Following a spectacular opening in Australia (Daily Variety, May 5), “Indecent Proposal” began its European run May 7 with a smash bow in Italy, grossing $ 1.7 million on 196 screens during its first weekend. It opens in France and Belgium Wednesday and hits the U.K. Friday.

If Italy is any indication, the pic is on its way to becoming as big a hit in Europe as it is in the U.S., where it has earned more than $ 78 million.

The pic’s hefty take in Italy is the biggest opening weekend gross so far in 1993. Compared to films released in 1992, UIP’s “Proposal” beat the first weekend of WB’s “Batman Returns,” which opened in September ’92 with $ 1.2 million, but didn’t match Penta’s “Basic Instinct” ($ 4.3 million).

In its second week Down Under, pic held onto top slot with $ 700,395, running its Oz cume for 11 days to $ 3.3 million.

UIP’s marketing chief Vito Matassino called the Italo opening “stratospheric” and attributes the pic’s success to the popularity of director Adrian Lyne with Italo audiences.

Promo campaign was mostly in print media, with a strong trailer. Pic was presented as provocatively issue-oriented, but with enough sex appeal to make it interesting to mass audiences.

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