As a yardstick for directors, the European b.o. last week was uplifting for directors Barbet Schroeder, Reginald Hudlin and David Fincher.
It was fair to middling for Michael Mann and Roland Joffe, and a downer for Brian DePalma and Roman Polanski.
Among the holdovers overseas, “Basic Instinct” rocketed to $ 213 million, “Lethal Weapon 3” powered to $ 127 million, “Batman Returns” advanced to just $ 3 million short of $ 100 million, “Far and Away” to $ 52 million and “Wayne’s World” to $ 48 million.
Top 10 jump $ 3 mil Schroeder’s “Single White Female” had a rousing $ 1.12 million debut on 181 screens in Germany in a buoyant trading session that saw the Top 10 titles jump by $ 3 million, to $ 9.4 million. Hudlin’s “Boomerang” initialed with a potent $ 2 million on 211 prints, but expect it to fade fast, judging by its trajectory elsewhere.
“Tom and Jerry: The Movie” had its world preem in Berlin, accompanied by Ted Turner, Joseph Barbera and a vast media campaign. Critics turned thumbs down but the audience response was okay: $ 540,000 on 175 screens. It’s sure to pick up this week as schools start vacation and it widens to 225 copies.
Joffe’s “City of Joy” opened with a solid $ 1.8 million on 158 prints in France, but was less impressive in the U.K. ($ 455,760 at 100 theaters), and it started snappily on five screens in Italy. After the pic’s domestic demise, new campaigns were devised for foreign, essaying a more striking image of Patrick Swayze in an Indian setting. Swayze and Joffe did extensive P&A tours through Europe, and the helmer did double duty in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Polanski’s “Bitter Moon” got a hostile reception from British critics (“a film and a career headed nowhere,” was among the most spiteful) and it was lukewarm in the West End, stone cold in the provinces.
Conversely, the widely damned “Carry on Columbus,” the 30th in the “Carry On” series of spoofs and the first in 14 years, had a dismal bow in London but saved some face in the multiplexes, especially in the north.
Mann’s “The Last of the Mohicans” had a so-so opening in Sweden, notching $ 247,250 on 25 screens, but was healthier in Norway. Early indications are Euro audiences aren’t as enthralled as Americans.
DePalma’s “Raising Cain” landed in France with a dullish thud, scraping up $ 640,000 on 154 prints. Italian entry “The Stolen Children” sparkled at 10 screens and exhibs reckon it could be a sleeper.
In Italy, “Basic Instinct” had an awesome third week on 172 screens, reigning as the No. 1 attraction at every cinema by a wide margin. Total to date is 21.7 billion lira ($ 16.7 million) and exhibs say it has a very good shot at equaling Italo superclick “Johnnny Stecchino,” which wound with 38 billion lira.
Fincher’s “Alien 3” wowed the Italians with a preem of $ 1.5 million at 79 theaters, and its international cume levitated to $ 86 million.
Sans openers, the Top 10 in Madrid dropped 9%, as “Instinct” led the pack in its seventh lap nationwide, $ 17.7 million thus far.
In Japan, “Lethal Weapon 3” pulled a fine $ 1.6 million in the first weekend on 149 screens, and “Beauty and the Beast” had an excellent sophomore session at 100 sites, $ 5.26 million total.
Look for some tidy grosses coming out of Slovenia, the independent state carved out of the former Yugoslavia. Warner Bros. is the first major to seal a direct distrib deal with state-owned distrib-exhib Ljubljanski Kinematografi, kicking in Nov. 1.
Cinemas have been starved of product, the country is untouched by war and the currency is stable and convertible. The stronger films can clock 100,000 admissions, which adds up to meaningful biz.