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'Transformers: Dark of the Moon' Dominates Overseas Box Office With $219.8 Million Bow

Transformers: Dark of the Moon exploded on the foreign theatrical circuit over the July 4 weekend, commanding $219.80 million -- nearly $10 million more than estimated on Sunday -- in its resounding No. 1 opening surge at 11,565 overseas locations in 58 territories.

The third installment of director Michael Bay’s noisy, special effects-laden sci-fi adventure series – which has grossed a worldwide total of $1.545 billion thus far – took off like a roman candle overseas after midweek openings in many territories.

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Distributor Paramount International said the film soared to the No. 1 spot in 57 of its opening markets with 70% of the action derived from 3D venues.  Dark of the Moon is Paramount's biggest foreign opening ever, surpassing the $147 million offshore debut of 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Eye-popping debut numbers were logged throughout Asia. In South Korea, the take was $21.2 million from 1,402 situations, the market’s biggest opening ever. In Hong Kong, the per-site average was nearly $35,000 for a $5 million gross, another market opening record. 

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All-time debut highs were also set in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore plus the United Arab Emirates, Peru and Panama. Opening records for a Paramount title were set in Brazil ($5.2 million from 660 situations), India and in Turkey.

Dark of the Moon’s mega-opening ranks as the second biggest of the year overseas after Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which recorded $260.4 million in its first five days at 18,210 screens in more than 100 offshore territories. (Disney said Tides passed the $1 billion worldwide box office mark, grossing $1.008 billion with $774 million of the total coming from the foreign circuit after a $6.9 million weekend.)

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The first two Transformer titles were more popular abroad than in the U.S. and Canada.  2007’s Transformers drew $389.8 million offshore versus $319.2 million domestically.  2009’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen grossed $434.2 million offshore versus $402.1 million domestically, as per Paramount figures.

Dark of the Moon’s opening surge beat by 51% the foreign debut of Revenge of the Fallen. Openings in China and Japan are due later this month.

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Opening offshore day and date with its domestic bow was Summit International’s Larry Crowne, the comedy costarring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, which grossed a mild-mannered $3 million from some 1,220 locations in 10 overseas territories. 

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20th Century Fox’s romantic comedy, Monte Carlo, also entered the foreign fray with an even milder $1.35 million from 362 screens in 11 markets.

Pixar/Disney’s Cars 2, which topped foreign box office last weekend, finished in second place internationally this time, grossing $22.1 million from 19 territories, down by nearly half from the opening session. Foreign cume for director-coscripter John Lasseter’s animation adventure comedy stands at $82.2 million while the worldwide total gross is $198.3 million.

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Disney notes that so far, the Cars sequel has played about 35% of the international market and is outpacing in the same territories such previous Pixar outings as the 2006 Cars original by 123%, 2007’s Ratatouille by 67% and 2009’s Up by 57%. The biggest markets are Mexico (cume $16.4 million), Russia ($15.6 million), Brazil ($11.8 million) and Italy ($10.2 million). Openings in nine markets including Argentina and Spain are on tap this week.

DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda, No. 3 on the weekend, pushed its international gross total to $377.8 million thanks to a $20.1 million round at 9,297 overseas locations in 52 territories. The Paramount release held well in France, drawing $3.4 million at 760 venues for a market cume of $17.5 million.

Fourth was Warner Bros.' The Hangover Part 2, which woke up to $9.6 million elicited from some 4,300 screens in 56 territories. Foreign cume for the highest-grossing R-rate dcomedy ever overseas comes to $301.4 million.

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No. 5  was Sony’s Bad Teacher, starring Cameron Diaz, which nailed $7.27 million from 1,557 screens in 25 markets, for an overseas total take so far of $29.2 million. Universal's romantic comedy Bridesmaids yielded $7.2 million from 1,198 playdates in eight markets, raising its foreign cume to $35.8 million.

Fox’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins starring Jim Carrey opened in five offshore markets (including a No. 5 bow in Australia), grossing $5.76 million overall from 1,607 screens in 21 territories.  Early foreign cume stands at $11.1 million.  Fox’s X-Men: First Class came up with $4.6 million from 4,200 spots in 52 territories for an overseas gross total of $196.9 million.

Super 8, the sci-fi adventures directed by J.J. Abrams, is slowing overseas, grossing $3.9 million on the weekend from 1,623 sites in 28 markets. The film held the No. 1 spot in Japan with a second weekend take of $2.5 million from 523 locations.  

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Cannes Festival top prizewinner Tree of Life tallied $1.1 million from some 960 spots in 21 markets, as per Summit International. A U.K. opening for the Terrence Malick title is on tap this week via Fox. 

Top-grossing local language title in France was UGC Distribution’s L’eleve Ducobu (The Student Ducobu), a comedy about an amiable school dunce, which drew from 471 screens an estimated $2.1 million in its second round, up 10% from the prior weekend. It also played Switzerland and Belgium for an overall weekend take of $2.7 million from 508 screens. Opening No. 4 in the market was another comedy, Pathe’s Les Tuche (The Tuches), about a slacker family that hits the lottery.  Weekend take was an estimated $2.5 million from 429 sites.

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Other international cumes: Warner Bros.’ Green Lantern, $33.2 million; Universal’s Fast Five, $391.9 million; Mars Distribution’s Omar m’a tuer, $2.8 million over two rounds in France only; Universal’s The Adjustment Bureau, $63.9 million; Mars Distribution’s Midnight in Paris, $13.6 million over eight rounds in France only; and Universal’s The Debt, $1.4 million.

Also, Paramount’s Thor, $261.5 million; Focus Features’Beginners, $2 million; Universal’s Senna, $7.7 million from seven markets; Focus Features’ Hanna, $17.5 million; Fox’s 127 Hours, $26.5 million; Focus Features’ Biutiful, $19.6 million; Universal’s Hop, $69.4 million; Fox’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, $17.9 million; Focus Features’ Another Year, $15.3 million; Universal’s Honey 2, $3.1 million from four markets; and Fox’s Black Swan, $221.2 million.