'Sex' still hot worldwide, takes in $44 million

12:12 PM PST 06/06/2010 by Frank Segers, AP

Sassy sequel bumps 'Persia' from No. 1; 'Shrek' is No. 4

Hot-blooded openings in 33 markets, including first-place showings in France and Australia, propelled Warner Bros./New Line's "Sex and the City 2" to the No. 1 spot on the foreign circuit on the weekend.

The sequel to 2008's original based on the long-running HBO TV series collected a lusty $44 million -- $1 million less than Sunday's projection -- from a total of 7,930 screens in 50 territories.

After two frames on the foreign circuit, "Sex and the City 2" has generated a foreign gross total of $89 million, beating its domestic cume by nearly $16 million.

Top opening market was Australia, where "Sex 2" took more than 65% of the boxoffice total generated by the market's top five titles. Down Under tally was $7.3 million (including previews) from 562 sites, for a per-screen average of $12,989.

In France, "Sex 2" pulled $4.45 million from 526 situations. Russia contributed $3.5 million from 659 screens while Japan provided $2.9 million from 401 locations.

Biggest holdover was Germany where the No. 1 market tally was $3.38 million from 881 spots for a cume of $14 million. A strong second stanza in the U.K. provided "Sex 2" a No. 1 ranking with $3.58 million from 531 locations for a market cume of $19.8 million.

Slipping to No. 2 on the weekend was the prior weekend's top title, Disney's "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time," which dropped nearly 40% from the prior weekend, bagging $37.6 million from 10,121 situations in 49 markets.

Overseas gross total stands at $156.4 million over three rounds versus the sword-and-sandals epic's domestic cume of $59.6 million over two rounds.

The Jerry Bruckheimer production directed by Mike Newell and costarring Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton opened strongly in Brazil ($3.6 million from 329 locations) and maintained its torrid pace in sophomore stanzas in Russia ($5.5 million from 556 spots, cume $17.9 million), in China (No. 1 with $4.4 million collected from 1,250 situations, cume $14.8 million) and in Mexico ($2.66 million from 476 locations, cume of $8.6 million).

Newcomers to the foreign circuit include Universal's "Get Him to the Greek," the latest from producer Judd Apatow, which opened No. 2 domestically. Directed by Nicholas Stoller and costarring Jonah Hill and Russell Brand, the comedy about getting a rock star from London to an L.A. concert date in 72 hours opened in Russia and Iceland for a combined $760,000 from 258 sites for a nearly $3,000 per-screen average.

"Marmaduke," from 20th Century Fox, premiered in 13 markets on the weekend, and collected overall $3.49 million from1,495 screens in 17 territories. The live action adaptation of the single-panel newspaper cartoon about an unruly Great Dane, which opened offshore a week before its domestic bow, has collected a foreign gross total so far of $5.1 million.

Sony played the Screen Gems production of "Death at a Funeral" in seven markets for $1.2 million from 289 screens, for an overseas gross total of $1.6 million. Director Neil LaBute's comedy starring Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence and Zoe Saldana premiered No. 4 in the U.K. with $1 million drawn from 255 sites.

The soft boxoffice weekend overall belies the fact that grosses generally on the foreign circuit in 2010 have been dynamite so far for the Hollywood majors, a record total of $5.7 billion in the January-May period, an increase of 64% from 2009's comparable figure.

Whereas domestic boxoffice hit the wall in the month of May, dipping 11% from a year ago, foreign boxoffice for the six majors spurted to $929.5 million, up 16% from May of 2009's tally of $780.3 million.

Twentieth Century Fox, the first studio this year to push past the $1 billion overseas boxoffice mark on Jan. 30, is expected within a fortnight to sprint the $2 billion mark. Director James Cameron's "Avatar" in 3D alone has collected more than $1.985 billion in foreign boxoffice.

Warner Bros. International said on May 24 that its roster -- notably "Sherlock Holmes" and "Clash of the Titans" in 3D -- generated more than $1 billion in foreign boxoffice. Disney, on the strength of director Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" in 3D, flew past the $1 billion milestone a week ago.

Despite headwinds from a month's worth of World Cup distractions, which commence Friday, and a strengthening U.S. greenback against the Euro -- never good for film exporters repatriating in dollars -- the first four months of 2010 point to yet another record boxoffice year overseas for the six major Hollywood studios.

Fox will challenge the World Cup -- the world's most-watched sporting event -- by opening its male-oriented action tentpole "The A-Team" this coming weekend in 34 territories, including Australia, Brazil, Holland, Mexico, Russia, Korea, Sweden and Taiwan.

