Action, romance take world’s B.O. by storm

In a frantically busy weekend frame overseas, “Men in Black” notched stupendous preems in Germany, Austria and Australia, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park’s” cume topped $300 million, and “Face/Off” and “Air Force One” had good-to-great bows.

Adding a dash of romantic comedy to the action mix, “My Best Friend’s Wedding” began its Latin American festivities with a terrif $1.3 million on 181 screens in Brazil — the fourth-highest debut of the year there — and $742,000 on 202 in Mexico. That brings the four-territory cume for P.J. Hogan’s pic to $4 million.

“Men in Black” smashed all-time industry records in Germany with $12.7 million on a massive 885 screens (beating “Independence Day’s” bow) and Austria at $985,000 on 85.

Down Under, the Will Smith/Tommy Lee Jones starrer scored $4.6 million on 371, the territory’s widest release ever and the second-largest opening in history behind “Day.”

Lauding the efforts of his marketing teams out in those fields, Columbia TriStar Intl. president Duncan Clark said, “The film does cross borders but it’s great when you create your own impetus in each market.”

Barry Sonnenfeld’s sci-fi comedy’s total sped to $182 million, including the U.K.’s $53.4 million, France’s $28 million and Spain’s $9.8 million. With Italy and Japan to come, expect this monster eventually to exceed $300 million, eclipsing the domestic result.

“Lost World” reached a lofty $301.2 million, propelled by Italy’s hot $6.7 million after 10 days on 412 (off just 17%), Finland’s $997,000 in 10 days and Norway’s three-day tally of $683,000 on 59 — a UIP record and the territory’s second-highest debut behind “Independence Day.”

Handled overseas by Buena Vista Intl., “Face/Off” launched in France with a very good $2.2 million on 405, while Mexico delivered $757,000 on 246 (a record for a BVI live-action release) and Belgium notched $494,000 on 69, the best September preem in history.

All told, John Woo’s pic garnered $5.9 million over the weekend, elevating the cume to $37.4 million.

“Air Force One,” also fielded by BVI, had flying starts in South Korea ($1.1 million on 45, repping the third-highest debut ever in Seoul) and Hong Kong ($815,000 on 34, the best September start by any U.S. pic). The Harrison Ford starrer minted a solid $2.7 million on 484 in the U.K., a better bow than “The Rock” and “Con Air” but below “The Full Monty,” which reaped a remarkable $2.9 million in its third weekend on 254; the Brit comedy’s 17-day cume is a socko $12.5 million. BVI believes the Blighty campaign for “Air Force One” suffered from the saturation media coverage of the death of Princess Diana, and the pic should show its true colors in its second weekend.

Wolfgang Petersen’s actioner garnered $6.2 million over the weekend for a six-territory total of $12.3 million. In Spain, the 10-day tally is a robust $3.8 million (down 23%).

Warner Bros.’ “Contact” landed in Japan with an estimated $1.5 million in two days on 160, placed third in Tokyo behind “The Fifth Element” and Nippon animated click “The Phantom Princess.” The Jodie Foster vehicle nabbed $193,000 in 20 in Argentina and has $228,000 after the second weekend in Colombia.

‘Bean’ counter

“Con Air” hovered on the brink of the $100 million club with $99.2 million and should reach that peak on Thursday. Polygram’s comedy “Bean” is pressing its claim to join that circle, amassing $7.7 million on 2,186 screens overseas over the weekend; its cume is $91.3 million, including a boffo $20.5 million after 18 days in Germany (off 34%), $1.6 million in 10 days in Sweden and $1.8 million in 17 days in Switzerland.

Nearing the end of its foreign journey, “Liar Liar” stepped up to the bar in Taiwan with a sturdy $506,000 in two days on 41; the cume is $113.1 million.

In Warner’s stable, “Batman & Robin” reached $118.3 million after a fine bow in Greece and a solid third in Italy, “Conspiracy Theory” moved up to $23.6 million and “Addicted to Love” to $22.5 million.

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