'Wolverine' tops overseas boxoffice

$73 mil international take brings worldwide haul to $160 mil

The first of 2009's summer blockbusters, Fox's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," blanketed the international circuit during the weekend, clawing its way to No. 1 with an estimated $73.1 million from 9,364 screens in 101 markets.

The fourth film in the sci-fi action franchise inspired by the Marvel comics series sucked up virtually all foreign boxoffice oxygen with No. 1 bows almost everywhere. A five-day holiday break in Europe beginning Friday helped promote high weekend attendance.

The "Wolverine" opening is considered especially hearty since the title was leaked online illegally in early April.

Starring and co-produced by Hugh Jackman, "Wolverine" pulled in $9.8 million from 489 screens in the U.K. France produced $6.9 million from 700 situations, and Spain generated $5.3 million from 476 locations.

In Australia, the "Wolverine" take was $5.8 million from 416 screens, and Brazil contributed $5 million from 647 locations. The latest "X-Men" also drew $1.2 million from 103 Malaysia sites, $1.5 million from 61 Singapore locations (Fox's biggest opening weekend ever in the market) and $1.1 million from just 66 screens in Hong Kong.

Combined with its No. 1 day-and-date weekend opening domestically, which generated $87 million, "Wolverine" has grossed $160.1 million worldwide since its first overseas playdates April 29. Its weekend total is easily the year's highest to date. In most markets, the opening launch bested those of the previous "X-Men" titles, Fox said.

The biggest boxoffice earner of the "X-Men" titles internationally is 2006's "X-Men: The Last Stand," which drew $225 million during its overseas run. "X-2: X-Men United," released in 2003, grossed $193 million, and the original, 2000's "X-Men," tallied a foreign total of $139 million.

Fox International delayed "Wolverine's" opening in Mexico because of the swine flu outbreak. It is unclear when the film will play the market that ranked among the 10 biggest for the Hollywood majors in 2009.

The summer action heats up further this weekend, when Paramount launches the latest "Star Trek" on May 8 at about 7,000 screens in 56 territories. (A Mexico premiere for "Star Trek" also has been delayed.)

Second overall was Universal's "Fast & Furious," which had been at No. 1 overseas the previous three stanzas. It bagged $7 million from 5,189 locations in 58 markets in its latest frame, raising its overseas cume to $183 million.

No. 3 was Disney's "Hannah Montana: The Movie," which, appealing largely to teen females, proved an effective counter-programmer to "Wolverine" at a total of 1,050 sites in a dozen markets (eight of them new) with a weekend tally of $6.7 million.

Openings in the U.K. (No. 2 with $2.7 million from 415 locations) and Italy ($2 million at 288 situations) were the most notable for "Hannah Montana." In Norway, the opening per-screen average was $15,689 ($706,000 from 45 locations) while its No. 3 bow in Chile produced more than a $9,000 per screen average ($337,917 from 37 spots). Overseas cume stands at $8.7 million.

At No. 4 was DreamWorks Animation/Paramount's "Monsters vs. Aliens," which grossed $6.1 million from 5,357 sites in 60 markets, hoisting its international gross total past the $150 million mark ($152.1 million). That puts the animation title's worldwide cume at $334.5 million.

Opening in eight territories was the weekend's No. 5 title, New Line's comedy "17 Again," which generated $6 million from 1,850 screens in 25 markets. A No. 3 Spain debut produced $879,081 million from 310 sites. "17 Again's" international cume is $35.7 million.

Working Title Films/Universal's newspaper drama "State of Play" unearthed $4.5 million from 1,376 screens in 14 territories. Its early international total is $12 million; a No. 3 Italy premier delivered $1.2 million from 221 sites.

The best solo-market bow was the South Korea debut of Focus Features/C.J. Entertainment's "Thirst," a horror pic from Korean director Park Chan-wook. Its opening round scared up $4.4 million from 497 situations, good for a 35% market share. Another solo-market debut was New Line's romantic comedy "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" with Matthew McConaughey, which opened in the U.K. simultaneously with its domestic premier, generating $1.5 million from 382 situations.

Summit Int'l.'s "Knowing" with Nicolas Cage boosted its overseas cume to $71.6 million after a $3.1 million weekend at 2,126 screens in 32 territories. Warner Bros.' "Gran Torino" boosted its international cume to $105.3 million thanks to a $2.3 million weekend from 1,600 situations in 44 markets.

Universal's "Duplicity" drew $2.3 million from 975 locations in 34 territories for an overseas cume of $29.4 million. Disney's "Race to Witch Mountain" bagged $2 million from 2,426 screens in 30 territories for a cume of $32.5 million.

"Slumdog Millionaire" moved its overseas gross total to at least $207.8 during the weekend. The best picture Oscar winner finished at No. 3 in Germany with an estimated $682,978 at 432 spots in its seventh stanza for a market cume of $13.6 million. Worldwide, "Slumdog" is pushing the $350 million mark ($348.5 million).

In France, the weekend's top local-language title was "Incognito," director Eric Lavaine's comedy starring French singer-songwriter Benabar (Bruno Nicolini) as a bus ticket collector-turned-rock star. A No. 1 opening frame registered $3.2 million from 459 situations.

Ranking third in the market was another comedy, "OSS: Rio ne respond plus," which pulled $2.4 million in its third stanza from 597 screens for a market cume of $15.9 million. At No. 5 was Warners' release of "Coco Avant Chanel" with Audrey Tautou, which boosted its market total to $5.1 million thanks to a $1.6 million second round at 426 situations.

Other international cumes: Rogue/Relativity/Universal's "The Last House on the Left," $769,000 after 12 days; Fox's "Dragonball: Evolution," $47.4 million; Miramax/Disney's "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas," $31.2 million; Universal's "The Boat That Rocked," $16.5 million; New Line's "He's Just Not That Into You," $68.2 million (vs. $93.3 million domestic); Universal's "Rudo Y Cursi," $10.1 million; Sony's "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," $32.5 million (versus $145.2 million domestic); Universal's "The Tale of Despereaux," $35.4 million; Disney's "Earth," $35.1 million; Focus Features/Universal's "Coraline," $10.1 million; New Line's "Inkheart," $38.5 million (vs. $16.2 million domestic); DreamWorks/Paramount's "I Love You, Man," $7.6 million; and Sony's "The International," $29.9 million.