Third on the weekend was Universal's "Robin Hood," which continues to chug along as it enters its fourth round on the foreign circuit, drawing $9 million on the weekend from 6,500 screens in 59 markets. Director Ridley Scott's adventure costarring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchette opened No. 1 in Venezuela and ranked in the top five in most holdover markets. Foreign gross total stands at $172 million.

No. 4 was DreamWorks Animation's "Shrek Forever After " in 3D, which claimed $7.5 million from 1,770 sites in 19 territories. International cume stands at $67.1 million. The latest animation of the Shrek series drew $4.5 million from 860 spots in its third Russian round, for a market cume of $46.1 million. Paramount is releasing overseas.

Fifth was another title from DreamWorks Animation, "How to Train Your Dragon," which hoisted its overseas gross total to $254 million thanks to a $4.3 million weekend at 3,449 situations in 34 territories. In its third Korea round, the Paramount release held at No. 2 with $2.58 million drawn from 428 spots for a market cume of $16.8 million.

Opening No. 2 in Germany was "StreetDance 3D," the U.K. Film Council/BBC Films co-production starring Charlotte Rampling and U.K. dance acts Diversity, George Sampson and Flawless. Debut weekend generated $1.6 million over four days.

Being handled by various territorial distributors, "StreetDance 3D" drew a total of $3.8 million on the weekend from 879 screens in Germany, Australia, Austria and the U.K., where the dance title held the No. 2 spot in its third round with $1.66 million from 408 sites for a market cume of $13 million.

No. 1 in South Korea was CJ Entertainment's release of "The Servant," a period comedy based on a folktale about a comely woman who courts a nobleman but secretly prefers his servant. Opening weekend drew $3.7 million from 586 situations.

Disney's "Alice in Wonderland" in 3D drew $3.1 million on the weekend from 1,685 locations in 23 markets for an overseas cume of $680 million (No. 5 foreign all-time; worldwide cume is $1.013 billion).

Marvel Entertainment's "Iron Man 2," also distributed by Paramount in most markets, registered $3 million, raising its overall cume to $288.4 million, of which $279.2 came from the 47 territories handled by Paramount.

Opening No. 1 in Japan was Toho's Release of "Kokuhaku" ("Confessions"), director Tetsuya Nakashima's drama about a middle school teacher avenging the murder of her four-year-old daughter. Debut weekend at 266 locations generated $2.9 million.

Warner's "A Nightmare on Elm Street" drew $2.4 million on the weekend from 1,750 screens in 43 markets, boosting its overseas gross total to $38.4 million. Top market for the horror perennial was Russia where "Nightmare" has accumulated $5.8 million thus far.

Biggest newcomer in France, ranking No. 3 in the market, was Studio Canal's release of "Le tete en friche" ("Head in the Wasteland"), directed and co-scripted by Jean Becker and costarring Gerard Depardieu and Gisele Casadesus. The drama about a Forrest Gump-like illiterate and a learned older woman drew an estimated $2.4 million from 426 screens.

MK2's release of director Abbas Kiarostami's "Copie Conforme" ("Certified Copy") starring Juliette Binoche (who won a best actress award at Cannes for her role) has grossed $1.66 million over three stanzas of limited playdates in France. It ranked the market's No. 10 title on the weekend.

Other international cumes: Sony's "The Back-Up Plan," $28.1 million; Warner Bros.' "Clash of the Titans" in 3D, $325.2 million; Fox's "Date Night," $53 million; Universal's "Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang," $56.8 million; Lionsgate/Universal's "Kick-Ass," $26.5 million (Universal territories only); Focus Features/Universal's "A Serious Man," $21.9 million; Disney's "The Last Song," $23.9 million; Paramount's "The Kings of Mykonos: Wog Boy 2," $3.5 million in Australia only; and Focus Features' "Love Happens," $12.8 million.

Also, Sony's "Legion," $26 million; Pathe's "Camping 2," $34.8 million over seven rounds in France only; Fox's "Tooth Fairy," $50.9 million; Studio Canal's "L'amour c'est mieux a deux," $9 million in five frames in France only; Sony's "The Bounty Hunter," $68.7 million; Universal's "Green Zone," $61.2 million; DreamWorks/Paramount's "She's Out of My League," $12 million; Universal's "L'anarcoeur" ("Heartbreaker"), $27.1 million over a dozen stanzas in France only; and "Shutter Island, $126 million (Paramount titles only).
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