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Spidey heats up Euro box office

Rivals left in the shade

LONDON — Europe’s summer season got off to a blazing start this weekend as “Spider-Man 3” delivered on the frenzied hype.

Not all local fare was flattened by the juggernaut. Italian political comedy “My Brother Is an Only Child,” Brit skinhead pic “This Is England” and German laffer “Vollidiot” all showed good legs.

Cool weekend weather and massive media coverage combined to create whammo results for the webslinging superhero in the U.K.

The pic took $23.6 million at 522 screens in its opening weekend — the second best opening three-day figure ever, trailing only “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” which did $29.9 million in 2005.

Monday, a public holiday in the U.K., was bumper with “Spider-Man 3” banking another $8.4 million for a $32 million opening four-day haul. Sony reports the Monday’s take was the best ever Monday, excluding preview days.

Shane Meadows’ “This Is England” jumped 3% in its soph sesh (excluding previews) from 34% more screens. Optimum Releasing’s pic, which is being labeled the Brit movie of the year by the media, took $381,256 at 83 for a $1.1 million 10-day total.

Continuing to work well in upmarket sites in Blighty is German Oscar-winner “The Lives of Others.” The Stasi surveillance drama dipped just 20% in its fourth frame and has now taken $2.9 million for Lionsgate U.K.

Biopic “Goya’s Ghosts” left Brit auds cold. The Entertainment release crept into 15th spot with a shocking $98,954 from 139. The ghastly screen average of $711 will see it yanked from theaters sharpish.

In Italy, “Spider-Man 3” followed up on its record-breaking $4 million first day (May 1) with a prolific $13.3 million in its first six days. That places it behind only “The Da Vinci Code,” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” and “The Passion of the Christ” in the record books.

Showing great traction in Italy despite the Spidey invasion is Daniele Luccheti’s political comedy “My Brother Is an Only Child,” which dipped just 23% in its third frame to $1 million at 330 for a $6.5 million running cume.

The success for the pic about two siblings who in the 1970s develop diametrically opposed political bents — one becomes a Communist, the other a neo-Fascist — confirms local auds’ growing taste for homegrown fare.

On the Italian arthouse front, “The Lives of Others” is going great guns, up 25% in its fifth frame to $336,000 on 92 for a stellar $3 million cume via 01 Distribuzione.

Another Teutonic title, “Four Minutes,” the prison drama that just won Germany’s top Golden Lola nod, debuted nicely in Italy with a solid $3,800 per-screen average, among the frame’s highest, for a $57,000 take on 15 via Lady Film.

“Spider-Man 3” ran the competish into the ground in Gaul, raking in $21.5 million at 850 in its first six days for Gaumont Columbia Tristar.

The popcorn actioner perhaps appealed to Gallic auds looking for a little light relief from the bitter Sarkozy vs. Royal presidential contest.

Audrey Tautou starrer “Hunting and Gathering” has given Pathe reason to cheer. The drama still has legs in its seventh frame, cuming $16 million on 382.

Returns of $825,000 on 96 were enough for the weekend fifth spot for “Tres bien, merci.” Helmer Emmanuelle Chau’s tragic drama, starring Sandrine Kiberlain and Gilbert Melki, earned stellar reviews and could be a sleeper hit for French distribber Gemini.

In Germany, “Spider-Man 3” opened big but did not break any records in its first six days, raking in $13.7 million at 846. By comparison, “Spider-Man” and “Spider-Man 2” garnered $12.6 million and $10.3 million, respectively, in their first four days.

Senator’s local laffer “Vollidiot” took third with $617,620 at 512. It slipped just 15% in its fourth frame and has now taken $5.1 million.

“Shoppen,” X Verleih’s critically acclaimed homegrown comedy from Ralf Westhoff about desperate singles that turn to speed-dating to find love, opened at number eight with $253,925 from 52. The $4,883 screen average trailed only “Spider-Man 3” ($16,178).

In Spain, the “Spider-Man 3” opening weekend debut of $10.8 million at 758 trails only “The Da Vinci Code” ($11.8 million) and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” ($11.7 million) in the all-time charts.

The “Spider-Man 3” Spanish bow was significantly above bookers’ expectations, who attribute the success to the lack of any other male-skewed actioners and successful efforts to curb illegal downloading of the pic. But Spanish bookers report that Spidey word of mouth is only lukewarm.

Argentine director Juan Taratuto’s bittersweet romantic comedy “Quien dice que es facil?” worked okay as counter-programming to Sony’s superhero pic. Released on 82 by On Pics, it banked $234,797 and the second-best screen average behind “Spider-Man 3.”

Additional reporting by Nick Vivarelli (Italy), Matt Griffin (Spain), Ed Meza (Germany) and David Hayhurst (France).

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