Heat? No sweat for 'Dark Knight'
EmptySizzling weather in Europe might have slowed down the overall inter-national boxoffice a bit, but it was hardly noticeable for "The Dark Knight," which lorded over the market with a stunning $67.7 million in its second overseas session.
The Caped Crusader added 31 markets for a total of 51, outperforming such blockbusters as "Iron Man," "Hancock," "Spider-Man" and "Spider-Man 3" at the original time of release in the same number of territories, according to Warner Bros. International.
Warners also said that the film is doing outstanding business at Imax theaters, setting opening-weekend records in the U.K., Holland, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, with a gross-to-date of $2.8 million from 28 Imax screens. Altogether, the sixth of the studio's Batman films reached a foreign cume of $126.3 million, with such markets as South Korea, Japan, Spain, France and Germany still on tap for August.
Lagging fan interest and the heat might have played a role in the lackluster reception for the second "X-Files" movie. "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" entered the summer fray with $8.9 million from 2,595 screens in 22 countries. The Chris Carter-directed film pulled in just $2.4 million from 553 screens in Russia, $1.3 million from 401 in Spain, $1.1 million from Germany and $920,908 from Australia.
Following the wide entry of "X-Files," the overseas market is getting ready to receive another franchise, "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor," which foreign fans will greet this weekend in 28 countries, including Spain, Russia, Korea, Mexico, Brazil and India.
Meanwhile, the strong entries of summer keep rolling along. The Will Smith superhero movie "Hancock" relinquished first place in its fourth international weekend but came in second to "Dark Knight," hoisting its cume to $295.3 million with $19.9 million from 7,515 screens in 71 markets. Openings still to come include Japan, Italy and Greece.
The feel-good musical of the season, Universal's "Mamma Mia!" racked up another $16 million from 2,270 sites in 21 markets, lifting its international gross to $109.8 million. Germany held at No.1 for a second round with $2.9 million from 610 screens for an 11-day total of $11.3 million. The 17-day total in the U.K., meanwhile, stands at $49.2 million, with another 35 territories scheduled for the next three months.
DreamWorks/Paramount's "Kung Fu Panda" reached an eye-opening $301.8 million as the animated family film registered $14.3 million from 5,373 screens in 41 countries. "Panda" has taken $30.7 million in three weeks in the U.K.; $24.1 million in four in Australia; $28.4 million in seven in Korea; $21.6 million in five in Mexico; $20.6 million in six in Russia; $18.7 million in three in Germany; and $17.4 million in 20 days in France.
Disney/Pixar's "WALL-E" registered another $9 million as part of a gradual rollout that winds up in December in Japan. The critically acclaimed movie reached a cume of $70.1 million as it played on 2,607 screens in 21 countries. Market cumes to date include $17.8 million in 10 days in the U.K., $15.4 million in four weekends in Mexico and $11.1 million in four in Russia.
New Line/Walden Media's 3-D offering "Journey to the Center of Earth" dug up $6.3 million from 1,919 screens in 14 markets, hois-ting its cume to $22.6 million.
The comic book adaptations also kept rolling along. "Wanted" moved up to $105.4 million after a $6.2 million weekend; "The Incredible Hulk" reached $108.6 million after taking $4.4 million; and "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" hit $21.6 million after $3.2 million weekend in 10 markets.
Disney's family-friendly "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" signed in at an impressive $237.2 million, after a weekend take of $3 million from 2,931 screens in 32 countries.
M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening" delivered $2.8 million from 313 screens in Japan, arriving No. 3 behind two local animated films: "Ponyo on the Cliff," the latest offering from anime legend Hayao Miyazaki, and "Pikachu the Movie 2008."
The Steve Carell comedy "Get Smart" pulled in another $5.2 million to raise its cume to $65 million.
Cume updates: "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," $455.3 million; "Sex and the City," $232.8 million. (partialdiff)