'World' tops $200 mil o'seas, 'Men' muscular

Only the toughest beasts and villains could stand the heat during a wilting European frame at the foreign box office. The most notable victors were Sony’s “Men in Black” and UIP’s “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” which became the first blockbuster to surpass $200 million overseas this year, while Polygram’s “Bean” wowed its home audience in the U.K.

“The Lost World” (cume: $217.9 million) stole the show in Germany, roaring a huge $11.9 million in its first week (although the opening weekend figures were behind “Jurassic Park” and “Independence Day”). Dino pic smashed “Gridlock’d,” with a limp $63,966 on 40 (11-territory cume: $1 million). “World” also grossed $1.8 million from 100 Austrian sites, and $783,922 from 62 houses in German-speaking Switzerland

‘Bat’ blockbuster

“Batman & Robin” became the 11th title to join the blockbuster club at the overseas box office, swooping in with a cume of $102.6 million after OK holdovers in Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. Not far behind is BVI’s “Con Air” (cume: $82 million), which looks set to fly past $100 million after it takes off in France, Italy and Japan.

Ditto for alien hit “Men in Black,” which zoomed past $85 million. It looks set to reach $100 million next weekend after it blasted away all competish in France, breaking all-time records for first-day ticket sales nationally.

The alien comedy has another frame to itself until the arrival of “Conspiracy Theory” and “Con Air,” as Gauls begin drifting back from vacation.

Apart from the sizzling French outing, Barry Sonnenfeld’s alien comedy posted Sony records in Belgium, with $665,000 on 56 (way ahead of UIP’s “The Chamber’s” $46,855 from 11 screens), and in Malaysia, with $502,000 on 60, and set an all-time high in Israel with $391,000 on 30.

Bean power

The Tommy Lee Jones/Will Smith starrer dipped 51% in its second frame in the U.K. (still posting a huge cume of $29.2 million), where “Grosse Pointe Blank” and “Roseanna’s Grave” wilted under the heat and the competition of a wow bow by “Bean.”

The presence of thesp Rowan Atkinson at the preem and a pre-bow TV program about the whole Bean phenomenon no doubt helped “Bean” (cume: $30 million) overcome the heat and down-beat reviews to bag $7.1 million in its first frame. The opening weekend figure of $4 million (including previews) was a record for a home-grown pic.

“Bean” also chortled $445,606 from 46 Irish screens; $135,689 from 20 prints in Israel (behind “Men In Black”); and $83,925 from previews on 31 Malaysian screens.

After three laps, “Bean” continues to reign in Spain, where despairing exhibs are holding out for the Aug. 22 arrival of “Lost World” to inject some spice into a moribund box office, where “Breakdown,” “Crossworld” and “Dobermann” all bit the dust, and Fox’s “Inventing the Abbots” (four-territory cume: $923,831) took a tepid $270,564 from 77 screens.

Meantime, “The Fifth Element” landed in Norway with an OK $210,000 on 30; its cume is approaching $110 million.

“Conspiracy Theory” nabbed $265,877 from 80 prints in a No. 1 Swedish bow. The heat in Sweden caused holdovers like “Men in Black,” “Liar Liar,” “Scream” and “Speed 2″ to wilt.

Also in Oz, Fox’s “The Van” did an OK $69,792 on 17 screens, ahead of a tepid $39,734 from 11 prints for New Zealand pic “Broken English,” while UIP’s reissue of “The Godfather” grossed $10,469 on one screen.

Fox’s “Speed 2″ (cume: $46 million) splashed a trio of top-placed bows, toplined by $1.8 million from 220 screens in Brazil (Fox’s second-highest entry there behind “Independence Day”), buoyed by a publicity tour by Jason Patric and Sandra Bullock, while zooming $128,565 from 13 prints in Chile and $192,469 from 34 houses in Venezuela.

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