The overseas reign not over for this ogre

'Shrek' beats newcomers, adds $69.6 mil to till

Despite the trio of fresh summer tentpoles nipping at its heels, "Shrek the Third" dominated the international circuit for the weekend, grossing an estimated $69.6 million from 6,489 screens in 52 markets to push its overseas total to $259 million.

The DreamWorks Animation/Paramount Pictures International release, which began a graduated international rollout May 17, hit full stride by recording its biggest weekend yet, grossing $4.2 million more than its two closest competitors combined. It is the No. 1 overseas attraction for the third consecutive weekend.

"Shrek" bowed in seven markets, including the key international territories of the U.K. -- where it finished No. 1 in the market with an estimated $31 million (including $12.7 million generated by previews) from 537 screens -- and Japan, where it tallied $2.8 million from 542 spots. The results are 5% ahead of the comparable figures for "Shrek 2" in the U.K. and 42% ahead in Japan. "Shrek 2" grossed $478 million overseas.

Finished second overall for the weekend was "Transformers," also from Paramount, which grossed an estimated $34.7 million from just 2,261 screens in 10 markets, mostly in Asia.

Directed by Michael Bay, the saga of robotic clans at war -- opening a week before its domestic release -- scored huge opening tallies in Korea ($12.4 million from 549 sites), Australia ($6.7 million from 240 spots), Italy ($3.6 million from 541 screens) and Taiwan ($3 million from 65 screens for a rousing $46,154 per-screen average).

"While 'Transformers' is lower on the opening four days than 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End' and 'Spider-Man 3,' they are sequels, (whereas) we have an original film," PPI president Andrew Cripps said. "Given that, we think its performance is excellent."

Paul Hanneman, co-president of 20th Century Fox International, also was pleased by the opening numbers for the weekend's No. 3 title, "Die Hard 4" (known as "Live Free or Die Hard" in the U.S.). The Bruce Willis action sequel bowed overseas to an estimated $30.7 million from 3,583 screens in 35 territories.

Hanneman was particularly enthusiastic about "phenomenal" No. 1 bows in Japan (where it was the fourth-biggest Fox opener), Russia, Sweden, Finland and Austria. Worldwide, "Die Hard 4" has grossed about $78.9 million.

Buena Vista International, which releases Disney product, introduced "Ratatouille" in six territories -- Russia, Ukraine, Colombia, Panama, Chile and Ecuador -- for an estimated $4.7 million from about 520 screens. In Russia, the Pixar/Disney title drew an estimated $3.3 million from 350 screens, the biggest market bow for a Disney animation film. "Ratatouille's" early worldwide cume stands at $51.9 million.

The weekend's No. 4 title, Fox's "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," grossed an estimated $15.2 million from 6,214 screens in 49 markets. Its overseas cume is $81.2 million; worldwide, it is $196 million.

At No. 5 is Warner Bros. International's "Ocean's Thirteen," which drew a $14.5 million gross estimate from about 5,700 screens in 51 markets. The star-laden crime caper bowed at No. 3 in Mexico with an estimated $1.8 million from 500 sites.

BVI's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" continued durably in its sixth weekend overseas, grossing an estimated $14.1 million from 8,779 screens in 104 territories. Its international total stands at $608.9 million (more than double the domestic total), making it the No. 6 overseas grosser ever. Its international total is $33 million behind last year's "Dead Man's Chest."

"At World's End's" worldwide total comes in at $904.7 million, ranking it No. 9 all-time worldwide. BVI expects the film this week to surpass 1993's "Jurassic Park" ($914.7 million worldwide gross) for the No. 8 spot on the all-time list. It already has topped Sony's "Spider-Man 3" ($882.6 million) as the year's most popular film globally.

The worldwide gross total for the three titles in the "Pirates" series stands at $2.6 billion.

"Hostel: Part II," which Sony Pictures Releasing International is handling for producer Lionsgate, grossed an estimated $2.2 million on the weekend from 1,191 screens in 15 markets. The horror sequel bowed in the U.K., where it placed fourth with an estimated $1.3 million from 250 locations.

"Spider-Man 3" pulled in estimated $1 million for the weekend, pushing its overseas gross total to $548.9 million. That qualifies it as the No. 10 all-time grosser internationally, ahead of New Line/Warner Bros.' "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," which recorded an overseas tally of $547.1 million in 2001.

Universal's "Evan Almighty" extracted an estimated $900,000 from 399 locations in Russia and Ukraine, pushing its 11-day overseas gross to $3.6 million. Thanks to robust domestic action, the Steve Carell comedy has a worldwide cume of $64.2 million.

Other overseas cume updates: Universal's "Hot Fuzz," $53.2 million; WBI's "Zodiac," $43.8 million (thanks to a $1.2 million weekend from 1,400 screens in 43 markets); Universal's "Mr. Bean's Holiday," $184.3 million; and WBI's "300," $244 million.
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