'Wolverine' wave top for year o'seas

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The first of 2009's summer blockbusters, Fox's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," blanketed the international circuit during the weekend, clawing its way to No. 1 with an estimated $73 million from 9,234 screens in 101 markets.

The fourth film in the sci-fi action franchise inspired by the Marvel comics series sucked up virtually all foreign boxoffice oxygen with No. 1 bows almost everywhere. A five-day holiday break in Europe beginning Friday helped promote high weekend attendance.

The "Wolverine" opening is considered especially hearty because the title was leaked online illegally in early April.

Starring and co-produced by Hugh Jackman, "Wolverine" pulled in $9.8 million from 489 screens in the U.K. France produced $7.4 million from 700 situations, and Spain generated $5.5 million from 475 locations.

In Australia, the "Wolverine" take was $5.7 million from 413 screens, and Brazil contributed $4.8 million from 638 locations. The latest "X-Men" also drew $1.2 million from 103 Malaysia sites,$1.6 million from 61 Singapore locations and $1.1 million from 66 screens in Hong Kong.

Combined with its No. 1 day-and-date weekend opening domestically, which generated $87 million, "Wolverine" has grossed $160 million worldwide since its first overseas playdates Wednesday.

Its weekend total is easily the year's highest to date. In most markets, the opening bested those of the previous "X-Men" titles, Fox said.
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