Opening record set; 'Fifth' rolling on

“The Lost World: Jurassic Park” was heading for a monster foreign preem in Australia last week, while “The Fifth Element” consoled exhibs in a bunch of other markets who complained about the dual impact of great weather and mostly lousy product.

Steven Spielberg’s epic sequel grossed $722,000 on 310 screens May 29 Down Under, a record opening day for distrib United Intl. Pictures, and 25% up on the predecessor’s first day on 192.

The sequel looks likely to top “Jurassic Park’s” four-day haul of A$4.8 million ($3.7 million).

Gaumont’s seemingly critic-proof “Fifth Element” rocketed to an estimated cume of $40 million after muscular entries in Hong Kong, Mexico, Argentina, Malaysia and Colombia.

After three weeks the futuristic actioner has sold nearly 3.9 million tickets for a whammo $24.1 million in France, and in Belgium it has collected $1.7 million.

Apart from “Element” and hot comedy “La Verite Si Ji Mens” (literally, “The Truth If I Lie,” argot from a Jewish rag-trader enclave in Paris where it’s set), French receipts were depressed by sunny weather and the general elections.

‘Power’ weak

“Absolute Power” rolled out on nearly 1,600 screens with figures that suggest it probably won’t be any more potent overseas than domestically, where it fell short of $50 million.

The Clint Eastwood starrer demonstrated more heft in Italy with $1.1 million on 296. The worst showing was Japan’s $659,000 in five days on 88.

Apart from “Power” and soph “Hamlet,” the Italo B.O. was near-comatose.

After doing well in New Zealand, “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” had a hearty $1 million first week on 107 in Australia, second behind “Element” and on a par with “Clueless’ ” debut.

In heat-affected Britain, “Beavis and Butt-head Do America” garnered a mild $1.5 million in six days on 269, while “Jungle 2 Jungle,” “Anna Karenina” and “Space Truckers” bombed.

In its sole foreign engagement to date, “Volcano” had a splendid $2.6 million in two weeks in South Korea.

“Star Wars” had an uneventful start in Malaysia and its gross since reissue hit $98.8 million, but it will have surged past $100 million after weekend bows in Japan and Singapore. “The Empire Strikes Back” moved up to $47 million and “Return of the Jedi” to $33.4 million.

In Japan, “Jerry Maguire” had a solid second round and its foreign total topped $104 million, while “The First Wives Club” made a mere $360,000 in five days on 82, a rare stumble in a journey that has yielded $76 million.

Brazil’s ‘Saint’

“The Saint” launched in Brazil with a bright $388,000 in four days on 77 and Mexico at $387,000 in six days on 120; the tally is $27 million.

“The English Patient” sailed past $135 million, “Dante’s Peak” climbed to $94 million, “William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet” reached $83.6 million, “Liar Liar” got to $35.5 million and “Metro” to $33 million.

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