‘Pocahontas’ The Darling Of O’seas Auds

Buena Vista’s “Pocahontas” is set to become the lucky 13th title to notch $100 million at the overseas box office, after fanning out across Europe last week to post a foreign tally of $98 million and survive a French B.O. massacre caused by a general strike.

In France, “Pocahontas” garnered top spot, after its well-crafted tryouts accompanied by live shows, ahead of “Nine Months” (cume, $32.6 million), which checked in around $6 million lower at third spot, while “Johnny Mnemonic” came in fifth, “Crossing Guard” seventh and “Kids” ninth. Also slaughtered was WB’s “Something to Talk About,” which trailed other openers, but fared much better in Portugal, OK in New Zealand and so-so in Thailand; cume is $10.2 million.

The native princess was the only pic to hold its own during France’s industrial-relations mayhem, which has eliminated all public transport, caused mega traffic jams and seen workers take to the streets in a standoff against the conservative government’s austerity program, producing box office results that themselves appear to be on strike.

Ticket sales plunged into the hundreds, with most of the suburban auds stranded in traffic jams or at home, while glittering new displays for “Mnemonic” in the Champs Elysee were deserted. Particularly hard hit were inner-city arthouse theaters (some of which canceled screenings), while suburban houses outperformed their city counterparts for the first time ever, particularly with “Pocahontas,” as stranded parents entertained teacherless children.

“Pocahontas” also charmed its way into Italy’s top spot with a glittering bow, performing especially well rurally and often outperforming “The Lion King.” “Under Siege 2” (released locally as “Trap in the Rocky Mountains”) widened to 34 screens to garner decent results, as did “A Walk in the Clouds” (rising 61% in its second lap, but fared rather ordinarily in its bow in Portugal; cume, $34.4 million).

In Germany, “Seven” bowed strongly to take top spot and sap auds from “Species,” which fell to fourth, while “Pocahontas” debuted outside the major cities to take second spot; “The Santa Clause” (cume is $15 million, ahead of U.K. and Italy bows) fell to third spot.

German distribs, who complained of a lack of fare during the summer, now say they are having pics thrown at them and are finding it difficult to make the most of each release. Market can only become more crowded with the coming releases of “Babe” and “Nine Months.”

“Seven” can’t seem to put a foot wrong in its overseas campaign, also racking up excellent bows in South Africa and the Philippines, while taking a promising $98,917 on its first day in 17 Hong Kong theaters; cume is $17.9 million.

UIP’s “Goldeneye” had a phenomenally successful U.K. bow at top spot, elbowing BVI’s stayer “Crimson Tide” (foreign tally, $61 million) aside and posting the biggest non-holiday six-day gross in the history of British cinema. “Species” had a monster bow in Japan, Israel and Finland and turned in good performances in its South African and Swedish bows; cume is $43.7 million.

In Greece, UIP’s “Apollo 13” blasted off with $242,084 from 15 screens, boosting the cume to $148 million, with Fox’s “Braveheart” bagging $123,795 from 10 screens, ahead of its weekend bow in Italy; cume, $93.8 million.

UIP’s “Jade” finally caught a glimpse of sparkle in its three-screen Swiss opening (average: $16,399), taking the cume to $5.2 million, ahead of a badly timed French bow this weekend.

CTSI’s “Bad Boys” wowed China grabbing $601,055 from 107 screens, boosting the foreign tally to $69.6 million, while WB’s “Assassins” took a respectable $154,797 in three days from 32 Indonesian theaters and wowing Norway (screen average $11,434) to boost the cume to $41.9 million.

CTSI’s “The Money Train” sped well Down Under, boosting the two-territory cume to $784,201, behind “Seven,” which in its fourth lap clung to top spot. Also in Oz, CTSI’s “The Usual Suspects” held firm in its sixth lap, dropping only 14%, but stablemate “Desperado” plunged 63% in its third round and out of the top 10 after good bows in Taiwan and Sweden and a stronger bash in Argentina; cume is $11.8 million.

Also Down Under, rookie “Johnny Mnemonic” confounded the critics to debut at third spot, while Goldwyn’s “The Madness of King George” increased 6% in its fourth lap, in stark contrast to Warner Bros.’ “Fair Game,” which plunged 53% in its second round.

New Line’s “Dumb and Dumber” posted cume of $118.5 million, while Fox’s “The Net” and “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie” checked in with $37.8 million and $23.9 million, respectively.

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