O’seas rebound boosting ‘Bat’

The summer B.O. season overseas has hit top gear this month, delivering big paydays for “Batman & Robin,” which appears to be redeeming itself abroad after its plummet to earth domestically, and a clutch of other U.S. heavy-hitters.

For “Lost World: Jurassic Park,” torrid offshore biz simply piles on the gravy. Judging by “Men in Black’s” scorching debuts in three markets, day-and-date with the U.S., Barry Sonnenfeld’s pic is destined to make a mint.

It’s too early to call “Speed 2: Cruise Control’s” fate, but the omens are bright after splashy starts in five territories. And it is probably safe to say “Hercules” will outperform its U.S. result based on its first forays in Asia and Latin America.

“Batman & Robin” (foreign cume $42 million) eclipsed “Batman Forever’s” preem in Brazil with $3.2 million in six days on 185 (the third highest opening ever behind “Independence Day” and “Lost World”), Thailand at $1.6 million on 148 (second best bow in history after the dino sequel), Colombia with $634,000 in six days on 39, and Switzerland’s $407,000 on 50. It collared a sturdy $315,000 in six days on 40 in Finland but a paltry $209,000 on 69 in Sweden where auds are unmoved by the caped crimefighter.

The holdover figures indicate Joel Schumacher’s extravaganza has stronger playability overseas than at home. Credit that partly to WB Intl.’s aggressive marketing campaign plus co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger’s formidable drawing power, and in some territories, George Clooney’s success in “ER.” Warner execs confidently predict the fourth edition will overtake the predecessor’s $151 million gross.

In the U.K., “Batman & Robin” abated by a reasonable 49% after the second highest opening weekend in history (behind “Independence Day”), tallying $16.5 million in 13 days, although one exhib said poor word-of-mouth was starting to have an affect.

Fox cashed in on Clooney’s p.a. visit to London for the Batpic by releasing “One Fine Day,” drawing lots of females searching for an alternative to action adventures for a sparkling $3 million in six days on 264. The romantic comedy’s cume is $39.3 million.

In Australia, the comic-book actioner fell by 33% for $7.4 million in 14 days, standing up well to Polygram’s comedy “Bean.” In its world preem, “Bean” nabbed a socko $4.9 million on 193, the fourth-best opening week ever. The Rowan Atkinson starrer is slated for Oct. 17 in the U.S.

Warner’s opus held pole position with $5.3 million in 14 days in Germany, where local entry “Bandits” had a mixed reception, rated by one booker as disappointing and by another as satisfying.

In Spain, Schumacher’s pic scored $2.8 million in 13 days, skidding 49%, as “Liar Liar” landed with a jolly $1.8 million in six days on 186, pushing the cume to $86.7 million. However, one exhib complained this year had failed to unearth a single blockbuster comparable to 1996 clicks “Seven” and “Mission: Impossible.”

Pocketing $1.8 million in 17 days, road comedy “Airbag” is shaping as second-highest grossing Spanish pic of the year after “Love Can Seriously Damage Your Health” which made more than $4 million.

“B&R” was headed for a smash weekend in France and the Philippines after opening day hauls of $854,000 on 546 (about 12% up on “Batman Forever’s” first day) and $479,000 on 74, respectively.

“Lost World” surged to $82.8 million abroad, including a mighty $5.6 million in 14 days in Hong Kong, $5.7 million after 13 days in Mexico (off 31% after its record opening), $2.9 million in 14 days in Argentina (up 9%) and $1.7 million in nine days on 110 in Indonesia. Other standouts are New Zealand’s $1.4 million in two weeks and South Africa’s $1.5 million in 13 days.

Steven Spielberg’s epic nabbed $264,000 in six days on 17 days in Chile, that market’s second-highest preem in history behind Fox’s alien invaders, despite the distraction of a Chile vs. Colombia World Cup qualifying football match.

“Men in Black” charged into Denmark with $394,000 on 50 (a Columbia TriStar record weekend besting “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”), Puerto Rico at $686,000 on 47 (the second highest bow ever behind “Independence Day”) and Panama. Morale at Columbia TriStar Intl. understandably was soaring as the sci-fi comedy unspooled at the weekend in Spain, Brazil, South Korea and Sweden.

The “Speed” sequel gave Fox its second-highest bows of all time behind “ID4” in Taiwan ($758,000 in three days on 11), Holland ($776,000 in six days on 74) and Israel ($394,000 in five on 26). The Sandra Bullock starrer also had buoyant bows in Malaysia and the Philippines.

“Hercules” muscled its way into Mexico with $1.5 million in five days on 315, the fifth best launch in history there, and $582,000 in five on 57 in Argentina where it ranks as the second highest debut this year. In Korea, where Western animation hasn’t been widely accepted, it took $588,000 in five days on 17, the widest release and highest opening gross for a Disney animated entry. After 11 days in Brazil, “Herc” has collected a dandy $2.3 million.

“Con Air” reached $51.4 million and, still to roll out of five major markets, is sure to surpass $100 million. The Nic Cage actioner reigned in Korea with $5.2 million in 13 days and Sweden at $1.7 million in 13 days.

In one of its last engagements, “Metro” arrived in France in top spot with a solid $1.8 million on 312, shrewdly retitled “The San Francisco Cop” to play on the “Beverly Hills Cop” connection. The foreign tally is $39.7 million and likely to wind at about $44 million.

The annual Fete du Cinema promotion, where for three days patrons buy one ticket for full price and can then see anything else for 10 francs ($1.72), was a huge success, clocking 4 million admissions. “Liar Liar” has a rousing $5.7 million in two weeks. It was Jim Carrey’s second-best result behind “The Mask,” in a market that didn’t dig either “Ace Ventura” romp.

“The Empire Strikes Back” took off in Japan with a good $2.2 million in four days on 138, bringing the cume since reissue to $50.3 million.

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