Oscarites get foreign B.O. boost

Right on cue, “Schindler’s List,””The Piano” and “Philadelphia” enjoyed an uplift at the foreign B.O. after their Oscar victories.

Exhibs said the impact of the Academy Awards could not be gauged until B.O. was counted for the March 26-27 weekend, but takings for all three films improved after the ceremony.

United Intl. Pictures reported Steven Spielberg’s epic jumped the day after the Oscarcast by 34% in Japan, 24% in South Korea, 21% in New Zealand and 8% in Hong Kong after its seven-Oscar triumph. On March 23-24 in Australia, receipts were up 60% on the previous week. Distrib expects the awards kudos to boost the Holocaust drama’s eventual foreign gross by 25% to about $ 125 million. Through March 24 it had surpassed $ 50 million.

“The Piano” and Buena Vista duo “Cool Runnings” and “The Three Musketeers” have joined the $ 100 million worldwide grossers’ club.

CIBY 2000 (often overlooked amid all the Miramax-generated hype) said Jane Campion’s pic has collected $ 68.2 million overseas. Through the fourth weekend on 31 screens in Japan, it’s played to a pleasing $ 3.6 million.

“Cool Runnings,” the undoubted sleeper of the year, has pocketed $ 34 million offshore (around $ 69 million domestically) and is showing remarkable stamina: Zero falloff in the fourth weekend in the U.K., off just 13% in the sixth in Germany and in the fifth in Japan.

With $ 46.6 million in the till overseas, “Three Musketeers” is certain to overtake the $ 53.5 million U.S. tally. But it’s struggling in Japan, shedding 25% in the second weekend on 95 prints, $ 2.7 million cume.

Before the Oscars, “Philadelphia” bagged a sweet $ 436,000 in its first weekend on 60 screens in Mexico, $ 335,000 on 29 in Belgium and $ 128,300 on 25 in Holland as the foreign cume ascended to $ 30 million. The laurels for best actor and original song had a salutary effect in Australia, hiking March 17’s gross at the Hoyts circuit by 57% over March 10’s.

Overlooked at the awards, “In the Name of the Father” could have used some help as it had patchy results bowing in 13 territories. Jim Sheridan’s pic was doing quite well in Latin America but was weak in Taiwan, Norway and so-so in Germany; it’s grossed $ 18.2 million abroad. The theme is “too foreign, too political and too heavy,” opined one German exhib. Upscale audiences who would normally be drawn by the presence of Daniel Day-Lewis and Emma Thompson aren’t interested in the subject, the exhib added.

Of the other rookies in Germany, “Look Who’s Talking Now” stiffed, and “Kika” didn’t stir much interest at 30 arthouses. “The Pelican Brief” retained pole position in its second weekend, off 11% after expanding from 365 to 391 prints.

The Julia Roberts/Denzel Washington thriller debuted impressively in France, New Zealand and Greece and its overseas total levitated to $ 29 million.

Pic improved by 27% in the second lap in Italy after widening from 88 to 150 prints, $ 2.1 million total, but its legs wobbled in the second lap in Australia (off 37%).

Nice spring weather and absence of major new releases depressed the Italo wickets. “A Dangerous Woman” had a quiet start while “Dellamorte Dellamore,” horror/fantasy about life beyond the grave, based on popular Italian comic strip Dylan Dog and toplining Rupert Everett, had a decent preem. Italo horror spoof “Silence of the Hams” looks headed for an early grave after plummeting 33% in its second lap, despite saturation of TV blurbs and primetime plugging by director/star Ezio Greggio.

Down Under, the top 20 B.O. receipts held steady at $ 4.3 million. But attendances were up due to the cinemas’ annual gesture of admitting senior citizens free to all sessions before 6 p.m.

Neither “Police Rescue: The Movie,” a spinoff from the popular TV series, nor John Lafia’s thriller “Man’s Best Friend” won critical plaudits or sizable audiences.

Among other holdovers internationally, “Mrs. Doubtfire” has rung up $ 158.6 million, “A Perfect World” has $ 102.5 million, “Demolition Man”$ 91.8 million, “Free Willy”$ 53.3 million, “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit”$ 23.8 million and “The Remains of the Day”$ 18.2 million.

“Doubtfire” had standout openings in Chile, Colombia and Uruguay, and strong second rounds in Argentina (totaling $ 573,200 at 16 houses) and Hong Kong ($ 646,600 at nine). So-called little territories are delivering big numbers: $ 580 ,500 after three weeks in Thailand, $ 995,000 through the third in Norway and $ 787,000 after four in Indonesia.

In Japan, “Remains” took a modest $ 39,000 in the first weekend at six arthouses but set a house record at one Tokyo theater. “On Deadly Ground” hooked Steven Seagal fans in Singapore, nabbing $ 342,000 in the first week at 17 screens, but is fast losing ground in Britain, down 39% in the second weekend.

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