'Crystal Skull' debuts big at global boxoffice

Estimated haul of $143 mil in 56 territories

Playing on about 12,000 screens in 56 overseas territories, Paramount's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" ruled the international boxoffice during the weekend, with an estimated gross of $143 million.

The fourth edition of Steven Spielberg's "Indiana Jones" series with Harrison Ford began its foreign rollout Wednesday, and by Sunday had compiled the sixth-biggest opening surge internationally.

"Crystal Skull" becomes the 13th film in industry history to have grossed more than $100 million in its overseas debut. Weekend total worldwide is $269 million.

Paramount Pictures International proclaimed "Crystal Skull" its biggest opening weekend in its short history. The prior record holder is Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" with Tom Cruise, which nabbed $102.5 million. (Previous titles in the "Indiana Jones" franchise were handled by United International Pictures, the ex-partnership of Paramount, Universal and MGM.)

"Crystal Skull" finished No. 1 in all major markets.

Opening figures plus screen counts by market: U.K., $21.5 million over four days from 536 screens; France, $14.1 million from 781; Germany, $12.6 million from 841; Spain, $11.7 million from 731; Korea, $10 million from 619; Australia, $9 million from 263; Russia, $8.4 million from 602; Italy, $6.5 million from 625; Brazil, $5.7 million from 257; Mexico, $4.5 million from 426; and Poland, $3.7 million from 80.

The record holder for overseas opening surges -- usually from four- to six-day periods -- remains May 2007's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," which tallied $251.1 million in its opening six days. Sony's "Spider-Man 3" grabbed $230.5 million in 2007, and ranks second on the biggest international hits list.

Warners' "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" (2007) rolled up an opening gross of $193 million, followed by Sony's "The Da Vinci Code" (2006), with $155 million, and Fox's "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" (2005), with $145.5 million.

With the devalued U.S. dollar versus major foreign currencies, "Crystal Skull" will easily overtake the previous international record holder of the "Indiana Jones" franchise, 1989's "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," which grossed $277 million in its foreign run.

The second film, 1984's "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," grossed $153.5 million overseas, and 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark" logged $141.8 million.

A distant No. 2 during the weekend was Disney/Walden Media's "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," which nabbed an estimated $18 million in its second weekend at 3,360 screens in just 13 territories. The 11-day international cume stands at $49.1 million. Worldwide, it has grossed $140.2 million.

An exceptionally strong Japan opening provided "Prince Caspian" an estimated $7.7 million from 320 sites for a $24,063 per-screen average. Mexico came up with $3.1 million from 840 screens for a 10-day market cume of $11.6 million.

In Russia, the "Prince Caspian" tally was $2.4 million from 730 screens for an 11-day cume of $10.9 million.

Disney will open the latest in the "Narnia" series this week in six markets: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Poland, Singapore and Thailand. 2005's "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" grossed $450 million overseas, and "Prince Caspian" looks on track to exceed that tally.

Tied for No. 3 with 20th Century Fox's "What Happens in Vegas" was Marvel Studios' "Iron Man" from Paramount, which grossed $12.5 million from about 6,000 locations for an international cume of $228 million, propelling the global tally to $480.3 million. "Vegas," which also grabbed $12.5 million on the weekend, played 3,800 screens in 56 markets for a cume of $77.8 million.

Fourth was Sony's romantic comedy "Made of Honor," grossing an estimated $3.4 million from 1,745 screens in 25 territories. International total to date is $25.6 million.

No. 5, Warners' "Speed Racer," dropped 58% from its prior weekend to an estimated $3 million from about 3,400 screens in 40 territories. Cume for the Wachowski siblings' adaptation of an animated Japanese television series stands at $29.8 million, with $66 million worldwide.

Sony's gambling-themed "21" won $1.8 million from 1,025 screens in 37 markets for a cume of $49.3 million. Warners' "The Bucket List" starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman came up with $1.2 million from 511 screens in 23 markets for a cume of $75.2 million.

In France, the sole local-language debut of note was director Arnaud Desplechin's "Un Conte de Noel" ("A Christmas Tale") with Catherine Deneuve. The BAC release opened seventh in Paris and suburbs, and looks in for an estimated $500,000 overall from about 300 screens. "Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'tis" in its 13th week finished No. 10 in Paris and suburbs, and grossed $600,000 overall from about 500 screens. The cume for the smash comedy stands at $183 million.

Assorted international cumes: Universal's "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," $23.2 million; New Line's "The Golden Compass," $294 million; Fox's "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears A Who!," $138 million; Summit/Universal's "Nim's Island," $27 million; Fox's "Street Kings," $30.2 million; New Line's "Semi-Pro," $9.7 million; Universal's "Definitely, Maybe," $20.7 million; Fox's "Shutter," $16.5 million; and Focus Features/Universal's "The Other Boleyn Girl," $37 million.