The unstoppable “Mrs. Doubtfire” broke through the $ 100 million barrier overseas last week, powered by outstanding holdover business and big bows in a handful of small markets.
Right behind is “A Perfect World,” which broke through the $ 100 million door over the weekend. “Schindler’s List” looks likely to exceed Universal/United Intl. Pictures’ expectations with a fat $ 304,000 in six days at six theaters in London, and an 11% hike on an expanded 23 prints in the second lap in Australia, $ 967,000 cume.
In Oz, the distrib originally intended to build to 35 prints; now the plan is to go close to 60, encouraged by the 12 Oscar noms and terrific word-of-mouth from auds ages 18 and up.
The surprise of the week was “The Good Son’s” healthy preem Down Under, averaging $ 7,961 on 97 screens. After its weak showing almost everywhere, 20th Century Fox mounted a lavish TV campaign and counted on Macaulay Culkin’s popularity Down Under.
Also rather unexpected was “For Love or Money’s” decent $ 6,445 average on 64 , a minor respite from bankruptcy elsewhere. UIP gave it a big ad promo push, and the Michael J. Fox starrer was especially prosperous in blue-collar Brisbane.
Hot ‘Runnings’ in Germany
The real sleeper in Germany is “Cool Runnings,” which added 27 screens and soared by 76% in the second weekend. Exhibs say it’s boosted by revived interest in cold-weather sports during the Winter Olympics, a hot soundtrack and heavy promotion, particularly on MTV Europe.
The Jamaican bobsled pic also sped into Japan with a winning $ 675,000 in the first weekend on 17 screens, primed by intensive advance screenings by Buena Vista Intl. “In the Name of the Father” caused near riots in Italy, and not due to political activists. Police had to control the crowds at the sole English-language screenings on the Monday night screening — proof that Italos won’t watch only dubbed versions. The six-day take was $ 449,000 on 44 screens.
‘Free’ ride in Italy
Italo grosses improved marginally, bolstered by “Free Willy,” which drew lotsa families in its $ 373,000 bow at 52 theaters. Simon Wincer’s pic also clicked in Holland, nabbing $ 306,000 at 52 as its foreign cume climbed to $ 35 million. “Mrs. Doubtfire” leads the pack, pocketing $ 9.3 million from 219 houses after three weeks.
Spanish helmer Bigas Luna’s “Golden Balls” got good reviews in Italy and the infamous man-grabbing-crotch poster hooked auds in a market that devours sexy comedies. Awareness of “Three Colors: White” was stoked by the Venice fest but it had a good, not great, preem.
In Spain, biz bubbled as “Age of Innocence” checked in with an impressive $ 357,000 in the first weekend on 39, and “In the Name of the Father” snared a splendid $ 303,000 on six days on 37. “Mr. Jones” was off only 20% in the second on 80, totaling $ 1.4 million.
Kind of a drag
After three weeks, “Mrs. Doubtfire” has collared $ 2.7 million in Spain: good but lacking the zing of other markets. Chris Columbus’ comedy is lagging in the south of Spain, where, one tradester speculates, folks are not enamored with a middle-aged man impersonating a female. Fox has introduced the sentimental sell used very effectively in Italy.
The Robin Williams comedy had a towering second round — another record for Fox — in France on 452 prints, $ 9 million to date. In Paris, it accounted for a whopping 27% of the market. The second week of school vacation ensured ticket sales in the capital were a buoyant 900,000, down only slightly on the same period last year.
Claude Chabrol’s tale of an insanely jealous husband, “L’Enfer” (Hell), had a robust start –“better than expected,” opined one exhib — and Patrick Braoude’s comedy about impending fatherhood, “Nine Months,” is proving to be a sleeper.
But write the obit notice for “Tombstone” after its first lamentable week. French are partial to Westerns — witness “Unforgiven”– but not this one.
It was RIP for “Tombstone” in Germany too. Exhibs say George Cosmatos’ oater suffers from poor promotion and super-strong competition.