous frame and dipped 10% on the same weekend last year.

For the second weekend running, no single pic passed the modest £1 million mark.

Entertainment’s “Next” took No. 1 with $1.59 million, followed by “Hogs” and the holdover “Fracture.”

As in the U.S., Ed Norton-starring period piece “The Painted Veil” was limp. In Blighty, the pic uncovered $523,458 at 140 for Momentum.

“Reno 911! Miami” also was shot down in its U.K. opening. Pic took just $275,917 at 136 per Par — good enough for only 14th in the charts.

With Gallic auds cheering “Spider-Man,” “Mr. Bean’s Holiday,” which has cumed $4.7 million on 500 prints for Studio Canal, finally slipped there. Meantime, new rollout “Next” disappointed TFM, taking in less than $1.5 million in its first five days on 386.

In Italy, B.O. also fell, by 9% from the previous frame, as a paucity of titles kept auds away and waiting for “Spider-Man’s” first full weekend. Surprisingly, Fox’s “Epic Movie” took the top spot in its opening weekend, grossing $1.5 million on 247 screens and beating local favorite “Mio Fratello e Figlio Unico.”

“Fratello,” distributed by Warner Bros. and Cattleya, drew $1.2 million on 477 screens, down 37%.

Psycho thriller “The Number 23” took third position in Italy, grossing $876,000 on 258 screens. Premiering mid-week, the Jim Carrey-starrer has earned a 7-day total of $1.7 million.

Germany, meantime, suffered its worst weekend of the year after the box office plummeted 38.9%. “Wild Hogs” remained No. 1 in its second frame with $1.67 million from 583 despite a 44% drop, for a total of $5.25 million. Only one new entry managed to make it into the top 10, just barely: Sony Pictures’ Jennifer Garner and Kevin Smith starrer “Catch and Release” flopped at number nine with $216,692 from 100.

In Spain, local box office also faltered. At No. 1, DeAPlaneta’s Sandra Bullock starrer “Premonition” opened on 250 with $1,266,648, while “Curse of the Golden Flower” garnered $498,038 from 100 via Sony. Universal’s “Charlotte’s Web” opened in third with $281,939 from 114, followed by Manga’s “10 Items or Less,” which garnered $179,950 from 119.

Archie Thomas in the U.K., Nick Vivarelli and Bernhard Warner in Italy, Emilio Mayorga in Spain and David Hayhurst in France contributed to this report.

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