O'seas pix open big, or else
The fall season abroad is delivering big paydays for “Men in Black,” “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” “Face/ Off” and “Bean,” but it’s an unforgiving period for films that can’t find an audience in their opening frame.
Take “One Night Stand,” which had a soft world preem in France and looks like it will be buried under an avalanche of new releases in October. One Gallic programmer said he wasn’t surprised by the lack of interest in Mike Figgis’ pic (slated for Nov. 14 Stateside), rating it nowhere near as good as the helmer’s “Leaving Las Vegas” (which also didn’t work in France).
New Line Intl. was hoping for better responses to the Wesley Snipes/
Natassja Kinski starrer as it debuted over the weekend in Germany and Spain.
The French exhib said ticket sales overall dipped Sept. 20-21 when 10 million people took advantage of free admission to the nation’s historic houses and monuments, taking biz away from “Contact” (which bowed with a solid $2.3 million on 402) and “Face/Off” ($4.7 million in 14 days, sliding 32%).
Another example of a film that appears to be in trouble is “Air Force One,” in the U.K. The Harrison Ford vehicle didn’t reach a high altitude in its first week, then dropped by a precipitous 39% for $6.2 million in 13 days.
That seems an aberration, because Wolfgang Petersen’s actioner is more potent in Italy, where it scored $1.9 million in six days on 236, and Singapore with $980,000 in the same period on 37 (the fourth-highest non-holiday bow there ever). Its cume climbed to $25.7 million in eight territories.
The jury is still out on “Spawn,” which in the U.K., its first major market, coined a fairly good $1.9 million in six days on 267.
Barry Sonenfeld’s “Men in Black” stands as the second blockbuster of the year to top $200 million overseas. Its cume zoomed past $210 million, propelled by strapping bows in New Zealand and Indonesia, and sparkling soph sessions in Germany and Australia.
“Lost World” ascended to $314.1 million after notching the third-highest debuts in history in Sweden ($1.3 million in six days on 103, beaten only by “The Lion King” and “Independence Day”) and Denmark ($827,000 in six on 60, trailing “Lion King” and “Goldeneye.”)
Mel Smith’s comedy “Bean” now ranks as the 14th title to cross $100 million this year, hailed by Polygram as the first film ever to reach that milestone overseas before its North American debut (pegged for Nov. 7 in the U.S., Oct. 17 in Canada).
Fox’s comedy “The Full Monty” held pole position in the U.K. for the fourth consecutive week, grossing a fab $20.2 million in 27 days, surprisingly beating debutante “My Best Friend’s Wedding’s” winsome $3.3 million in six days on 295.
As schools started spring vacation in Australia, “Hercules” delivered a solid $807,000 on 134, including previews, bigger than “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” but below “Pocahontas.”