'Happening' tops overseas boxoffice

'The Incredible Hulk' finishes second for the weekend

Overcoming mixed overseas reviews and the European soccer championships, "The Happening" edged "The Incredible Hulk" as the weekend's No. 1 title internationally, grossing an estimated $32 million from 5,714 screens in 88 markets.

Although the latest theatrical incarnation of the Marvel Comics superhero finished second in total gross dollars -- "The Incredible Hulk" grossed an estimated $31 million from 3,165 sites in just 38 markets -- it racked up close to double the $5,600 per-screen average of director M. Night Shyamalan's apocalyptic thriller, which began its overseas rollout Wednesday.

Still, "Happening's" distributor, Fox, is pleased. "We were in 88 countries, we were up against 'Hulk' in eight of the top 16 markets and we had the European soccer championships," said Paul Hanneman, co-president of Fox International Theatrical, "and still we had some really good numbers coming out most of these markets."

Despite what Hanneman described as "mixed to difficult" foreign reviews, "Happening" opened at No. 1 in France, Spain, Italy, Venezuela, Chile and Ecuador. France showed the most interest, leading the pack with an estimated $4.7 million from 550 situations. The title, co-starring Mark Wahlberg, finished at No. 3 in the U.K., grossing $3.4 million from 389 screens, while Spain contributed $3.8 million from the same number of situations.

Released by Universal International in all but five of its 38 territories, "Incredible Hulk" is "off to a very, very good start," said Duncan Clark, Universal's exec vp for Universal Pictures International. The company expects the title to easily exceed the $113 million recorded overseas by 2003's "The Hulk," directed by Ang Lee.

"Incredible Hulk" grossed $28.8 million from Universal territories, $2.2 million from Australia and New Zealand, territories handled by other distributors. Opening tallies include $6.3 million in the U.K., $4.6 million in Mexico (where it was the biggest Universal opening ever), $3.7 million in Russia, $3.3 million in Korea and $2 million in Brazil.

Worldwide, "Happening" in its opening weekend scored $62.5 million while on the same basis "Incredible Hulk" rolled up $85.5 million.

Last weekend's No. 1 title, New Line's "Sex and the City," finished third this stanza, opening in four smaller markets and registering $23.3 overall from 5,597 screens in 45 territories, for an international cume to date of $136 million.

Finishing fourth was Paramount's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," which grabbed an estimated $18.5 million from 7,193 spots in 61 territories, lifting its international cume to 357.5 million and its worldwide total to $632.8 million.

No. 5 is DreamWorks/Paramount's animation offering, "Kung Fu Panda," which opened in six markets and scored an estimated $14 million overall from 1,721 screens in just 15 markets. Its overseas cume so far is $41.5 million, raising the global tally to $159.5 million.

Disney's "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," which won't begin playing Western Europe until the completion of the soccer championships late this month, grossed $11.2 million on the weekend from 4,600 screens in 30 markets for an overseas cume of $123 million. Its global tally stands at $255 million.

Fox's "What Happens In Vegas" pushed its international cume to $114 million thanks to a $3.1 million weekend from 2,000 screens in 51 markets. Sony's romantic comedy, "Made of Honor" tallied an estimated $3 million from 1,500 screens in 32 markets, lifting its overseas cumulative total to $39.2 million.