‘Die Hard’ explodes o’seas B.O.

The foreign B.O. appears split in two, with most of the action centering on “Die Hard With a Vengeance’s” explosive bows in Australia, Mexico and Colombia, and the international preems of “Braveheart” Down Under and in Singapore.

On the flip side, in Europe exhibs are glumly marking time before the arrival of the summer blockbusters.

The “Die Hard” sequel wowed Australia with $2.4 million on 158 prints: the ninth biggest opening week ever and the sixth biggest in a non-holiday period. That sucked a lot of life out of other titles, as rookie “Losing Isaiah” got lost and “Bye Bye, Love” and “Before Sunrise” fell sharply in their second rounds. “Boys on the Side” showed more staying power, off 29% in its second.

Distrib Roadshow got a lot of mileage from Bruce Willis’ presence in Sydney for the preem of Australia’s first Planet Hollywood, and figured the “Die Hard” franchise is so well established that the short lead time after this pic’s U.S. debut wasn’t a problem. Mel Gibson turned up for the preview of “Braveheart,” which on opening day – June 1 – collared a strapping $155,000 on 149 screens, portending a big weekend.

“Braveheart’s” numbers in Singapore weren’t available but one local exhib said Gibson’s pic started quite well in a flat B.O. period before this week’s school vacation, although he noted costume dramas tend not to be huge there unless they’re Chinese.

In Mexico, the third “Die Hard” pulled $486,000 in three days on 172 screens (279,000 tickets), the third-highest bow ever for Buena Vista Intl., and the biggest thus far this year. In Colombia, the four-day take was a socko $426,000 on 62 screens; the three-day tally of $321,000 (139,500 ducats) was a record in the territory, per BVI, which has the film in 66% of the world outside North America.

Japan is being sustained only by “Outbreak,” which reigned in its fifth frame, climbing to $17.6 million, and by the phenom “Forrest Gump,” which has amassed $63.1 million in 82 days. “Outbreak” looks capable of hitting 1 billion yen ($8.7 million) in rentals in Japan; its overseas cume is $91.7 million. “Gump” advanced to $336.4 million abroad, easily beating domestic.

Keanu Reeves is learning you’re only as good as your current film in Japan. Since “Speed” it’s been downhill for him, first with “Johnny Mnemonic” (a moderate performer) and now with “A Walk in the Clouds,” which had a tame $753,400 first weekend on 78 screens. Still, Fox remains confident about “Clouds’ ” prospects in Europe, where it’s skedded for the fall.

European cinemas were lamenting the combination of terrific sunny weather and mediocre product. Reflecting the lackluster Cannes festival, most films launched after the event haven’t the set the B.O. alight.

In what was described as a “catastrophic” week in France, exhibs rated the “Jefferson in Paris” bow as the worst of any recent James Ivory pic. The Nick Nolte starrer was soft in Italy too, but it won’t have to go far overseas to beat the $2.4 million domestic B.O.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro’s “The City of Lost Children” had a steady second lap in France (but isn’t in the same league as their hit “Delicatessen”), ditto John Boorman’s “Beyond Rangoon” (released as “Rangoon”). “Carrington” started OK while the Jennifer Jason Leigh starrer “Georgia” flopped.

‘Roy’ joy

“Rob Roy” pocketed a rousing $530,300 in six days on 100 prints in Spain and went wide in the U.K. with fair results after platforming in the West End. It was an otherwise glum week in Spain, although youth drama “Historias del Kronen” and Ken Loach’s “Land and Freedom” both got some rub-off from competing in Cannes.

Despite favorable reviews in Cannes, “Kiss of Death” had a deathly pallor initialing in France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Scandinavia. David Caruso is virtually unknown because “NYPD Blue” hasn’t aired in a lot of places, and Nicolas Cage isn’t a big draw.

“Street Fighter” topped $50 million abroad and in its sophomore session in the U.K. dropped by a typical 43%. Biz was blah in Blighty as “Richie Rich” had an impoverished debut and “Don Juan DeMarco” dropped 36% in its second lap. It was hello and goodbye to fresher “Bye Bye, Love.”

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