Around the world, “The Lion King” ruled the Yule and looks set to roar clear into the New Year. By Jan. 2 the international cume will be in excess of $350 million, according to a senior Buena Vista exec.

And that, of course, bodes well for an eventual $400 million from the overseas territories-there’s only India to go later in the year. BVI is tracking the film at 52% above “Aladdin.”

While Christmas Day was soft in most markets, Simba came back the day after to show his box office teeth across Europe, taking between $6 million and $7 million a day.

For the four days in Italy, the BVI triumph took $3.1 million, heading the B.O. chart and bringing the national cume to $20.6 million. In France, it did $5.5 million for a cume of $42.1 million; Germany has paid $42 million to date, while Spain has chipped in $17.1 million and the U.K. another $32.5 million. In Sweden and Denmark, it’s locked in at No. 1. The Euro cume for the holiday weekend was $22.3 million.

‘ Speed’ing through Japan

In Japan, Keanu Reeves is weaving through traffic with “Speed” collecting a fast $6.5 million from 127 in six days, and taking $24.6 million in its three-week run. All told, the film’s looking at more than $161.6 million in the rearview mirror.

Italy’s latest entry, the slapstick comedy “SPQR: 20001/2 Years Ago” from Filmauro, has Leslie Nielsen toplining a cast of local funnymen and did an average $25,429 from 280 screens, taking the No. 2 spot and posting a cume of $6.7 million in its first stanza. And despite delays, another domestic entry, “Occhio Pinocchio” finally made it to 88 screens for a cume of $1.2 million in its opening, nosing out “Clear and Present Danger,” which dropped to fifth place with $3 million after three weeks.

Latter flick’s cume now stands at $66.5 million from overseas markets, and is still strong after 11 days in Japan, where it grossed $5 million. In Taiwan in its first three days, the thriller put up a $32,613 average on 31 screens.

In another vein, “Interview With the Vampire” is enjoying a succession of openings around the globe. The international blood count passed $40 million by the end of t he year. Paris and suburbs posted 99,785 admissions on 52 screens, which fed the national cume of $3.2 million from 319 in eight days.

In Australia, Warner Bros. Intl. records tumbled following “Interview’s” socko opening-which alone took in more than $660,000-and after three days the cume stood at $1.6 million. Star Tom Cruise is popular around the Pacific Rim, so audiences are lining up in Japan ($6.1 million since Dec. 10), Taiwan ($1.7 million in the same period) and Hong Kong ($557,187 after seven days).

Latin America has clocked strong numbers for the fanger, with Brazil posting $2.4 million and Mexico hitting $2 million since mid-December. Its Argentina bow took $177,378 from eight prints, vaulting into the No. 1 spot in that country; “Vampire” sucked $30,335 from eight in Chile.

Italy and Spain contributed $2.9 million and $4 million to the Warner Bros. pic by week two, and Germany capped $8 million by New Year’s Eve. France oozed $3.2 million in just over a week and Switzerland was down for more than $1 million.

Kris Kringle is ringing box office bells for Fox in Japan as “Miracle on 34th Street” passed $3.3 million in six days. In Europe after four weeks, Santa’s tally is $9.6 million from 881 houses-in Britain alone, the remake’s take was $7.7 million on 306.

UIP has posted $178.2 million for “Forrest Gump,” which continues strong with only Japan still to open among the major markets.

“Junior” is getting grown-up results in the U.K., where 19 days produced $4 million-plus from 345 screens. Coming up to the end of its second week in Germany, it went by the $2.7 million mark and, in a like time frame Down Under, it’s done $1.4 million. All told, the pic has taken $16.5 million.

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