Smash openings in Britain, France, Belgium and Israel by “Sommersby” last week gave the flagging box office a timely boost.Meantime, “Indecent Proposal” clocked the highest sum ever earned by paid previews in Australia, according to UIP. “The Distinguished Gentleman” may not be Eddie Murphy’s finest two hours, but it bowed smartly in Spain, France and Belgium. “Alive” continued its erratic flight pattern, flying high in South Korea, Hong Kong and Scandinavia, but crash-landing in France and Taiwan. In Japan, “RoboCop 3″ maintained momentum pretty well, off 15% in the second weekend on 115 screens, making $ 3.4 million in nine days. “Sister Act” expanded from 70 to 93 prints in its second weekend in Japan, collecting $ 2.4 million through 10 days. “Unforgiven” is dragging its heels, down 21% in the second weekend on 95, $ 2.08 million cume. “Accidental Hero” (“Hero”) caused barely a flicker of interest there, yielding just $ 208,000 in the first weekend at 48 theaters. However Stephen Frears’ pic is much healthier in Europe, and its overseas total exceeds $ 34 million. In France, “Sommersby” was helped rather than harmed by comparisons with “The Return of Martin Guerre.” Critics took as a compliment that Jon Amiel’s meller was inspired by a French film, and attendances were strong in the capital, where it grabbed 16% of the market. British exhibs dined heartily on “Sommersby” but fretted about relying so much on one picture as they pointed to the huge gap between it and the rest of the field. In its first week nationally on 114 prints, “Accidental Hero” fared OK — best in upmarket situations — while “Body of Evidence” predictably plummeted by more than 40% in its second. German receipts plunged by 47% to $ 5.4 million — the lowest for nearly 12 months — hit by a heat wave that meant perfect beer-garden weather. Among the freshmen, “Army of Darkness” and “Singles” did fine.
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