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Men In Black III, the second sequel in Sony’s billion-dollar sci-fi franchise, took over the foreign theatrical circuit on the weekend, opening at 23,215 venues in 85 territories, grossing $135.3 million — $3.3 million more than Sunday’s projection — and firmly shoving aside The Avengers as the No. 1 film overseas. .
Costarring Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin, director Barry Sonnenfeld’s special effects extravaganza in 3D premiered No. 1 in most markets played with China leading the list with $21.7 million drawn from 6,900 situations. Russia comes in second with $18.2 million swept from 1,549 sites.
In all, said Sony, Men In Black III grossed more than $52.2 million in Asia. China action was the market’s second biggest opening of 2012, and the seventh biggest opening weekend ever for a Hollywood film, beating the recent China bows of The Avengers and Battleship.
Japan via Toho ($7.2 million at 1,960 venues) and South Korea ($8.1 million at 874 spots) were strong but the No. 1 grosses in European markets were inhibited by unseasonably warm weather presenting competing distractions for prospective cinemagoers. In the U.K., the take was $4.6 million at 532 locations while France kicked in $6.1 million drawn from 782 situations.
IMAX screens playing Men In Black III drew $6.1 million from 195 screens through Monday, said IMAX senior v.p. of worldwide distribution, Phil Groves. IMAX’s international cume is expected to be $7 million.
The film’s overseas debut is the second highest of 2012, after the $185.1 million posted by The Avengers on the weekend of April 29.
The first two titles in the Men In Black series received better receptions offshore than in the U.S. and Canada, rolling up a total of $590.1 million foreign versus $441.1 million domestic. 1997’s Men in Black grossed $338.7 million offshore versus $250.7 million in the U.S. and Canada while 2002’s Men in Black II compiled $251.4 million foreign, $190.4 million domestic.
Ranking No. 2 after four consecutive weekends as the offshore box office champ was Marvel’s The Avengers, distributed by Disney, which drew $24.6 million on the weekend from playdates in 54 territories, hoisting the foreign gross for the action-packed mélange of comic book heroes to $781.6 million through Sunday and $784.8 million through Monday.
Disney said the film is now No. 4 on the list of all-time foreign box office hits following last year’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which grossed $771 million overseas.
The weekend’s third-ranked title was Warner Bros.’ Dark Shadows, which grossed $12.2 million at 5,100 screens in 53 markets. International cume to date exceeds the $100-million mark ($106.2 million).
Director Tim Burton’s big screen version starring Johnny Depp of a vintage tv soap opera remains especially popular in Japan where it snared $3.1 million from 572 screens in its second market round, down just 38% from the opener. The market cume is $12.9 million.
Finishing No. 4 on the weekend was Paramount’s release of the Sacha Baron Cohen comedy The Dictator, which dropped more than 53% from its opening round, amassing $10.4 million at 3,057 locations in 29 markets. Overseas cume stands at $49.1 million.
A No. 2 second stanza in Australia dropped 48% to $2.5 million at 344 spots, lifting the market cume to $9.9 million. The Dictator was also No. 2 in the U.K., dropping 66% from its opener to $1.75 million drawn from 507 locations. Market cume there is $12.3 million.
Opening No. 4 in the U.K. was Lionsgate’s What To Expect When You’re Expecting, a comedy starring Cameron Diaz about multiple families facing childbirth. Debut weekend at some 415 screens drew $1 million. The film opened a week ago, and played 763 in 13 markets on the weekend, grossing $1.8 million for a foreign cume of $2.93 million thus far.
The commercial spillover of main competition films at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival began in earnest on the weekend.
Universal/Focus Features opened director Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom costarring Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Edward Norton andBruce Willis in the U.K. where it ranked No. 7 in the market with an estimated take of $394,740 at 163 screens. The film played at a total of $570 screens in six markets (including the U.K.), drawing $1.2 million for a foreign cume so far of $2.9 million.
Dropping about 60% in its second round in in France was UGC’s release of director Jacques Audiard’s Un gout de rouille et d’os (Rust & Bone). The drama about an ex-boxer (Matthias Schoenaerts) who takes up with a trainer of killer whales (Marion Cotillard) drew $2.1 million at 461 playdates, lifting its market cume to $6.1 million. In three markets including France, the weekend generated $2.2 million from 497 sites for an international cume of $8.05 million.
Opening No. 7 in France via MK2 Diffusion was On the Road, director Walter Salles’ film version of the Jack Kerouac novel. Opener at 357 screens drew $949,732. In the U.K., Entertainment One debuts this week director Ken Loach’s social realist fairy tale, The Angels Share.
Universal’s American Pie: Reunion moved its total foreign gross to $165.6 million after the raunchy comedy sequel’s $3.4 million weekend at 3,504 situations in 50 territories. It ranks No. 5 on the weekend overall.
Universal’s sci-fi/action spectacular Battleship has grossed $232.4 million overseas following a $2.6 million weekend at 5,800 playdates in 63 territories.
Warner’s The Lucky One, a romantic melodrama starring Zac Effron, grossed $1.8 million on the weekend at 1,700 screens in 29 markets, lifting its overseas cume to $29.3 million.
Other International cumes:Fox’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, $81 million; Universal’s Hanni & Nanni 2, $2.1 million in three German-speaking markets; Fox’s The Descendants, $93 million; Universal’s Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, $95.6 million; Pathe’s Le Prenom, $20.3 million in France only; Fox’s Chronicle, $62.2 million; Universal’s The Five-Year Engagement, $7.2 million; and Fox’s Titanic 3D, $286 million.
Coming this week: Universal opens period action-fantasy title Snow White and the Huntsman in 45 territories including U.K., Germany, Spain, Brazil, Mexico and Korea. Paramount opens director Martin Scorsese’s Hugo in China.
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