Fox International’s genre prequel X-Men Origins: Wolverine kicked off the 2009 summer blockbuster season with a suitably dominant display, grossing an estimated $73m from 9,234 screens in 101 markets.

The film opened at number one in most territories and combined with the $87m North American debut for a $160m global launch over five days.

The biggest result came from the UK, where Hugh Jackman and friends produced the biggest launch of the year-to-date on $9.8m (£6.7m) from 489 screens. This came in ahead of Iron Man’s $8.1m (£5.5m) exactly a year ago and was the third biggest launch in the X-Men franchise in local currency terms behind X-Men: The Last Stand’s $10.5m (£7.1m) opening weekend in 2006 and $10.4m (£7m) for X2 in 2003.

In France, $7.4m from 700 screens delivered the best Hollywood launch of 2009 so far and the third biggest overall behind local titles. In local currency, the €5.6m debut trailed €6.8m for X2 and €8.9m for The Last Stand but beat Iron Man’s €4.6m.

Jackman’s home country Australia produced $5.7m from 413 and the fifth biggest Fox launch of all time as well as the biggest opening weekend in the X-Men series. The film delivered a $5.5m opening weekend gross in Spain from 475, which is biggest launch of the year-to-date. The €4.1m ($5.4m) local currency tally was the second biggest debut in the franchise behind X2’s €4.4m ($5.8m).

Wolverine recorded an excellent $4.8m launch in Brazil from 638 that delivered the biggest local currency debut in the series as well as Fox’s biggest ever launch and the industry’s fourth biggest opening weekend in history.

The film took $4m from 798 in Germany, which was well above the local currency result for Iron Man but the lowest in the X-Men series, which would have been due in part to the more severe 16 rating compared to the 12 certification for the two previous episodes.

South Korea was one of the few territories to deny Wolverine a number one opening as Park Chan-Wook’s Thirst topped the charts. Wolverine generated $3m from 420 while Thirst, a co-production between Focus Features International and CJ Entertainment, took $4.1m from 501 venues and took 35% market share.

In other number one highlights, Wolverine grossed:

  • $3.7m in Russia from 711
  • $3.5m in Italy from 444
  • $1.6m in Singapore from 61
  • $1.2m from its first day in China on 860 screens, enough to beat the entire weekend gross of ahead of local hit Nanking Nanking.
  • $1.2m in Malaysia from 103 for Fox’s biggest and the industry’s seventh biggest industry opening weekend in history
  • $839,000 in Venezuela from 87 for Fox’s second biggest opening weekend in the territory
  • $695,024 including previews in New Zealand from 75 for Fox’s fifth biggest launch ever, and
  • $701,000 in Colombia from 120 for Fox’s fourth biggest launch ever.

Elsewhere in the global box office, New Line International’s 17 Again added $8.3m from 1,852 in 25 territories for a $37.9m running total. The high school comedy launched in Spain on $3.6m from 302 screens over four days.

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International executives have set a May 22 release date in Mexico for Hannah Montana The Movie, which grossed $6.7m over the weekend from 1,050 theatres in 12 territories for an early $8.7m running total. The teen drama opened number two in eight territories with highlights including $2.7m in the UK from 417 screens, $2m in Italy from 288, a very strong $706,000 in Norway from 48, and an excellent $327,000 in Chile from just 35.

Race To Witch Mountain added $2m from 2,426 in 30, while Earth added $683,000 from 228 in 13 and has produced $35.1m through Disney territories, the bulk of which comes from the earlier release in Germany. The documentary will open in Mexico on May 15.

Latest figures put Confessions Of A Shopaholic on $56.8m and The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas on $31.2m.

Universal/UPI’s Fast & Furious relinquished its hold on the international box office crown as $6.7m from 6,345 sites in 60 territories raised the running total to $182.4m.

The action hit has now amassed:

  • $19.1m in the UK
  • $14.6m in Germany
  • $14.4m in Russia
  •  $13.5m in France
  • $12.6m in Mexico
  • $11.1m in Australia
  • $10m in Italy
  • $8.5m in Spain
  • $8.4m in Brazil
  • $4.1m in China

The thriller State Of Play grossed $5.1m from 1,422 venues in 14 territories for an early $12.4m tally. It opened in Italy in third place on $1.3m from 250 and launched in South Korea on $400,000 from 200. State Of Play held firm in fourth place in the UK on £950,000 from 396 sites for $3.2m. Spain has produced $4.4m.

The crime caper Duplicity added $2.1m from 1,426 locations in 34 territories for $29.1m and debuted in second place in Germany on $835,000 from 275 and third place in Austria on $170,000 from 50. Japan delivered a solid $240,000 from 70 venues and should do well by the film during this week’s Golden Week. There are 28 territories to go over the next two months.

Coraline grossed $1.5m from 275 dates in eight territories for an early $10.1m cumulative tally. The animated children’s tale opened in Russia in exclusive 3D release and took $880,000 from 96 in third place. There are 43 territories to go over the next five months.

UK comedy The Boat That Rocked added $1.3m from 1,979 in 15 for $16.5m.

PPI’s Monsters Vs Aliens passed the $150m mark after five weeks of widespread release, grossing $6.1m from 5,357 locations in 60 territories for $152.1m. The biggest contribution came from the UK, where $779,000 from 569 locations raised the total to $29m

The comedy I Love You, Man added $1.4m from 1,073 sites in 17 territories for an early $7.6m.

Warner Bros Pictures International’s drama Gran Torino added $2.3m from approximately 1,840 screens in 46 territories for $105.2m. Coco Avant Chanel grossed $1.9m in France from 426 screens for a $5.4m running total.