'Pirates 3' sails to $406.8 mil

Said to be fastest overseas boxoffice tally reached in 12 days

Down by 46% in its second weekend following an all-time opening in the international market of $216 million, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" took in $103 million from 17,500 screens in 102 territories to accumulate a foreign gross of $406.8 million in 12 days.

According to Disney's overseas distributor, Buena Vista International, the third installment in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series, with a 60%-70% market share, was the No. 1 boxoffice performer in all 102 markets in which it is playing. The distributor said the $406.8 million in 12 days represents the fastest that amount has ever been achieved in the international market.

BVI stats mavens also reported that the second weekend's $103 million is the second-highest overseas second weekend ever (behind "The Matrix Reloaded"), and that it's the fifth-biggest film in BVI history, zooming 63% ahead of "Pirates 1's" $354 million total and reaching 63% of "Pirates 2's" ultimate offshore boxoffice of $642 million, the No. 4 all-time international player.

The only new opening for the Disney-Jerry Bruckheimer production was in India, which turned in $2 million from 318 screens, called the third-biggest opening ever in the market for a U.S. film.

Second-weekend takes saw the U.K., off only 18%, add $10.7 million for a market score of $68.1 million; Japan, down 20%, take in $9.6 million for a market cume of $36.2 million; Germany, $9.6 million, off 44%, tally a market cume of $37.8 million; France, $7.6 million, off 54%, for a cume of $30.2 million; Australia, $5.2 million, off 48%, with a market gross of $17.5 million; Korea, $5.2 million, off 53%, for a cume of $26.5 million; Spain, $5.1 million, off 57%, with a cume of $20.1 million, and Mexico, $4.5 million, off 49%, with a total gross of $17 million.

China, the last remaining market for "Pirates 3," is scheduled to open on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the first tentpole of May, Sony Pictures' "Spider-Man 3," hit $526.6 million in its fifth weekend in international release, after a $12.5 million from 8,600 screens in 77 territories, hailed as a 40% drop from the fourth weekend.

Holding the No. 3 position in the U.K. in its fifth weekend, the webslinger registered $1.2 million for a market cume of $65 million. The fifth session in Japan brought in $1.6 million in the No. 3 spot for a cume of $52 million, while France's fifth weekend delivered $1.1 million (No. 5) for a market gross of $51.8 million.

"Spidey 3" has emerged as Sony's biggest film in the global market at $845 million, with the foreign score of $526.6 million catching up to Sony's biggest offshore performer to date, "The Da Vinci Code," at $539.7 million. The first "Spider-Man" took in $417.9 million in the overseas market, followed by No. 2's $410.5 million.

As this year seems to be shaping up as the biggest boxoffice bonanza for the international market, the traditional industry gamesmanship broke out for bragging rights as to whether "Spidey 3" or "Pirates 3" had the best six-day opening in the overseas market. The battle lasted for little more than a day as Sony Pictures Releasing International and BVI decided to call it a day.

The hassle had its origin when Sony called attention to a six-day opening record when it opened "Spidey 3" on a Tuesday in 15 key foreign countries. Not to be outdone, BVI said that "Pirates 3" beat "Spidey 3's" six-day mark when it added Monday's take to the conventional weekend results. Sony cried foul, charging BVI with issuing a seven-day tally by including preview bows in Italy and France and that adding Monday did not constitute a regular opening weekend. Sony then issued the seven-day figures for "Spidey 3." BVI did not respond, letting the matter drop as it issued "Pirates 3's" second-weekend figures.

Warner Bros. Pictures' "Zodiac," about a serial killer who terrorized San Francisco in the 1960s, managed to pull in a respectable $6 million from 1,940 prints in 39 markets (cume: $26.6 million) in spite of the onslaught of "Spidey 3" and "Pirates 3." Germany opened to $810,000 from 150 prints and ranked No. 2 in the weekend standing. Good holds in third weekends in France, the U.K., Spain, Italy and Australia were reported by Warner Bros.

DreamWorks/Paramount's animated "Shrek the Third" opened in four more smaller markets — India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand — and delivered $4.2 million from 796 screens in seven markets for an international cume to date of almost $30 million. "Shrek" flexes its muscles this coming weekend with bows in 14 markets, including Australia and Korea.

"Fracture," New Line International's courtroom drama that sister company Warner Bros. International is handling for several overseas markets, earned $2 million over the weekend from 11 markets, lifting its international cume to $23 million.

Universal's "Mr. Bean's Holiday" advanced to $173.1 million after a $1.4 million weekend from 1,573 screens in 32 countries.

20th Century Fox's sci-fi drama "28 Weeks Later" also came in with $2 million, which came from 1,015 screens in 16 markets and raised the international gross to $16.5 million.

Cume updates: "300," $232.2 million; "The Reaping," $36.7 million; "Music and Lyrics," $94.6 million; "Hot Fuzz," $50 million; "Smokin' Aces," $19.5 million; "Blades of Glory," $16.6 million; "Shooter," $44.5 million; and "The Number 23," $36.7 million.
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