The summer season, now at the midway point, is shaping up more potently abroad than domestically, as continued multiplexing and better-spaced release skeds are enabling the big U.S. films to realize greater potential.

More record-shattering bows by “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and generally strong preems by “Batman & Robin” and “Con Air” kept the foreign B.O. on the boil last week.

“Lost World” went into the record books in Hong Kong, with $3.6 million on 41 screens, evidently a welcome distraction from the handover ceremonies. That’s the best opening week in the territory’s history, including the highest single day tally of $615,000 on July 1, UIP reported. Already the dino pic has generated 46% of the lifetime gross of “Jurassic Park,” the current all-time champ there.

Steven Spielberg’s epic set industry highs in Argentina ($1.4 million on 51), South Africa ($936,000 in six days on 87: 42% ahead of its predecessor), Venezuela ($413,000 on 39) and Indonesia ($414,000 in two days on 95).

Big Mexico bow

The six-day Mexico bow of $3.4 million on 321 was the biggest ever in local currency, and New Zealand’s $940,000 in seven days on 43 was a UIP record. In Taiwan, the pic abated by a reasonable 25% for a huge $9.2 million in 12 days, and in nine days became the fastest ever to notch 100 million Taiwan dollars in Taipei (beating “Die Hard With a Vengeance,” which got there in 15 days). There was a 31% drop in Brazil for a 12-day take of $6.2 million. The foreign total surged to $64.8 million.

“Batman & Robin” bagged a phenomenal $10.9 million in six days from 720 screens in the U.K.: the widest-ever release there, and the second-highest preem in history behind “Independence Day.”

The comic book actioner’s $4.5 million on 269 in Australia ranked as the seventh-best opening week of all time, about 11% below the debut of “Batman Forever.” In Germany, the score was a good but not extraordinary $3.1 million on 627, and Spain weighed in with $1.9 million on 204. Adding in terrific openings in Puerto Rico and Austria, “Batman & Robin” amassed $21.7 million.

‘Bean’ preem stunning

:Polygram’s comedy “Bean” had a stunning world preem in Oz July 3, hyped by a visit by topliner Rowan Atkinson and helmer Mel Smith, minting an estimated $600,000 on 174.

“Con Air” stole $2 million on 45 in South Korea (the third-best bow ever behind “Independence Day” and “Lost World”), $1.2 million on 77 in Sweden (including the highest opening weekend so far this year) and $910,000 on 92 in Holland, all in six days. The Nicolas Cage starrer slipped by 27% in its second in Spain for $2.8 million to date; the cume is $39.8 million.

Animated pic “Hercules” landed in Brazil with a solid $772,000 in six days on 180. In its sophomore sesh in Israel it expanded from three to five theaters and tallied $158,000, and in Colombia reached $945,000.

‘Speed 2′ debuts strongly

In its offshore debuts, “Speed 2: Cruise Control” garnered an encouraging $611,000 in three days on 37 in Singapore and a hot $147,000 in the first day on 54 in the Philippines.

Stablemate “Volcano” sank by 40% Down Under as the Batpic cruised in for an OK $1.9 million in two weeks. Its four-territory cume is $14.3 million.

“Liar Liar” stepped up to the bar in France with a fine $3.9 million on 340; cume is $77.2 million. “The Saint” moved up to $44.4 million after taking a subdued $962,000 in five days on 108 in Japan. “The Devil’s Own” topped $94 million but fell by 41% in the U.K. for $2.4 million in 10 days.

“The Lady and the Tramp” reissue collected a mild $1.2 million on 290 in France but jumped by 45% in its second outing in Spain for $938,000 thus far.

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