Pre-Holiday Cheer Lifts O’seas B.O.

The B.O. across Europe and in many other territories bubbled with festive cheer last week, fueled by U.S. family films and adventures, plus a few local entries.

“Pocahontas” looks to end the year as the No. 1 title of 1995 abroad after grabbing pole position in eight of the 10 major European markets. Also in the hunt are the reborn James Bond vehicle “Goldeneye” and farmyard fable “Babe.”

The Disney animated juggernaut surged to $132.1 million and is poised to overtake the $141 million domestic cume; it’s shooting for north of $200 mill.

Spanish tradesters celebrated one of the year’s best trading sessions, paced by local hero “Two Much,” which scored $4 million in 10 days on 130. Fernando Trueba’s comedy is on track to become the highest-grossing Spanish pic of all time. “Pocahontas” had a splendid fourth frame on 203, advancing to $10.8 million, while Disney stablemate “The Santa Clause” wound its second lap on 128 with a jolly $2.4 million.

“The American President” registered a so-so $1.4 million in 10 days on 159; one booker opined Rob Reiner’s pic suffers from going against “Nine Months” and from auds’ failure to see the humor in a comedy about the world’s most powerful politician, who gets Annette Bening in the bargain. The Michael Douglas starrer had a mild start in the U.K., overshadowed by 007.

“Goldeneye” smashed various records, unspooling in Sweden ($1.7 million in six days on 80, the third-biggest opening ever); Holland ($1.4 million on 92, UIP’s second-highest bow); Singapore ($1.3 million on 33, the second-largest preem in history); and Brazil ($963,000 in five days on 128, the best start ever by a Bond pic). Adding in potent openings in Indonesia ($285,000 in two days on 80), Israel, Portugal, Argentina and a strapping third frame in Britain, the cume is $26 million and rising fast.

“Babe” drew hordes of families in Germany and Austria (the first film dubbed in the local language using Austrian accents and dialects, per UIP). Chris Noonan’s pic withstood Bond’s arrival in Singapore fairly well, hauling in $885,000 in two weeks on 16. Teutonic bookers said overall biz was up on the previous frame despite widely watched telecasts of a soccer game and a boxing bout, and snow and ice in the northeast of the country. Fresher “The Indian in the Cupboard” struggled against the glut of kidpix, including “The Santa Clause,” which had a buoyant sophomore session.

Aussie exhibs rated “Toy Story’s” preem as very encouraging, considering it had to do battle with weekend sneaks of “Babe” before it rolled out Dec. 14. Bookers expect both titles to go through the roof from Dec. 26. “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls” had a good second round after its massive debut. The Jim Carrey comedy invaded German-speaking Switzerland with a beefy $255,000 on 22, and held OK in its second on 72 in Thailand for $822,000.

Ticket sales in Paris rose marginally to 602,000 – some feat in view of the transport strikes.

“Pocahontas” slipped 22% in its third frame, while “The Santa Clause” had a cheerful preem (foreign cume: $28.3 million).

In lively trading in Italy, “Casper” initialed with a nifty $1.4 million on 75 screens, and “Pocahontas” vaulted to $7.2 million in its fourth, now on 133. “Braveheart” reached $101 million, driven by a lusty second tour of duty in Italy, tallying $3.3 million on 199. “The Bridges of Madison County” hit $102 million.

In Japan, “While You Were Sleeping” slipped just 4% in its second weekend on 105, totaling $3.5 million there, $94 million abroad. “Four Rooms,” in its offshore preem, cornered a fine $566,000 in three days at just 29 theaters and will expand to 60 prints over the next two weeks. “Godzilla Versus Destroyer,” the latest in the long-running “Godzilla” series, launched with a fair $912,000 in four days in nine key cities; a national tally wasn’t available.

“Clueless” looks like it lost something in the translation, taking just $36,000 in five days at three Tokyo theaters before the Dec. 23 national preem.

“Bad Boys” continues to rake in coin in China, nabbing $2.3 million through the third weekend, now on 140. Chinese receipts are about to mow down the tally in Japan, which was $2.4 million through the fourth round, admittedly in a market where you wouldn’t expect a black-themed, no-stars pic to click.

It isn’t just popcorn fare that’s making money overseas. Distribs are finding profitable niches for a few specialized titles such as “Smoke,” which has coined $9.7 million, including $3.4 million in Germany and $1 million apiece in Germany and Spain.

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