Powerful opening launches in a handful of key overseas markets on the Memorial Day weekend propelled Disney's "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" to the No. 1 spot on the foreign theatrical circuit.
According to updated weekend figures Monday from the distributor, the swords-and-sandals-style spectacular based on Jordan Mechner's video game franchise drew $61.7 million -- $2.7 million more than previously estimated -- from 9.712 screens in 48 territories for an early international cume of $97.7 million through Monday.
Taking second place on the weekend was Warner Bros./New Line's "Sex and the City 2," which opened on the foreign circuit with $28 million drawn from 3,705 screens in 17 markets. Overseas gross total is $31.8 million through Monday.
In "Prince of Persia's" second round on the foreign circuit -- it just opened to $30.2 million domestically, or $37.8 million when taking into account the four-day holiday weekend -- the Jerry Bruckheimer production finished No. 1 in at least 40 of its 47 markets and helped drive Disney's 2010 foreign boxoffice revenues past the $1 billion mark for the 16th consecutive year.
It was the fastest that Disney has ever reached that benchmark. The studio joins Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox in 2010's $1 billion foreign boxoffice club, confirming that this year on the overseas circuit is exceptionally strong.
Directed by Mike Newell and costarring Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton and Ben Kingsley, "Prince of Persia" drew $9.7 million in its Russian launch, duking it out for the top market spot with Paramount's "Shrek Forever After" in 3D. In China, "Prince of Persia" took the top spot with $8.1 million while France contributed a No. 1 market ranking and $6.5 million from 652 locations.
India made the difference in the higher "Prince of Persia" weekend update, delivering $3.3 million from 656 screens, $2 million more than earlier projected.
"This stands as the biggest (all-time) opening weekend for any Disney film in India, and the best for any Western production (in the market) during calendar 2010," said the studio. Other No. 1 bows for "Prince of Persia" were Korea ($4.4 million from 616 locations or about 40% of overall market boxoffice), Mexico ($3.9 million from 476 locations, beating the combined results for the No. 2 through No. 10 titles) and Australia ($2.96 million from 299 locations).
"Sex and the City 2," the sequel to 2008's original based on the long-running HBO TV series, drew best in the U.K., opening No. 1 in the market with $8.9 million drawn from 530 locales, with the Friday through Sunday tally beating the original's market opening by more than 20%..Other big markets for "Sex 2" included Germany, which came up with a No. 1 ranking and $7.7 million over four days due from 736 screens, 23% ahead of the original's market opening. A first place finish in Austria provided another $1 million over five days from just 88 screens.
2008's "Sex and the City" grossed a total of $263.4 million on the foreign circuit.
No. 3 on the weekend was DreamWorks Animation's "Shrek Forever After" in 3D, which opened in six markets including Turkey (No. 1 with $853,000 drawn from 215 locations). Overall weekend tally was $18.4 million from 2,039 venues in 15 territories.
Biggest market was Russia where, as per distributor Paramount, the gross was $12.2 million from 700 spots, the biggest opening of the "Shrek" series in the market. The 11-day overseas cume stands at $53.5 million.
Fourth was Universal's "Robin Hood," drawing $17.7 million from 7,095 situations in 56 markets, pushing its international gross total to $154.6 million. With no new openings, the Russell Crowe-Cate Blanchette vehicle directed by Ridley Scott did best in the U.K. with $2.2 million elicited from 486 spots for a 17-day market cume of $17 million.
No. 5 was Marvel Entertainment's "Iron Man 2" with a weekend gross of $6.8 million of which all but $300,000 came from the 7,284 sites in 55 markets that Paramount is handling the Robert Downey Jr.-Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle. Overseas cume through Monday from all distributors is $274 million .
Overseas cume for Dreamworks Animation's "How to Train Your Dragon," distributed by Paramount, stands at $244.6 million due to a $6.5 million weekend at 3,835 spots in 41 markets. A Japan bow is due in early August.
Having grossed $1.005 billion worldwide, Disney's "Alice in Wonderland" in 3D is now the fifth biggest-grossing film of all time. International tally so far is $674 million thanks to a $5.1 million weekend from 2,129 venues in 27 markets for the Tim Burton rendering of the Lewis Carroll classic. "Alice" remains after seven rounds No. 1 in Japan, recording a $3.3 million weekend there from 794 sites for a market cume of $117.6 million.
Warner's "A Nightmare on Elm Street" scared up $4.1 million on the weekend from 2,200 screens in 41 markets for an international cume of $34.8 million. The same distributor's "Clash of the Titans" in 3D drew $3.5 million from 2,550 sites in 50 territories for an overseas gross total of $321 million through Monday.
Most of the action came from Brazil where "Titans" was No. 1 for a second round, eliciting $2.7 million from 438 locations for a market cume of $8.8 million.
Buoyed by a No. 2 opening in Spain, Sony's "The Back-Up Plan," the CBS Films-produced romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez, drew a weekend total of $2.5 million in more than 1,171 screens in 32 markets for an overseas cume of $25.8 million. A No. 5 finish in its second France weekend came up with $1 million from 280 screens for a market cume of $2.8 million.
Opening No. 2 in Mexico ($805,427 from 472 screens) was 20th Century Fox's "Marmaduke," the live action adaptation of the Brad Anderson single-panel newspaper cartoon about an unruly Great Dane. Overall, "Marmaduke" drew a weekend total of $1.24 million from 755 screens in four Central and South American markets. (It premiers in the U.S. on Friday).
In the U.K., Fox's comedy "Tooth Fairy" starring Dwayne Johnson opened No. 5 with $1.2 million drawn from 403 locations.
In France, MK2's release of director Abbas Kiarostami's "Copie Conforme" ("Certified Copy") starring Juliette Bionche (who picked up a best actress award at Cannes for her role) bounced up 10% from its opening weekend to $553,116 at 147 screens for a market cume of $1.2 million over two rounds.
Other international cumes: Fox's "Date Night," $52.2 million; Universal's "Green Zone," $59.4 million; Fox's "Avatar," $1.985 billion; Lionsgate/Universal's "Kick-Ass," $45.4 million; Pathe's "Camping 2," $34 million over six rounds in France only; Universal's "Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang," $55.4 million; Fox's "My Name is Khan," $30 million; DreamWorks/Paramount's "She's Out Of My League," $11.2 million; and Universal's "L'arnacoeur" ("Heartbreaker"), $26.9 million in France only.
Also, Fox's "The Fantastic Mr. Fox," $25.5 million; Paramount's "The Kings of Mikonos: Wog Boy 2," $2.8 million after two rounds in Australia only; MGM/Fox's "Hot Tub Machine, $4.3 million; Paramount and other distributors' "StreetDance 2" in 3D," $8.3 million in the U.K. and Australia only; and Sidus FNH's "The Housemaid," $13 million over three stanzas in South Korea only.