Hero's welcome o'seas, too

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"Spider-Man 3" easily outpaced its two predecessors by smashing the stanza with what Sony claims is "the international opening-weekend boxoffice record," grossing an estimated $227 million from 16,700 screens in 105 markets and solidifying the superhero series as the most commercially successful in movie history.

The previous first-weekend boxoffice record holder, also from Sony, was last year's "The Da Vinci Code," which logged $154.7 million in its opening five days overseas. It should be noted that "Spider-Man's" overseas rollout began Tuesday in 16 key markets and spread out to the 105-territory total reached by the weekend. As a result, the $227 million gross estimate includes six full days of grosses in some markets.

Nonetheless, the huge opening haul is slightly more than 55% of the $410.5 million gross attained by 2004's "Spider-Man 2" over the course of its entire foreign run. Worldwide, "Spider-Man 3" already has grossed $375 million for a per-screen average of $17,898.

As the first of the big summer tentpoles, the latest incarnation of the web-slinging superhero sucked the oxygen out of the international market during the weekend, grossing nearly 50 times the figure nabbed by second-place finisher "Wild Hogs."

"Spider-Man" recorded eye-popping grosses in virtually all territories played. In at least 20 markets it was the No. 1 film opening of all time.

Among those territories was Japan (an estimated $26.5 million from 822 screens), Korea ($18.3 million from 683 sites), Italy ($15.1 million from 907 situations), Mexico ($11.1 million from 1,260 screens), China ($7.9 million from 1,605 sites), Russia and the Ukraine ($7.4 million from 671 screens), Brazil ($6.9 million from 816 spots) and India ($4.7 million from 588 screens).

In the U.K., "Spider-Man" grossed an estimated $22.9 million from 1,357 screens, the third-biggest three-day opening ever in the key market. In France, the tally was $21.8 million from 967 sites, the market's fifth-biggest opening ever. In Germany, the film drew $15.1 million from 1,148 screens, while in Spain the opening tally was $11.1 million from 875 situations, the market's fifth-biggest opening ever.

After its saturation opening blitz, "Spider-Man" won't open any new markets this weekend. However, it will virtually own the foreign market until the next big summer tentpole, DreamWorks/ Paramount Pictures International's "Shrek the Third," arrives May 17.

A distant No. 2 for the weekend was the suburban biker comedy "Hogs," which snared an estimated $4.6 million from 3,255 screens in 38 territories to lift its overseas gross to $64.5 million.

Close behind "Hogs" in third place was Universal International's "Mr. Bean's Holiday," which laughed all the way to an estimated $4.5 million from 3,400 screens in 50 markets. The international gross for the Rowan Atkinson slapstick comedy is $166 million. It has seven foreign territories yet to play, including Japan and Korea; the U.S. bow is set for Aug. 31.

At No. 4 overall was Paramount Pictures International's "Shooter," which targeted an estimated $3.2 million from 1,762 locations in 56 territories. The international cume for the Mark Wahlberg action vehicle is $35 million.

Finishing fifth for the frame was the family fantasy "Bridge to Terabithia," which Icon Film Distribution bowed at 410 screens in the U.K. to an estimated $1.4 million, enough to place No. 2 in the market. Ranking 15th in the U.K. is Entertainment Film Distributor's "Goya's Ghosts," from director Milos Forman, which opened to an estimated $102,000 from 140 sites.

Warner Bros. International's "The Reaping," starring Hilary Swank, scared up an estimated $1.9 million from 1,372 screens in 43 markets, raising its overseas cume to $31.8 million. WBI's "300" nudged its international gross to $228.4 million thanks to a $1.8 million weekend at 2,200 situations in 56 territories.

Buena Vista International's "Meet the Robinsons" slowed to an estimated $1 million from 2,800 screens in 39 markets, lifting its international cume to $48.3 million. There are many territories to go for the animation outing, which will wind up its overseas run Dec. 8 in Japan.

Other overseas cume updates: 20th Century Fox's "Sunshine," $23.6 million; Universal's "Hot Fuzz," $49.3 million; Fox's "Epic Movie," $41.4 million; Universal's "Curse of the Golden Flower," $2.8 million (Universal territories only); Fox's "Rocky Balboa," $82.7 million; and Universal's "The Good Shepherd," $19 million (Universal territories only).
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