'Iron Man' keeps up No. 1 pace

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The overseas May tentpole parade is back on track. After last weekend's crash of "Speed Racer," "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" made a royal appearance, "Iron Man" led the race for a third weekend and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" is waiting in the wings for a massive 61-territory takeoff this weekend.

The second installment of Disney/Walden Media's "Narnia" franchise blasted into only 12 foreign markets as part of a staggered summer release and came out with a blistering $23.3 million, hailed by Disney International as 40% better than the original movie in the same territories.

Meanwhile, Paramount's "Iron Man" forged another $26.9 million in its third international weekend, lifting its offshore gross to a ship-shape $207 million. That total includes returns from Germany, Austria, Spain and France — markets not serviced by Paramount Pictures International.

20th Century Fox's romantic comedy "What Happens in Vegas" was among the trio of the weekend's over-$20 million scorers, taking in $23.1 million from 4,265 screens in 56 markets in its second weekend overseas.

Warner Bros.' "Speed Racer" was far behind, trailing to $7.2 million from 4,750 screens at 39 tracks for a second-weekend cume of $24.6 million.

Another romantic comedy, Sony's "Made of Honor," made the top five with $5.7 million from 1,975 screens in 25 countries to reach a cume of $19.6 million. Sony's "21" displayed gambling's global appeal as the film raked in $4 million from 1,310 casinos in 42 countries to lift its foreign gross to $46.1 million, with $30,000 coming from a single screen in Thailand.

According to Disney, "Caspian's" 12-market opening did 25% better than the arrival of "Iron Man" in the same countries. Using a family, faith or educational appeal, depending on the market, the "Narnia" follow-up extracted $6.7 million from 735 screens in Russia, $6.3 million from 842 in Mexico, $4 million from 556 in Korea, $2 million from 31 in India and $1.1 million from 102 in Malaysia.

The film arrived at No. 1 in all its openings, Disney said, and in most instances beat the original film by large percentages, ranging from 15% in Malaysia to 350% in India. The staggered release pattern sees "Caspian" opening in Japan this coming weekend, and it will complete its summer tour in 12 weeks. The next batch of openings are set for May 30, June 4, June 25 and July 2 and end Aug. 20. The film will open in France (June 25) and the U.K. (June 27) after the completion of the European Cup soccer championship.

"Iron Man" held the No. 1 post in the U.K. for a third weekend, tallying $3.7 million from 496 screens for a market cume of $25.5 million. The film was also No. 1 in France for a third session, delivering $2.5 million from 854 screens for a market total of $15.3 million. Australia has brought in $14 million in 11 days; Brazil, $10.9 million in 12 days; Italy, $9.7 million in 11; Mexico, $18.2 million in 12; Russia, $9.1 million in 11; and Korea, $22.9 million in 12.

"What Happens in Vegas" showed that a romantic comedy can compete with the summer tentpoles, holding the No. 1 or No. 2 position in many markets. It was No. 1 for a second weekend in Germany ($2.5 million), up 20% from its opening round. "Vegas" was also No. 1 in Spain, where it brought in $2.3 million, up 33%. It was No. 2 behind "Iron Man" in the U.K., up 20% over its opening weekend, for a market cume of almost $7 million. In countries like Holland and Switzerland, "Vegas" was up 40% from its opening weekend.

"Speed Racer" pulled in $1.1 million from Mexico, for a market cume of $4.2 million, and $1 million from Brazil, for a market score of $2.8 million, but it failed to bring in at least $1 million from any other market. In Germany and Italy, it failed to hold a place in the top 10 at the film's second weekend.

Hardly any other films reached $1 million over the weekend, exceptions being "The Bucket List," $1.5 million (cume: $72.5 million); "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," $1.5 million (cume: $21.8 million); and "Nim's Island," $1.4 million (cume: $24.4 million).

In Italy, local film "Gomorra" came in at No. 1 with $2.8 million from 411 screens.

In France, local film "2 Jours a Tuer" earned $1.3 million in its second weekend (market cume $5.8 million) and "Cleaver" arrived with $1.1 million. (partialdiff)
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