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Upscale Pix Draw Big Euro Crowds

Sorry Sly, you’ve been bested in Japan by that upstart Jim Carrey.

Stallone’s “The Specialist” drilled an imposing $3 million in the first six days on 122 screens, but was outgunned by “The Mask,” which pocketed $4.4 million in the second round on 142, for a smashing $9 million cume.

In the overseas B.O. league, the Carrey laffer vaulted to $158.3 million, while Stallone’s meller joined the $100 million grossers’ club, tallying $101.6 million.

Among other foreign cumes, “Forrest Gump” climbed to $222 million, “Speed” advanced to $204.5 million, “Interview With the Vampire” has $114 million and “Junior” $67.6 million.

“Disclosure” was off 28% in its sophomore sesh on 133 prints in Japan for a cume of $4 million. Barry Levinson’s pic will join the $100 million ranks by March 13, standing at $99.2 million through March 9. “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” dipped by 26% in the fourth, $11.1 million total, $60 million overseas.

Meanwhile, Europeans and Aussies flocked to upscale entries “Pret-a-Porter,” “Nell” and “Legends of the Fall.” French auds, predominantly young, ignored the downbeat critics and turned out for “Pret-a-Porter,” resulting in a classy $2.2 million debut on 185 screens. Miramax Intl. held a press junket for the fashion industry satire in Paris, with director Robert Altman on hand. However, Altman’s pic started to fade entering the second week, indicating poor word-of-mouth: the same pattern in Australia. Rookie “The Shawshank Redemption” struggled, while one exhib said Fox’s “Far From Home” was a disaster.

In the U.K., “Pret-a-Porter” began stylishly in London but was less chic in the provinces. “Natural Born Killers” fell by 29% in the second lap on 204 prints for a cume of $4.7 million. Foreign total: $36.2 million.

“Nell” nabbed a strong $838,200 in the first three days on 105 screens in Spain, and $178,000 in three on 81 in Mexico. Michael Apted’s pic had excellent second rounds in Germany, France, Switzerland, and Belgium, but continued to lose steam in Australia, sliding 33% in the fourth outing on 99, $2.7 million to date.

“Legends of the Fall” collected $1.7 million on 133 Down Under – Columbia TriStar’s fourth biggest preem ever behind “Terminator 2,” “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and “Cliffhanger” – and hooked auds aged 15 through 45, plus some 50-plus Anthony Hopkins admirers. Ed Zwick’s epic also wowed Argentina with $340,000 in the first week at 12 theaters.

Rookie “Demon Knight” didn’t scare many Aussies, while of the sophomores, “Bullets Over Broadway” was fairly steady and “Speechless” was terrible.

“Muriel’s Wedding,” which wound in Australia with a juicy $11.2 million, has pocketed a healthy $3.4 million in France and $2.6 million in six weeks in Germany. P.J. Hogan’s Aussie fable is courting admirers in Spain, taking $197,250 in 13 days at eight theaters. “Bullets Over Broadway” had an OK bow in Spain with $145,000 in three days on 29.

“Women” well

In Italy, “Nell” led the pack in its third weekend, $3.4 million cume. “Little Women” looked fairly good in its first major foreign date, better than “Age of Innocence,” which became a sizable earner. But Gillian Armstrong’s pic trailed fellow freshers “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare” and “Men, Men, Men,” the latter hyped as the first mainstream Italo pic dealing with contempo gay lifestyles. Comedy about four friends got an extra boost when one of the leads, TV star Leo Gullotta, disclosed he’s gay to the national press.

“Un Eroe Borghese” (loosely, “Middle Class Hero”), actor-director Michele Placido’s gripping tale of the assassination of a Milanese lawyer who was probing the Sindona bank scandal, got massive press coverage and decent B.O.

“Speech” impediment

“Speechless” had a mute debut, despite an attempt to conjure up a “When Harry Met Sally” effect using the lame local title “Ciao Julia, It’s Kevin.”

A consistent performer in Europe, “Quiz Show” ventured into Korea with an encouraging $64,000 in five days at two cinemas and into Taiwan with $194,000 in four days at nine.

“Streetfighter” drew more than 1 million people in the first week on 71 screens in the Philippines for a potent $1 million.

In Holland “Star Trek Generations” launched with a fine $277,600 on 30 screens, while “Dumb and Dumber” pulled $634,000 in the second round on 75, $1.2 million cume.

“Dumb” is a hoot in Brazil, too, notching $1.8 million in nine days on 80. The latest “Trek” saga has amassed $22.4 million in six territories.

German exhibs had a good week, highlighted by “Nell’s” superb second frame, and a surprisingly solid preem by “Highlanders.”

One booker said the new “Highlander” is getting better reviews and audience response than its predecessor, while another expects it to drop sharply after a couple of weeks.

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