While Europe had a chronic case of the box office blahs, Latin America and the Pacific Rim markets were distinctly perky last week.

France, Italy and Germany all reported a drop in B.O. but Australia was up 18%, thanks in part to a four-day Queen’s Birthday weekend and the onset of winter weather.

“Die Hard With a Vengeance” was strong in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina, which combined to provide a cume of $7.8 million, meaning that in the first 10 days of release it was out-performing “Die Hard 2″ by 3%.

Meanwhile, in Australia the John McTiernan-helmed actioner hung on to first place for the third successive week, posting $1,424,547 for a cume of $7,611,380.

In Singapore, UIP’s “Casper” scared up $1.3 million from 28 screens, while “Outbreak” has taken $1.6 for Warner Bros, there. The Dustin Hoffman medical thriller has taken $35.8 million in the Far East, of which $22 million came from Japan, and close to $6 million in Latin America. In Germany after 11 weeks, it pushed into second place, but generally German exhibs were bemoaning the lack of product that sparked. International cume was $103,328,628 at week’s end.

“Braveheart” clicked solidly with Singapore audiences in its second weekend, bringing the cume to $59,227 from 12 in as many days; a 15-print run in Malaysia reaped $48,496 during the same period. In Oz, Mel Gibson’s visit home to tubthump the pic helped boost the 150-screen take to $2.85 million in 14 days.

The other current kilt-and-claymore epic, “Rob Roy,” has hacked close to $20 million from 36 overseas territories. It had a disappointing French debut, but in Spain it was the brightest performer with a cume of $1,525,427 from 95 sites in 20 days. It was a third higher than the second-place movie in the market, John Waters’ “Serial Mom,” which jumped three places in its second week on the power of good reviews and star Kathleen Turner’s pulling power in Iberia. Local producer Elias Querejeta has a budding hit on his hands with “Historias del Kronen,” which grossed $2.4 million from a seven-week national release.

Squeezing into the Spanish top 10 was “Ed Wood,” playing a very restricted run in Madrid and Barcelona and taking $60,079 in two weeks from one subtitled print in each city. BVIs strategy is to market the pic for an audience of film buffs, and it seems to be working. After a warm reception at Cannes, so far the double Oscar winner (for supporting actor Martin Landau and makeup) has grossed $1.2 million on foreign screens and will certainly draw more from overseas than its $5.9 million domestic run.

Tide’ rolls

The opening financial waves from “Crimson Tide” are comparing favorably with the 1990 Sean Connery sub saga “The Hunt for Red October.” A $1.2 million opening week in Australia for the Gene Hackman- Denzel Washington thriller placed it third behind “Die Hard 3″ and “Braveheart.” In Israel it has done $500,000 in four weeks and Singapore’s looking at $400,000 from 14 in 14 days.

“While You Were Sleeping” looks to be a key film for the European summer – if its outings elsewhere are any indication. Its Aussie cume approached $5.5 million from 97 in six weeks, while the Korean run pulled in $1.3 million and New Zealanders have handed over $475,000. In Israel it’s done $154,000 from five sites in six days, producing a foreign cume of $7.5 million.

Whoopi Goldberg’s “Boys on the Side” reached an international cume of $17.5 million at the weekend, with Australians and Germans proving to be the most receptive thus far, providing $2 million and $5 million, respectively. Japan sees it in September.

“Legends of the Fall” opened well in Japan, with a 16-screen release in the key cities returning $579,000. Foreign cume for the oater to date stands at $73 million.

“Bad Boys” held first place in Germany, but the Dutch arm of Columbia TriStar was smiling at the $401,000 opening weekend on 50 screens there, which proved to be the industry’s biggest of the year. Denmark chipped in $153,00 from 20, bringing the overseas receipts to better than $14 million.

French youth alienation flick “La Haine” (Hate) was doing powerful business at home, adding 160 prints for week two, but it was virtually alone in producing results. Indeed, Gallic exhibitors were in tears over the mediocre movies coming out of Cannes.

‘ Dumb’ smart money

“Dumb and Dumber” went out via AMLF and sold 30,000 ducats at 234 theaters. Given the state of the market, that wasn’t a bad result, but Warner Bros, opened “The War of the Buttons” on 82 screens and sold a mere 6,000 tickets.

Italy’s summer has started low-key. While the cut-price-ticket promotion Festa del Cinema had a positive impact on attendance figures, receipts for the top 25 films were down 5% from the previous weekend. “The Quick and the Dead” took a 30% drop in takings, but remained No.1. The local entry, “School,” is holding well with a $4,597 per-screen average, but, as elsewhere, the market is pretty depressed and exhibs are looking forward to a succession of big Hollywood actioners to lift it out of t he doldrums.

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