'Iron Man' laps 'Speed Racer' overseas

Marvel pic takes in $39 mil from 57 markets

Some sharp curves slowed down the second lap of the overseas summer season, as "Speed Racer" failed to catch up to front-runner "Iron Man," which led the race for a second weekend with an estimated $39 million from 7,760 screens in 57 territories to raise its international gross to about $165 million.

"Speed Racer," the Wachowski brothers' live-action adaptation of a Japanese animated TV series, pulled in $12.6 million from 3,940 sites at 30 tracks and failed to gain sufficient speed to hold off romantic-comedy counterprogramr "What Happens in Vegas," which moved behind "Iron Man" with a neat $24.2 million from 4,113 locations in 36 markets.

Paramount's "Iron Man" showed a decline of an estimated 60%, considered a standard drop for a mass-released action entry. In the U.K., the Robert Downey Jr. starrer held the No. 1 post for a second weekend with $3.9 million from 499 screens for a market cume of $19.9 million, off 64%. Korea dipped only 33%, registering $4.5 million from 469 screens for a six-day total of $17.3 million. Mexico, despite a 72% slide, picked up another $1.8 million from 385 screens for a market gross of $14.1 million; Italy, off 63%, earned $1.6 million for a market total of $7.9 million; Australia, off 45%, delivered $3.2 million from 231 screens for a market tally of $10.7 million; and Brazil, off 62%, came through with $1.7 million from 325 for a market score of $8.6 million.

Some boxoffice analysts feel that "Speed Racer" has crashed. In the U.K., the Warner Bros./Roadshow production could do no better than fourth place with a meek $714,000 from 381 screens. In Italy, the auto racing movie also finished fourth with $411,000 from 422 screens, and it landed third in Spain with $575,000 from 430. More encouraging was a No. 1 opening in Korea ($2.5 million from 229 screens); Mexico (No. 2, $2 million from 507); and Brazil (No. 2, $1.3 million from 545). Openings still to come include Russia (May 29), Australia (June 12) and Japan (July 5).

20th Century Fox's "What Happens in Vegas" may have delivered a sign that a romantic comedy can travel overseas in the face of big-budget action blockbusters. The Tom Vaughan-directed film had 18 No. 1 bows out of 36 openings, according to Fox. Leading scorers included Spain, $3.8 million from 398 screens; the U.K., $2.5 million from 398; Australia, $2.3 million from 335; France, $2.3 million from 304; Germany, $1.8 million from 508; and Russia, $3.7 million from 476. Territories where it had a No. 1 opening were Holland, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Egypt.

The previous week's romantic comedy competitor, Sony's "Made of Honor," stayed in the race with $3.2 million from 1,311 screens in 19 markets, lifting its international cume to $12.4 million. It held the No. 3 spot in Australia in its second weekend, tallying $890,000 from 255 screens.

More weekend tallies: "21," $2.2 million from 1,300 screens (cume: $41.5 million); "The Bucket List," $2.2 million from 684 (cume: $68.9 million); "Fool's Gold," $1.5 million from 1,282 (cume: $35.5 million); "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," $1.4 million from 662 (cume: $19.5 million); "Street Kings," $1.4 million from 1,228 (cume: $27.8 million); and "Nim's Island," $1.3 million from 1,572 (cume: $22.6 million).

Cume updates: "10,000 BC," $171.7 million; "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!", $137.7 million; "Meet the Spartans," $45.5 million; "27 Dresses," $77.8 million; "Shutter," $14.4 million; "Cloverfield," $89.5 million; "The Spiderwick Chronicles," $88.3 million; "No Country for Old Men," $88.5 million; "Charlie Wilson's War," $47 million; "The Other Boleyn Girl," $32.4 million; and "Atonement," $73.5 million.