‘List’ hits $ 73 mil in o’seas B.O.

Basking in the Oscars’ limelight, “Schindler’s List” accelerated to $ 73 million gross overseas through last Wednesday — outpacing the domestic tally.

Heading into the Easter break, distrib United Intl. Pictures bumped up the print run from 1,700 to close to 2,500 after virtually every territory registered a strong post-Oscar uptick. The pic had brought in $ 68.4 million in the U.S. through March 27.

Prior to its release, no one could have expected the Holocaust drama in Germany to be playing on 425 prints entering the fifth week — including 80 prints paid for by municipal authorities for low-grossing theaters.

Some 1.6 million Germanshave seen Steven Spielberg’s opus, whose takings jumped by 27% in the fourth weekend on 275 screens. The total will likely reach 2 million through today.

Gains in other markets included 74% on an expanded 176 prints in Italy, 28% in Japan, 13% in the U.K. and 45% in Austria.

Oscars for “Philadelphia” star Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen’s title song helped boost the pic’s foreign cume by an average of 5% to $ 42 million.

Jonathan Demme’s drama took $ 238,000 in the first weekend on nine screens in South Korea — good for a non-actioner — and debuted nicely in New Zealand, Hungary and Colombia. Yet to play in Japan and Taiwan, pic seems destined to top $ 80 million.

“The Piano” ascended to $ 70 million offshore, enjoying a post-Oscar lift in markets like Japan (earning $ 4.4 million through the fifth weekend), Australia (a hefty $ 7.2 million) and the U.K.

It wasn’t a memorable week, however, for U.S. comedies. “The Naked Gun 33 1/3 : The Final Insult” grossed $ 1 million in six days on 86 screens in Australia. Exhibs rated that as slightly disappointing.

European critics panned “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit,” which may partly explain the restrained audience response in the U.K., Italy and France. The Spanish greeted the Whoopi Goldberg vehicle with more fervor. Even so, with $ 28 .6 million in the till overseas thus far, the sequel is shaping as a pale shadow of the original.

Germany was one of the top earners for “Wayne’s World 2,” but the sequel didn’t schwing very high debuting on 297 prints.

There wasn’t much interest either in rookies “The Secret Garden,” Ken Loach’s “Raining Stones” (latter is “too serious for spring audiences,” said one exhib) or Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “White.”

“The House of the Spirits,” which was a sensation in Germany, is sinking in the U.K. after being battered by critics, and has just bombed in France. “Carlito’s Way” didn’t win many Gallic admirers either.

Receipts in Italy March 25-27 were level with the previous weekend, despite the distraction of the national elections. “On Deadly Ground” did moderately well at the Italo polls (pulling $ 184,500 on 32 screens) and took No. 1 slot in South Korea, with $ 171,000 on 25, and in Sweden.

“The Pelican Brief” grabbed pole position in Spain with a healthy $ 981,200 in five days on 106 prints and had pleasing bows in Belgium ($ 488,000 in seven on 52) and Finland as the foreign cume passed $ 39 million.

Buena Vista Intl. continues to rake in the bucks on “Cool Runnings”–$ 40 million to be precise. “Beethoven’s 2nd” advanced to $ 39 million after an OK start in Britain, “The Remains of the Day” moved to $ 21.5 million and “In the Name of the Father” to $ 21 million.

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