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Soccer tackles ‘A-Team,’ ‘Karate Kid’

World Cup compromises overseas launches of both pics

Despite the fact the World Cup soccer tournament is underway, some studios decided to make their own pitch, with day and date overseas releases. Results have been predictably underwhelming.

Twentieth Century Fox led the attack with its 1980s reboot actioner “The A-Team” in 34 markets, followed by Sony’s “The Karate Kid,” which kicked off in six Asian territories. Both films saw modest weekend earnings as “The A-Team” grossed $14.4 million on 3,924 screens and “Karate Kid,” $6 million on 800.

Some B.O. observers question whether the soft landings had less to do with the World Cup and more to do with tepid reactions from overseas auds to titles that would seem to resonate better domestically, particularly “A-Team,” based on a U.S. TV series. But with most international territories still to come, and foreign flair having been built in to both, the two films could yet see healthy improvements overseas.

Fox started the international rollout for “A-Team,” which has cumed $16.3 million as of June 15, in growing markets like Australia, South Korea, Mexico and Russia. In Oz, the film grossed $2.9 million on 324 bases, repping the pic’s top market. Russia followed with $1.7 million on 755, while in South Korea, the pic earned $1.5 million on 344.

South Korea also repped one of the biggest territories for “Karate Kid,” where it drew slightly less than $1 million. Still, the territory’s overall box office was down as the World Cup took priority; South Korea faced off with Greece during a June 12 preliminary match.

“Karate Kid” fared best in Malaysia, the pic’s top market, with $1.3 million on 121 screens; while Indian auds also warmed to the film, shelling out $1 million on 245.

Both “A-Team” and “Karate Kid” are based on properties first seen during the 1980s, with decidedly American themes. This time around, “A-Team” enlisted international stars like Irish-born Liam Neeson, playing team leader Hannibal Smith, and Sharlto Copley (“District 9”) alongside American thesps Bradley Cooper and Quinton Jackson.

Meanwhile, “Karate Kid” uprooted the original L.A.-based pic to China, with international martial arts star Jackie Chan as the wizened sensei. Sony is delaying the pic’s China debut until after the World Cup, especially given fellow family-friendly film, Disney’s “Toy Story 3,” is set to bow there day-and-date June 18.

Fox plans to continue its steady rollout of “A-Team,” hoping to benefit from a relatively bare international front as France, Italy and Belgium join the barrage this weekend.

Meanwhile, holdover entries, including Warner Bros.’ “Sex and the City 2” and Disney’s “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” continued to duke it out overseas. “Sex 2” won the match, grossing $23 million in 58 territories on 8,000 screens for a cume of $131.1 million. “Prince,” which took in an additional $19.7 million during the weekend, has cumed $196.1 million as of June 16.

Top market for “Sex 2” was Australia, which took in $3.2 million in is soph sesh, enough to claim the territory’s No. 1 spot for a cume of $13 million. The U.K. also saw healthy returns in holdover frames, mixing $2.2 million to the overall $25.1 million cocktail. Blighty stands as “Sex 2’s” highest-grossing market.

Disney’s “Prince” also showed some legs in holdover markets, with leading territory France grossing $1.9 million on 652 screens, boosting the film’s cume in that country to $11.2 million. In its third frame, “Prince” dropped 33% in Gaul.

The vidgame adaptation took in $1.8 million in 1,250 harems — the pic’s widest overseas release — for a total of $18.8 million. “Prince” now ranks as China’s third-highest release ever for Disney behind “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Disney adds “Toy Story 3” to its Chinese arsenal this weekend, launching day-and-date with domestic.

Emilio Mayorga in Barcelona, Mark Schilling in Tokyo, Clifford Coonan in Beijing, Ed Meza in Berlin, Lauren Seligman in Paris and Nick Vivarelli in Rome contributed to this report.

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