While “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “Contact,” “The Full Monty” and several other U.S. hits continued to reap tidy sums overseas last weekend, Hollywood had to take a back seat to homegrown releases in major European territories.

One highlight was the foreign preem of DreamWorks’ “The Peacemaker,” which hurtled into Israel with a whammo $310,000 in five days on 25, despite heavy floods that affected cinemas in the south. That was distrib United Intl. Pictures’ second-biggest opening of the year there behind “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.”

Taking advantage of a relatively quiet frame for U.S. entries, national films seized pole position in Germany, Italy and France, while in the U.K. local comedy “The Full Monty” maintained its extraordinary run, garnering $2.9 million in its eighth round (slipping a minuscule 6%), cuming $41.2 million.

“Best Friend’s Wedding” stood tall as the top-grossing total abroad, amassing $7.6 million from 1,768 screens, and it carried Hollywood’s colors to top spot in Spain, minting $1.7 million in three days on 177. Columbia TriStar’s second-highest preem ever there behind “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.”

The romantic comedy’s cume vaulted to $57 million, including the U.K.’s $11.4 million, Australia’s $8.6 million, France’s $7.3 million and Japan’s $4 million (the latter two through the third lap).

Firm ‘Contact’

Robert Zemeckis’ “Contact” was the second-highest earner internationally, hauling in $5.7 million from 1,654 screens in 21 markets. The Jodie Foster starrer grossed a buoyant $1.2 million on 194 Down Under and had sturdy bows in Hong Kong ($254,000 on 18) and Portugal ($170,000 on 25, a Warner Bros. record).

Fox’s “Monty” was the No. 3 performer, pulling $5.4 million from eight territories for a $46 million cume. The Sheffield-set laugher tickled Australia’s funny bone to the tune of $1.3 million on 136 screens; including previews on the prior two weekends, the total is $2.1 million. In its soph session in Spain, Fox added 24 screens and takings shot up by 60% to $557,000 on 94, for $1.1 million to date.

In Germany, Teutonic entry “Ballermann 6” pulled $3 million on 471, ahead of soph “Contact’s” $1.7 million on 413 (off 20%), for $4.9 million thus far.

“Fireworks,” Italo director-actor Leonardo Pieraccioni’s followup to megahit “The Cyclone” (which made $44 million in Italy), debuted on home turf with a fiery $5.4 million on 247 screens in the key cities. Nationwide tally wasn’t available.

Gallic debutante “Le Pari” fetched a hearty $966,000 on 48 screens in Paris, No. 1 there (national figures weren’t known at press time). “George of the Jungle” swung into France with a fair $682,000 on 248 ahead of the school vacation, which starts next weekend; its cume is $9.3 million in 10 markets, highlighted by Australia’s $4.9 million.

“Air Force One” harvested $4.3 million at the weekend, lifting its cume to $56.1 million. The presidential actioner scored $908,000 on 99 in the Philippines (the second-highest preem in history there after “Independence Day”) and $265,000 on 45 in Norway.

Greece job

Buena Vista Intl. stablemate “Face/Off” nabbed $4.4 million abroad, spiking the cume to $82.8 million. John Woo’s pic opened at No. 1 in Greece with $249,000 on 23.

“Hercules” expanded to 495 screens in the U.K. aiming to capitalize on the midterm vacation, grossing $2.3 million on 495 for a total of $4.8 million. “Volcano” unearthed $4.1 million from launches in eight markets plus holdovers, propelling the cume to $55.8 million. The openings ranged from Japan’s tepid $1.8 million on 142 to Argentina’s lively $349,000 on 60.

“Men in Black” pocketed $4 million on 1,901 screens and its cume raced to $263 million. “Lost World” climbed to $333.7 million, “Bean” moved up to $115.6 million and “Conspiracy Theory” hit $36.7 million.

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