‘Star Trek’ Fever Hits German B.O.

Young and old, they came in droves to the preem of “Star Trek Generations” in Germany and the U.K. last week. Some ardent fans wore costumes in homage to the series, and a few light-fingers made off with posters from German cinemas.

One Teutonic exhib compared audience enthusiasm for the new “Trek” saga to “Jurassic Park’s” frenzied debut. The Paramount pic scored $5 million on 402 prints. Over in the U.K., “Trek’s” six-day tally was $4.3 million on 326. The fresh cast and TV series seem to be winning a whole new generation of Trekkies.

Pitched against the Starship crew in Germany, “Richie Rich” did surprisingly well, drawing vacationing kids and their parents for $1.7 million on 349.

It was a generally sublime week overseas as “The Lion King” accumulated another $4.4 million to perch on $420.4 million, en route to a staggering $200 million in rentals; “The Mask” raced on to $145.4 million; “Interview With the Vampire” flew to $109.7 million; “Pulp Fiction” hit $67 million; “Disclosure” neared $73 million; “Junior” reached $61.5 million; and “Stargate” ascended to $49 million.

After “Forrest Gump’s” 13 Oscar noms, UIP plans to book Robert Zemeckis’ fable as widely as possible two weeks prior to the March 27 Academy Awards. Last week its overseas cume was $213.2 million, with Japan looming March 11.

Aussie exhibs said there was a noticeable uplift after the Oscar announcements for best picture contenders “Gump” (entering its 14th lap), “Pulp Fiction” (week 13) and “Quiz Show.”

Among the week’s casualties were “Mixed Nuts” in Australia (ineffectually retitled “Lifesavers” to tie in with a cereal promotion), “Nostradamus” Down Under, Denmark and Finland, and “Drop Zone” in Italy. UIP clearly had no prescient powers when it picked up “Nostradamus.”

The mood was euphoric in France where, unusually, five films are taking big money simultaneously. Ticket sales in Paris rocketed to nearly 1 million, fueled by the annual promotion where all 6 p.m. sessions were half-price.

Raking in the dough are freshers “Gazon Maudit” (a comedy about a married couple and a lesbian interloper entwined in a romantic triangle) and “Disclosure”; second-lappers “Stargate” and the Vanessa Paradis/Gerard Depardieu starrer “Elisa”; and long-legged laffer “Un Indien dans la Ville.”

Australian cinemas thrived as “Ready to Wear (Pret-a-Porter)” came down the catwalk in its first foreign date with a sparkling $17,089 average on 46 screens. “Nell” averaged a sturdy $9,260 on 104 after distrib REP junked the U.S. campaign and sold the pic on the B.O. appeal of Jodie Foster and Liam Neeson. “Stargate” launched Feb. 16 with an estimated $306,000 on 125 – the sixth-biggest opening day ever, according to distrib Roadshow.

Buena Vista Intl.’s sleeper actioner “Terminal Velocity” detonated $775,000 in six days on 112 in Spain and $395,000 in five days on 51 in Holland; the latter was the third-best live-action debut in BVI history. Foreign total is $23.5 million and heading for $40 million.

“Leon” (titled “The Professional” in the U.S.) widened to 181 screens in its second lap in the U.K., nabbing a fine $1.4 million, $1.65 million cume. Peter Jackson’s “Heavenly Creatures” debuted at eight theaters in London for a celestial $165,000 in six days.

In Italy, “Stargate” led the field in its fourth orbit, $13.5 million to date. Correctly anticipating a bunch of Oscar noms, Penta launched “The Shawshank Redemption” (with the more appealing moniker “The Wings of Freedom”) for a mild $6,181 weekend average at nine sites. In the first simultaneous release of a Golden Harvest pic across Southeast Asia, coinciding with Lunar New Year, the Jackie Chan starrer “Rumble in the Bronx” delivered good numbers. Results included $1.7 million in the first week on 200 prints in 10 cities in China (double GH’s previous release there, “Drunken Master 2,” which had been widely pirated), $5.9 million in 26 days in Hong Kong, $4.5 million in Taiwan and $1.9 million in Malaysia. It was a worthwhile exercise, said Golden Harvest, but this won’t become a trend because it’s costly and is justified only by a star of Chan’s wattage.

“Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” hit paydirt in Japan with $1.8 million in the first weekend on 102 screens after an aggressive ad campaign and visits by Kenneth Branagh and Robert De Niro. The monster tale checked into Italy with a lusty $1.2 million in five days on 103 (better than “Wolf,” which clicked there) and its overseas total moved to $44 million.

The unflagging “Speed” grabbed $1.7 million in its 11th weekend in Japan, $58.7 million to date; foreign cume stood at $197.6 million through Feb. 16 and should peak at $200 million by Feb. 20.

Japan is giving Oliver Stone and Warner Bros, some solace as “Natural Born Killers” eased by just 6% in the second lap on 68 for $2 million cume; however, the foreign total is a wan $27.7 million.

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