'Element' bucks weak sesh; 'Volcano' hot in Asian bow

“The Fifth Element” continued on a tear last week, but some of the other films launched at Cannes had underwhelming debuts, while the European B.O. generally was flattened by brilliant summer weather.

Among the frame’s few highlights, “Volcano” had an incandescent foreign preem in South Korea and “Jerry Maguire’s” overseas cume topped $100 million (the fifth click to reach that milestone this year), powered by an excellent $2.6 million five-day take on 179 screens in Japan.

Luc Besson’s “Fifth Element” scored $2.2 million on 189 in Australia, Columbia TriStar’s fourth-highest opener ever behind “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” “Jerry Maguire” and “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” and had impressive launches in Brazil, Singapore and Puerto Rico.

Other Oz distribs ran for cover, dumping dead-weights “The Chamber,” “My Fellow Americans” and “The Stupids,” while “Howard Stern’s Private Parts” plunged by 47% after a dire debut and “The Relic” fell by 49% in its second after a so-so start.

Besson’s actioner sold more than 2.9 million tickets in two weeks in France for an awesome $19 million (slipping 27%), and the 13-day cume in Belgium is $1.5 million (off just 15%).

Cannes can’t

Yet Gallic exhibs said the three-day weekend and “Element” failed to reanimate generally weak trading. There was a frosty reception to other Cannes titles, including Mathieu Kassovitz’s critically panned “Assassin(s)” and the Ewan McGregor-Greta Scacchi vehicle “The Serpent’s Kiss.”

Kenneth Branagh’s four-hour “Hamlet” fetched a moderate $66,000 at five theaters in its first week; the two-hour version bows May 28.

In Germany, one booker groused, “May is always bad, but this year is worse because there are no blockbusters,” compounded by the weather and the distractions of community festivals. “Metro” had a pretty good second outing (off 40%) for $3.8 million to date: Its foreign cume is $31 million.

“Beavis and Butt-head Do America” is doing it tough thus far, stiffing in Germany and the Philippines, and has scraped together $3.9 million from eight markets.

“Volcano” ran hot in South Korea for $1.3 million in five days on 54, Fox Intl.’s second-highest debut after “Independence Day,” and 30% up on “Dante’s Peak’s” entry.

“Jungle 2 Jungle” swung into the Philippines with $281,000 in eight days on 17, a fair result for a comedy in a predominantly action market, after eking out a tepid $406,000 in Taiwan. The Tim Allen starrer is having its mettle tested over the weekend in the U.K., Brazil, Hong Kong and Singapore.

In an unexceptional week in the U.K., “Liar Liar” ($12.1 million in 20 days) and “Scream” ($7.5 million in the same period) both showed legs. “The Relic” had a decent entry, while Polygram stablemate “When We Were Kings” came out fighting with $172,000 in six days on 19. “High School High” was dismal and bad word of mouth squeezed the life out of “Anaconda,” which tumbled by 52% in its sophomore sesh.

Tom Shadyac’s “Liar Liar” minted a merry $881,000 on 71 in the Netherlands, $402,000 in eight days in 43 in Indonesia and $261,000 on 30 in six in Portugal; the foreign total is $30.3 million in 21 territories.

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