'Wanted': A new boxoffice leader

Film's $32.5 million bow blows competition away

Superheroes, family fare and a bit of comedy combined during the weekend to stir up the overseas summer season, with early estimates indicating that the 2008 prime playing time may be running about 5% ahead of last year's record achievement.

The June pickup, erasing the May blip of "Speed Racer," continued as Universal's "Wanted" -- the latest comic book adaptation -- blasted into the overseas market with $32.5 million from 1,955 playdates in 22 territories, followed by "Kung Fu Panda's" $23.3 million, "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian's" $19.3 million, "Get Smart's" $12.3 million, "The Incredible Hulk's" $11.8 million, "Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull's" $11.7 million, "Sex and the City's" $11.2 million and "The Happening's" $7.4 million.

At the same time, the new Disney/Pixar animated entry, "WALL-E," showed great promise as it teed off in six Latin American countries to begin a staggered global rollout that ends in Japan on Dec. 5.

"Wanted" opened at No. 1 in 18 markets, highlighted by a record-breaking opening in Russia ($11 million from 612 dates), home of director Timar Bekmambetov, known for such Russian action-horror films as "Night Watch" and "Day Watch." The ultra violent adaptation from a series of graphic novels by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones opened to $7.6 million from 412 screens in the U.K. (second to "Prince Caspian's" bow of $8.1 million from 526 screens). No. 1 openings for "Wanted" included Thailand ($1 million from 74 screens), Hong Kong ($951,000 from 37), Singapore ($780,000 from 43), Malaysia ($766,000 from 59), the Philippines ($693,000 from 910), Ukraine ($683,000 from 76), Turkey ($536,000 from 122) and Poland ($487,000 from 67).

"Wanted," which will be released around the world during the next three months, will be confronted this coming weekend by Sony's Will Smith superhero "Hancock," which is set to open in 49 territories, including the U.K., Germany, Australia, Brazil and Korea. "Wanted" will reach Italy this coming weekend, followed the week after by Israel, Portugal and South Africa.

Paramount/DreamWorks' "Kung Fu Panda" topped the $100 million mark, reaching $101.1 million in a little over three sessions of staggered releases in only 14 markets. It hit the top in Australia with a powerful $6.9 million in four days from 269 screens. Taiwan delivered $1.4 million from 62 screens in two days, and New Zealand, $633,095 from 84 in four days. To date, "Panda" has taken in $24.3 million from Korea in a little over three weeks, $13.2 million from Mexico in almost two weeks, and $19.5 million from Russia in three sessions.

Making its first foray into Western Europe, "Prince Caspian" lorded over the U.K. ($8 million from 526 screens) and France ($6.1 million from 863) and lifted its international cume to $161.2 million. The family film will extend its Western Europe run this weekend in Spain, Scandinavia and the Benelux countries, culminating Aug. 21 in Greece, after stopping in Germany on July 31 and Italy on Aug. 14.

Two comedies -- Warner Bros.' "Get Smart" and New Line's "Sex and the City" -- served as strong counterprogrammers against Sunday's European Cup soccer final. According to Warners, the spy spoof starring Steve Carell pulled in higher numbers than projected Sunday, grossing $12.3 million from 2,258 prints in 21 markets for an early cume of $20.5 million.

"Sex and the City" held on to first place in Germany with $1.1 million in its fifth week in release in the market as Germany lost to Spain in the televised championship match. Overall, "Sex" took in $11.2 million from 6,245 screens in 54 markets to reach a cume of $194.3 million.

The cume for "Indiana Jones" rose to $413.3 million as it recorded $11.7 million over the weekend from 4,206 screens in 53 markets. Japan supplied $24.6 million in two weekends.

Universal/Marvel Comics' "The Incredible Hulk" raised its cume to $84.7 million following a $11.8 million weekend from 4,552 screens in 54 markets. Territories under Universal's jurisdiction provided $75.2 million of the cume and $9.4 million came from Australia/New Zealand (via Paramount) and Spain (via Sony).

"Wall-E" took in $3.1 million from six Latin American countries, headed by Brazil's $1.4 million from 337 screens.

More weekend tallies: "The Happening," $7.4 million (cume: $69.9 million); "You Don't Mess With the Zohan," $3.7 million (cume: $19.4 million); and "What Happens in Vegas," $2.1 million (cume: $124.9 million).
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