‘Element’ in style

O'seas B.O. buoys Willis pic, eludes Stern

The Cannes festival proved to be a terrific launching pad for “The Fifth Element,” which had a record-busting debut in France and impressive bows in Belgium and Switzerland.

Meantime, it was a case of Howard who? in Australia, as “Howard Stern’s Private Parts” had a joyless preem in its first major engagement overseas.

In a generally spotty frame, “Anaconda” showed little bite in its U.K. opening, “Metro” had a muscular launch in Germany, and “The Saint” had a moderately good start in Italy.

Luc Besson’s epic sold 1.5 million tickets in five days in France and amassed $9.5 million, beating “Independence Day’s” previous high of $8.1 million. The sci-fier snared $622,000 in four days on 48 in Belgium (a record for a BVI live-action pic, besting “Ransom”) and sold a healthy 33,500 tix in four days in Switzerland.

Stern’s comedy grossed $232,000 on 100 screens Down Under, a poor return for distrib Roadshow, which mounted a big ad-pub campaign. The shock jock’s film didn’t register either in Taiwan ($60,000 on 13) or in Thailand (where its first weekend generated a mere $25,000 on 19). Rysher will be hoping for better luck as the pic continues to roll out later this month and in June.

‘Relic’ musty

“The Relic” bowed with $526,000 on 95, rated by exhibs as a bit below expectations; “Donnie Brasco” held top spot in its second weekend, tallying a robust $1.6 million in 11 days.

“Anaconda” invaded Blighty with $920,000 on 243, well behind “Liar Liar,” which has bagged a socko $8.3 million in 10 days (off just 14%) and “Scream’s” $4.4 million in the same period. Columbia’s snake saga has taken a fine $1.1 million in Hong Kong and $747,000 in Puerto Rico, both through the third weekend. Wes Craven’s “Scream” has cumed $16 million abroad. “Kolya” had a promising $103,000 preem at 11 theaters in the U.K.

“Metro” nabbed $2.1 million on 483 in Germany and $257,000 on 55 in Thailand, and its cume reached $26 million. Still to play in France and Belgium, the Eddie Murphy starrer is certain to overtake its domestic result of $32 million.

“The Saint” made $622,000 in three days on 149 in Italy, and in its second round had a dull $1.8 million in Germany, a lively $1.5 million in South Korea, $1 million in Thailand and $684,000 in Singapore. The total is $18.5 million in 14 territories.

Heady company

“Liar Liar” has collared $20.1 million in 13 markets and entered Denmark with a sizzling $309,000 on 41: Universal’s third-highest opening ever there, behind “Jurassic Park” and “Twister.”

“The Return of the Jedi” took off in South with a so-so $236,000 on 20 and in Argentina at $101,000 on 27. Its $3.6 million weekend haul propelled the total since re-release to $28.2 million. In their reissues, “Star Wars” moved up to $98 million and “The Empire Strikes Back” to $44.9 million.

“William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet” entered Hong Kong with a tame $174,000 on 10 but has fetched a rousing $5.8 million after the fourth frame in Japan, $10 million in Germany and $9.5 million in the U.K. Cume is $77.7 million.

Actioner “Double Team” wowed Malaysia with $367,000 on 47 (a Columbia TriStar record, eclipsing “Jumanji”) but took a tepid $181,000 on 22 in Hong Kong, where Jean-Claude Van Damme reportedly is not a major draw.

“Selena” abated by just 22% in its sophomore session in Mexico, tallying $1.6 million. The total in three markets is $2.7 million.

“The English Patient” hit $124.7 million, with Germany and the U.K. as the top contributors at $18.7 million apiece. After the second weekend wide in Japan, the score is a nifty $4.4 million.

Checking other cumes, “Jerry Maguire” stands at $94.5 million, “Dante’s Peak” has $88.7 million, “The Devil’s Own” is at $79.1 million and “Mars Attacks!” got to $61.7 million.

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