With memories of Revenge Of The Fallen fresh in the mind, Paramount Pictures International (PPI) top brass approached the weekend with high expectations on China.
They proved to be right as Transformers: Dark Of The Moon generated a staggering $40m-plus debut to push the action sci-fi across the half-billion mark with ease.
The biggest ever launch of an American film in China contributed to the overall $62m weekend gross from 12,554 sites in 60 markets as the Dark Of The Moon climbed to $556.5m.
In the fourth weekend, Germany produced a further $2.3m from 550 for $34.6m, while South Korea generated $2.2m from 379 for $65.5m. France has delivered $24.8m, Australia $38.1m, the UK $41.9m, Russia $43.8m, Brazil $21.2m and Mexico $28.7m. Japan will be the final market on Friday .
DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 2 grossed $8.3m from 4,165 venues in 58 for $437.2m. The family sequel arrived in Hong Kong on $1.6m from 43 and added $1.4m from 789 in France for $23.8m in the sixth weekend. The final two markets of Japan and Italy received the film in August.
Speaking of Italy, Captain America: The First Avenger ventured into its first international market day-and-date with the impressive North American debut, grossing a very respectable $2.8m from 327.
The summer’s latest superhero release touches down in 23 next weekend and is expected to make a splash in the UK, Australia, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and Argentina.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International reported a $17.7m weekend for Cars 2 from 31 territories to reach $173.7m.
The latest Pixar release arrived in the UK on $6.1m (£3.8m), which executives said performed 42% better than the launch of Cars, which went on to gross £16.5m.
Leading territories are Mexico on $24.6m, Australia on $20.7m, Russia and Brazil each on $19.5m and Italy on $14.2m.
The worldwide tally stands at $350.1m. Next weekend’s new territories are France, Germany and Japan.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides added $900,000 as the international running total climbed to $794.6m. The global figure is $1.032bn, making this the sixth biggest release in history behind Toy Story 3 on $1.064bn.
Sony Pictures Releasing International’s family release Zookeeper brought in $9m from 2,325 in 35 markets as the early tally reached $28.8m.
The film launched in 19 markets led by a $1.9m debut in second place in Russia on 518 screens. A further $2.6m from 616 in Germany raised the running total after three weekends to $10.5m. Zookeeper stands at $7.7m in Mexico after three.
Bad Teacher crossed $70m following $7.9m from 2,204 in 32. The R-rated comedy opened well in second place in Australia on $3.2m from 242. Germany has generated $16.2m after four, Russia $12.2m after two and the UK $12.5m after five.
Another R-rated comedy enjoying the summer is Bridesmaids and it too crossed $70m through Universal Pictures International following a $7.9m weekend from 1,905 in 33 territories. The figure is $70.7m and there are 23 territories to go including France, Spain and Italy in August.
Bridesmaids opened well in Germany in fourth place on $2.1m from 414 and the Austrian debut produced $465,000 from 78 in third place. The film also arrived in Sweden and did well, grossing $320,000 from 94 in second place.
The UK led holdovers as $1.8m in the fifth weekend resulted in Universal’s biggest release of the year-to-date on $29.5m. Australia has generated $26.2m after six weekends.
Hop stands at $74.3m and opened in South Korea on $600,000 from 183. Paul stands at $57m, Fast And Furious Five has reached $394.3m and $603.7m worldwide with a good chance of coasting past $400m when it opens in Japan on Oct 11, while Beginners is on $1.8m and opened in the UK on $254,000 from 69.
Summit International reported that Vendome Productions and Playtone Productions’ Larry Crowne added $2.2m from 1,300 sites in 20 countries for $16.8m. The rom-com opened in Australia on $890,000 from 210 including $30,000 in previews.