‘Terminator’ to invade world in June

Sony delays film internationally to boost 'Angels'

Sony is giving its “Angels and Demons” a bit of breathing room overseas, holding off on opening “Terminator Salvation” in most international markets until the first weekend in June — two weeks after the domestic launch.

“It’s really a matter of early June being the right date for ‘Terminator,’ ” notes Sony’s international distribution topper Mark Zucker. “We’ll have three weeks as the major action title in the market until ‘Transformers 2’ opens. So we’re going to own June.”

“Terminator Salvation,” handled by Warner Bros. on the domestic side, will have a day-and-date launch this weekend in South Korea — where Sony doesn’t have “Terminator” rights. Sony will begin the foreign “Terminator” launch in Asian markets the following frame with openings in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.

Zucker admitted that piracy concerns prompted Sony to get “Terminator” out earlier in Asia than in its other foreign markets. “They are also huge ‘Terminator’ markets,” he added.

As with “Angels and Demons,” Sony plans a saturation-level foreign launch for “Terminator Salvation” — which could translate to as many as 10,000 playdates.

The franchise has a solid foreign record, with 62% of its $1.03 billion in worldwide grosses coming from overseas. The original “Terminator” topped its domestic gross with $40 million in 1984; 1991’s “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” grossed $315 million outside the U.S., and “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” racked up $283 million in foreign coin in 2003.

Final figures for the “Angels and Demons” opening frame came in slightly lower than estimates, with an opening weekend of $102.1 million at 10,468 playdates in 96 markets. That marked the 11th best international debut frame ever, finishing just behind “War of the Worlds.”

Germany led the “Angels” markets with $11.9 million, followed by Italy with $10.6 million and the U.K. with $9.2 million. It was the biggest opening of the year in Germany, where overall box office rose 85% from the previous week, as the religious thriller benefited from its bestselling source material and strong local interest in old-world mysteries and ancient conspiracies.

“Angels” brought back Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard to reprise their roles from “The Da Vinci Code,” which grossed an eye-popping $540 million in foreign markets. In Germany, “Da Vinci Code” opened with $14.3 million on its way to a $50 million cume, trailing only Japan and the U.K.

“Angels” showed decent drawing power on Monday with another $9.2 million, pushing the foreign cume to $111.3 million and the worldwide total past $162 million.

Ed Meza in Berlin contributed to this report.

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