'Iron'-clad b.o.

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Roll out the drums! Let the trumpets blare! Hollywood has a new franchise.

Marvel Comics' superhero "Iron Man" forged a wow opening of $95.5 million from 7,760 screens in 57 overseas markets. Paramount Pictures International, the main offshore distributor for the first tentpole of the summer season, pulled in $79 million from 51 markets, while the rest came from territorial distributors doled out by Marvel as part of its deal with Paramount.

The Robert Downey Jr. starrer topped the boxoffice charts in all foreign openings, grossing $10.8 million from the U.K., $7.2 million from France, $5 million from Italy, $4.5 million from Russia, $9.6 million from Mexico, $5.3 million from Brazil, $5.8 million from Australia, $8.3 million from Korea, and $2 million from Taiwan. The film's No. 1 results were a bit disappointing in Germany, however, where it brought in $3.4 million from 632 screens in an overall slow weekend for the market.

"'Iron Man' certainly has taken the world by storm," said Roger Pollock, PPI executive vp distribution and operations. "It received excellent reviews and great reactions from all corners of the globe. It's a great start for the industry's summer season." Pollock called special attention to the "outstanding results" from the U.K., Russia, all of Latin America (especially Brazil and Mexico), Australia and Asia (especially Korea).

"Iron Man" kicks off a blockbuster-crowded summer, with Warner Bros.' "Speed Racer" entering the race this coming weekend, followed by Disney's "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" and Paramount's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." The only major market remaining for "Iron Man" is Japan, which is scheduled to open in September under the guidance of Sony Pictures Releasing International, which also had the rights for Spain. France went to local distributor SND and Germany to Concorde.

Sony's romantic comedy "Made of Honor" came in second with $6.1 million from 1,331 screens in 19 markets, arriving at No. 4 in the U.K. with $1.5 million from 350 screens, No. 2 in Australia with $1.4 million from 256, and No. 2 in Mexico with $1.2 million from 350.

Even with "Iron Man" being such a dominating force, four holdover titles managed to reach $4 million, headed by Warner Bros.' "Fool's Gold," $4.2 million (cume: $33 million); Sony's "21," $4 million (cume: $37.5 million); Universal's "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," $4 million (cume: $16.1 million) and 20th Century Fox's "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who," $4 million (cume: $131.9 million).

Local films in France held up well in the face of the "Iron Man" onslaught. Newcomer Studio Canal's "Deux Jours a Tuer" came in second with $2.3 million; TFM Distribution's "Crash" tallied $2 million on its second weekend for a market gross of $6.2 million; and the all-time champion "Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis" (Welcome to the Sticks) brought in $1.5 million in its 10th weekend (800 screens) for a market gross of $183.2 million. Two other local films defied "Iron Man": Gaumont's "15 Ans et Demi" opened to $1.3 million and UGC's "Le Grand Alibi" to $1.2 million.

In three German-speaking markets, the Disney International release of local-language production "Sommer" took in $1.2 million from 509 screens, holding second place to "Iron Man" in Germany with $1.1 million.

The Chinese film "The Forbidden Kingdom" is arousing attention in Southeast Asia with an estimated cume to date of $9.7 million after three weekends.

Cume updates: Sony Entertainment/Universal's "Nim's Island," $3.2 million (cume: $20 million); Fox's "Street Kings" $2.8 million (cume: $24.8 million); Warner Bros.' "10,000 BC," $1.7 million (cume: $169 million); Fox's "27 Dresses," $1.2 million (cume: $76.7 million); and Disney's "The Game Plan," $1 million (cume: $63.4 million). (partialdiff)
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