$100 million mania

'Speed 2' hits milestone o'seas; more approach

After an excellent week at the overseas box office, a number of U.S. actioners and romances seem destined to pass $100 million, including Sony’s “My Best Friend’s Wedding” and BVI’s “Face/Off,” “Air Force One” and “Hercules.”

If BVI’s pics do pass $100 million, it will bring the distrib’s number of blockbuster pics this year to six, after “Ransom,” “101 Dalmatians” and “Con Air.”

‘Speed 2’ makes waves

But the newest member of the club is Fox’s “Speed 2: Cruise Control,” which, despite a near universal drubbing by critics, paddled past a cume of $100.6 million, making it the 15th pic to join the foreign blockbuster club this year. Pic staged Fox’s second-best opener in Thailand (behind “Independence Day”), with $730,058 from 97 prints.

Other highlights included WB staging good, but not fabulous, foreign preems for “L.A. Confidential” and Jodie Foster’s Euro tour paying dividends for “Contact,” while, after being beaten by Sony’s “My Best Friend’s Wedding” in France, BVI’s “Air Force One” turned the tables after a breathtaking Taiwan bow.

“Air Force One” elevated $1.7 million from 11 Taiwanese screens and sent “Wedding” tumbling by 41%. “Air Force,” whose Taiwan bow was that nation’s second-biggest preem of all time behind “Mission: Impossible,” also kidnapped a great bow in Holland, $550,000 from 73 sites, although “Wedding” stood its ground, falling just 5%. Pic posted one of the largest opening days ever seen in the Philippines with $211,000 from 82 screens ahead of a German bow.

“Hercules” (cume: $43.8 million) had an animated European preem in the U.K., ahead of school vacations (when its screens will more than double) and next month’s Euro blitz.

The “Hercules” preem was behind the seventh U.K. lap in top spot for Fox’s “The Full Monty” (cume: $39 million), which also stripped good bows in Spain and Norway.Debuting in France during the second lap of “Air Force One” and “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “L.A. Confidential” put up a good fight to rank third behind the dueling holdovers. In Mexico, “L.A. Confidential” was weaker, nabbing $104,298 from 100 prints in its opening weekend, for fifth place behind “Air Force One,” “Contact,” “Mimic” and “Wedding.” In Switzerland, the Russell Crowe starrer garnered a stronger $56,251 from six screens.

‘Wedding’ wows Belgium

“My Best Friend’s Wedding” (cume: $45.7 million) beat the recent Sony record set by “Men in Black” in Belgium, with $685,702 from 45 screens, while laffing $403,220 from 56 prints in the Philippines. But the Julia Roberts starrer came off second best, with a still good $143,097 from 28 sites, in Portugal, where “Face/Off” nabbed $168,000 from 36 sites.

In Spain, Pedro Almodovar’s “Live Flesh” was the top newcomer of the week. “The Full Monty” garnered higher screen averages than “Absolute Power,” while “Mimic” drew a plucky $105,949 from just 13 prints.

Foster’s Euro tour sparked lifelines for “Contact” (cume: $39.5 million), while beaming $400,216 from a top spot bow in 57 Austrian cinemas. Pic also swiped top spot in Finland, with $232,913 from 30 sites, took a good $232,027 from 35 Danish houses and held top spot in Switzerland.

“Men in Black” (foreign cume: $256.2 million and just passing $500 million worldwide) became the first title to draw more than 6 million admissions this year in Germany, while setting Sony records in Croatia and posting industry record bows in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, spooking $335,982 from 42 sites in those markets.

“Face/Off” (cume: $76 million) ripped a $1.5 million top spot bow on 74 Swedish screens, wowed a top South African bow and tripled the results of “Con Air” and “Broken Arrow” in Italy, where it was the best bow.

Italian sophomores “Men in Black” and “G.I. Jane” had healthy second seshes, while WB’s “Fathers’ Day” was weak.

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