:”William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet” looks set to be another star performer overseas for Fox if its foreign preems over the weekend are anything to go by.
The post-modern interpretation of the Bard classic took $1.2 million on 154 screens on director Baz Luhrmann’s home turf in Australia after generally good reviews and blanket press coverage of a lavish society masked ball held to launch the romance.
Meanwhile, UIP’s “Daylight,” a disappointment at home, grabbed a very good $1.9 million on 279 prints in its U.K. bow – taking second place behind stayer “101 Dalmatians.”
“Romeo & Juliet” overshadowed the Oz preems of BVI’s Robin Williams starrer “Jack” (cume: $21 million), which laffed $770,000 from 181 sites, WB’s political hot potato “Michael Collins” (four-territory cume: $15.7 million), which incited $561,232 from 92 screens (62% more than the Oz bow of “Schlindler’s List”) and local Judy Davis starrer “Children of the Revolution,” which grabbed a solid $140,000 on 14 prints.
“Romeo & Juliet” also romanced $406,138 on 18 South Korean prints, which like Australia, was Fox’s second-biggest bow in the territory after “Independence Day” (foreign cume: $436.8 million).
Another fabulous foreign bow was Barbra Streisand’s “The Mirror Has Two Faces,” which earned a splashy $570,421 from 96,371 admissions in 81 cinemas in Brazil, while charming a per-screen average of about $4,761 from 19 copies in Israel, a very good showing given recent political strife there.
Near record ‘Jam’
WB’s “Space Jam” (cume: $15.6 million) played out top-ranking Brazilian and Mexican bows, hooping $1.4 million from 122 screens and $1.4 million from 190 screens, the latter of which was Mexico’s second-biggest bow of 1996. Pic also thrilled Argentina with $594,744 from 59 houses, while scoring $245,092 from 75 cinemas in Thailand.
Limited releases of Madonna starrer “Evita” continue to bring holiday cheer to Cinergi, taking an excellent $258,315 from 20 Norwegian prints and a cool $305,455 from 20 Swedish screens, plus a promising $15,000 on its first day in Belgium. The much anticipated musical still is breaking records at London’s Odeon West End, having cumed $753,000 after its second frame.
Elsewhere in Europe, the pre-Christmas box office lull that was widely attributed to a shopping frenzy gave way to New Year cheer as people – possibly tired of gifts, eating and family – fled to cinemas.
For instance, Spain, which was particularly soft before Christmas, staged some of the week’s most stunning turnarounds. Witness Fox’s “The Truth About Cats and Dogs” (cume: $20.1 million), which rose 121% in its second lap to take $330,000 from 77 prints, and “Jack,” which increased 20% to nab $620,000 from 131 copies.
Also in Spain, Danny De Vito starrer “Matilda” (estimated cume: $13.5 million) rose 40% to take $509,598 from 120 prints, while staging dramatic turnarounds in Belgium, Holland and the U.K. to take $141,266 from 35 screens, $192,198 from 47 houses and $1.6 million from 255 prints, respectively.
Barking up the right territory
Glenn Close starrer “101 Dalmatians” (10-territory cume: $31.1 million) provided BVI with its biggest Colombian bow ever, barking $475,000 from 45 screens, the latest in a string of pleasing South American results. The doggy pic, which took $6.5 million over the weekend, rose 40% in its fourth Aussie lap and increased 11% in the U.K. (local cume: $15.5 million), while falling an OK 20% after a big Brazilian bow.
Besides its U.K. performance, “Daylight” (26-market cume: $37 million) had good to excellent bows in Argentina ($336,221 on 30 screens), Brazil ($721,132 on 92), Thailand ($872,330 on 81) and Australia ($1.8 million on 171). The film also took an outstanding $3.9 million from 182 screens in its first six days in Japan, while rising 7% in France, 65% in Holland and 14% in Italy, and falling just 2% in Spain.
UIP’s “Star Trek: First Contact” (five-market cume: $25 million) beamed a stellar $315,491 from 28 sites for Paramount’s biggest bow ever in New Zealand, where “The Frighteners” (from Kiwi native Peter Jackson) scared an excellent $309,480 from 37 screens, making it the most successful Kiwi film ever at the local box office and Universal’s third-biggest bow behind “Jurassic Park” and “Twister.”
Mel Gibson starrer “Ransom” (cume: $24.6 million) gave BVI its second-biggest live-action bow ever behind “Die Hard With a Vengeance” in Norway, where it stole $325,000 from 50 screens (which is also that market’s fourth-largest bow of 1996), while rising 21% and retaining top spot in its second lap in Sweden.
‘Hunchback’ bucks up
BVI’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (cume: $181 million) staged some stunning increases, rising 35% in its fourth Italian lap and 15% in its fifth French round for local cumes of $20.5 million and $31.5 million, respectively, while falling an OK 15% in Germany, where the local cume is $13.5 million.
Polygram’s “Portrait of a Lady” (cume: $5.6 million, all but a million of that from a good nine weeks in Italy), charmed $23,198 from six Portuguese screens before Christmas, while stablemate “Sleepers” (cume: $38.9 million) drew $139,562 and $166,775 from 48 and 24 prints in South Africa and Denmark, respectively.
Also in South Africa, UIP’s “The Nutty Professor” (cume: $124.7 million) inflated $276,190 from 54 screens. UIP’s “The First Wives Club” (cume: $36.2 million) rose 25% after its second lap in Germany to steal $8.6 million from 408 screens, while “The Birdcage” (cume: $61.2 million) fell just 14% after its first lap in Japan for a 13-day cume of $2 million.