‘Sister Act’ heavenly in France, U.K. bows

Buena Vista Intl. is developing a winning habit with “Sister Act,” which had celestial openings last week in France, London and Australia.

Distrib put huge marketing efforts behind its first release, and staged a series of stunts such as screenings for nuns in London and having ersatz nuns rollerblading along the Champs Elysees handing out “Sister Act” flyers.

Emile Ardolino’s comedy bowed Nov. 25 at 42 Paris houses and 175 provincial theaters, clocking $ 275,080. On the second day in Paris, the haul was $ 70,640.

Platformed at six cinemas in London’s West End, film’s first-week tally was a merry $ 229,000; it rolled out this week on 300 prints.

British exhibs were delighted too with “Single White Female,” which debuted with a lusty $ 2.26 million at 246 sites. Most critics panned it as silly and over-wrought; audiences obviously disagreed.

‘Sneakers’ drops 25%

“Sneakers” dropped 25% in the second on 214 prints, $ 2.25 million total. Perhaps surprisingly, its screen average is trailing Kenneth Branagh’s comedy “Peter’s Friends,” which had a splendid second on 79, for $ 1.6 million to date.

“Sister Act” collected a hot $ 1.6 million on 110 screens Down Under–the biggest opening ever there for the Walt Disney Studios. It elevated nationwide B.O. receipts by 30% to $ 3.47 million.

Aussie pic “Romper Stomper” is no flash in the pan, slipping just 9% in the second at 50 theaters, $ 1 million total.

‘Sematary’ lifeless

In a listless German market, “Pet Sematary 2” checked in with a frightfully reasonable $ 1 million from 183 prints; expect it to burn out fast.

“Mo’ Money” had a lucrative second week on 119 for $ 1.2 million cume, but it’s struggling in Austria, a market that usually reflects its neighbor’s tastes.

Cinema biz in Paris in the week ending Nov. 24 was severely disrupted by public transport strikes, and ticket sales plummeted by 25% to 540,000.

Hardly a good time to open “A League of Their Own” (retitled”A Team Like No One”), which made $ 530,850 at 86 arenas. As elsewhere in Europe, it’s a bigger drawing card in the cities than in the sticks.

It was a so-so session in Italy. Bereft of new blood, the top 10’s takings shrank to $ 4.8 million, although “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “Folks” both went wider with good results.

Madrid B.O. slumped by 30%, but stand by for an uplift this week courtesy of “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Last of the Mohicans.”

‘Beast’ roars

“Beauty and the Beast” continues its streak of boffo bows, making $ 178,500 on 21 screens in Denmark, $ 116,900 on just two in Sweden, and $ 350,000 on 60 in South Africa.

“Blade Runner–The Director’s Cut” had its first European outing in Helsinki and looked sharp, pitched to upscale audiences–a good omen for Warner Bros.

In Japan, Jean Claude Van Damme is much more a hero of the video shelves than of the cinemas, so it’s no surprise that “Universal Soldier” is lukewarm there, dropping 21% in the second weekend on 20 screens, $ 2 million to date; the real reckoning comes Dec. 12 when the pic broadens to 100 screens.

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