For most European cinemas, the Christmas/New Year break brought a great deal more cheer and sacks full of coin than did the previous season.After digesting the turkey, audiences feasted on “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,””Beauty and the Beast,””The Bodyguard,””Death Becomes Her,””A Few Good Men” and “Sister Act.” In Japan and Latin America, “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” bowed big. “Home Alone 2” powered to $ 74 million overseas, the long-running “Beauty and the Beast” rose to $ 140 million and “The Bodyguard” took $ 41 million. In some markets, 1991 wasn’t hard to beat. Some Brit exhibs estimate the Christmas trade was up 25% over last year, when “The Addams Family,””Hot Shots!” and “Curly Sue” were the best of a mediocre bunch. Bowing Dec. 26, “The Bodyguard” nabbed $ 2 million its first weekend on 258 prints. Warner Bros. called it the biggest-ever Christmas bow there. Mirroring its sluggish start in the U.S., “Chaplin” kicked off its exclusive London showcase run at the Odeon Leicester Square with a lukewarm $ 129,230 through 14 days. The acid test comes Jan. 15 when it goes wide. In Paris, ticket sales for the week ending Dec. 29 surged to 928,000–nearly 50,000 ahead of the corresponding week in 1991. “Death Becomes Her” is a winner, making $ 2.5 million its first week at 252 screens in France. It was shrewdly positioned as the only major release Dec. 23 and audiences are responding to the clever special effects, say exhibs. Propelled by excellent results in Europe and the Far East, and given a lighter image by UIP than the black-comedy sell domestically, “Death’s” foreign cume advanced to $ 33 million. It outgunned “A Few Good Men” in France, which tallied $ 2.24 million through 12 days on 185 screens. “Men” isn’t pulling young audiences there as effectively as elsewhere, but Columbia TriStar still expects a long run. The pic is strong in Italy ($ 1.2 million through 10 days on 32 screens), Spain ($ 1.6 million in 10 days on 63), South Africa, Australia, South Korea and a host of smaller territories. “Beauty and the Beast” has scored an awesome $ 14.5 million through the fourth weekend, now on 258 prints, and WB says it’s on course to beat the Disney record in Italy held by “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” The top 10 in Germany garnered $ 8.3 million Christmas weekend after pocketing a splendid $ 14.4 million the previous week. “Home Alone 2” towers above the rest with $ 13.9 million in the till through the third weekend, now on a massive 623 prints. In Japan, where Francis Coppola is revered, “Dracula” had a two-day opening of $ 2.1 million on 78 screens. Pic’s initial numbers were similarly dazzling in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.
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