Warm summer keeps box office mild

European auds hit beach as pics take dip

Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” may have sailed overseas as the No. 1 movie again, but Warner Bros.’ “Ocean’s Thirteen” entered the international marketplace with flair, opening at the top in the U.K., Spain and Italy, as well as a number of smaller territories.

Still, “Pirates” began to plunge deeply in some key markets. And despite its one-two punch with “Ocean’s” — followed by Paramount’s “Shrek the Third” at No. 3 — it’s clear that summer is taking hold in Western Europe and auds are starting to gravitate to the beaches. In Italy, for one drastic example, the latest “Pirates” dipped 75% after 19 days in release as sun worshippers abandoned Hollywood movies.

“Pirates” has so far plundered $493.6 million overseas. The second pic in the series took in $642.8 million internationally last year.

But “Pirates” was still sailing well in some markets.

“At World’s End” was again at the top of the heap for the third week in Germany. However, sunny weather and competition from second-place opener “Ocean’s” resulted in a 50% drop to $4.8 million.

Among Teutonic auds, Clooney, Pitt & Co. weren’t much of a match for Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow and his motley crew: “Ocean’s” opened on 686 with $3.9 million, putting it well below 2004’s “Ocean’s Twelve,” which bowed with $5.2 million.

“Moviegoers are going for the big summer popcorn movie, and that’s ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ ” says one exhib. “(‘Ocean’s’) may have a lot of big stars, but it’s the same setup as the other films. ‘Pirates’ is aimed at a much wider audience and has a lot more to offer in terms of action and fun, especially for younger viewers.”

At No. 3 in Germany, “Zodiac” dropped 47%, pulling in $429,980 from 199 for a cume of $1.5 million.

Overall the German box office dropped 23% from the previous week.

In Blighty, “Pirates” was still doing good biz and together with “Ocean’s” dominated a U.K. market softened by sunny summer weather that drove U.K. moviegoers outdoors rather than to multiplexes. Biz was off by 17% from the previous frame.

Even so, “Ocean’s managed to roll to $6 million at 475. Pic, which was also a No. 1 domestically, finished well ahead of “At World’s End,” which sank 57% in its third frame for a $66.4 million cume in the U.K. That slip was drastic for the “Pirates” pic, which had expected to end its run with between $73 million and $79 million.

In Italy, “Ocean’s” easily commanded the top spot. But Italo B.O. pros say the $2.2 million it pulled in repped a relatively small splash.

Meanwhile, “At World’s End” plunged 75% to $1.3 million on 668 in a sun-drenched frame that saw a 47% weekend-to-weekend B.O. drop at Italo wickets. In its third frame, the third “Pirates” pic has cumed $20 million in Italy, per national compiler Cinetel.

The collective Italo beach exodus made mincemeat of nearly all other outings, especially Disney’s CG fantasy “Meet the Robinsons” which pulled in a paltry $327,000 on 219, good for fourth place.

As Italo biz drooped, Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof” skidded by 69% in its second frame to $370 on 318 for a funereal $1,160 per-screen average.

Despite its drop-offs elsewhere, “At World’s End” held sturdily in France where “Ocean’s” wasn’t to bow until June 20. Swashbuckling adventure dipped 38% in its third frame to $4.4 million at 787 and has a $34 million cume.

In Spain, televised sports distracted auds. Nevertheless, “Ocean’s” cruised onto the No. 1 spot in the market, with $3 million off 529.

“Pirates” was still making hay in Latin American play, finishing No. 1 in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, where the pic has translated to $17 million after 10 days in release.

In other action, “Shrek the Third” is also expected to pocket green in Europe. The pic is so far open in only 18 markets and has brought in $24.5 million.

On the charts, Sony’s smash “Spider-Man 3” held on to finish at No. 4, still playing in 75 markets, while “Zodiac” continues to cut up profits with $32.5 million from 44 markets to date.

Nick Vivarelli in Italy, Ed Meza in Germany, David Hayhurst in France and John Hopewell in Spain contributed to this report.