'Black,' 'Wedding' pack Euro 1-2 punch

Sony’s “Men in Black” continued to be very green, as it minted close to $12 million internationally to rank as the frame’s top worldwide grosser.

“Men” debuted in first position in Italy and held top spot in Germany in the film’s fourth week. Sony also had the weekend’s second biggest performer with “My Best Friend’s Wedding” outdistancing “Air Force One” in France, and ringing bells in debuts in six territories to the resounding strains of $8.7 million.

Overall, Buena Vista Intl.’s “Air Force One” and “Face/Off” continued strong, Fox’s “The Full Monty” was unshakable in the U.K., “Lolita” wilted in Spain and BVI’s “George of the Jungle” was a surprise victor over “The Game” in Australia.

‘Bean’ bounced

In Germany, “Men in Black” and “Face/Off” maintained the top two spots with respective grosses of $4.4 million and $1.9 million. Just behind was the debut of Senator’s “Die Apothekerin” which pushed Polygram’s “Bean” into fourth spot. The Rowan Atkinson comedy added Greece and the Philippines to its conquests this weekend, debuting first in both territories. It’s sprouted $111.4 million to date.

France had an unusual duel between the high flying “Air Force One” and romantic comedy from Julia Roberts in “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” Gauls opted for the latter, with “Wedding” grossing $2.7 million on 309 screens to the Harrison Ford vehicle’s $2 million in 447 hangars. The yarn of a presidential hostage-taking dominated in its other preems, with BVI’s biggest-ever opening in Mexico with a gross just under $1 million; $480,000 in Belgium and $425,000 from Indonesia. Its weekend take was $7 million, bringing the pic’s cume to $40 million.

Dutch treat

“Wedding” was first up the aisle in Holland with $370,000, in Sweden with $400,000 and in Taiwan with $310,000. In Japan it had a tuneful debut of close to $700,000, trailing local animated sensation “Princess Mononoke” (cume: $110 million). “Wedding” has romanced about $30.8 million abroad.

“Face/Off” reigned in Spain with better than $1 million its premiere weekend. With about $62 million in the till, the Travolta/Cage team takes on Sweden and Italy this week. Two other Spanish debs had tamer intros, including “Cop Land,” which, in its first offshore booking, arrested $600,000 from 132 sites. The film also opened in Holland to a disappointing $117,000 at 31 precincts. Sogepag debuted “Lolita” Spain to barely a raised eyebrow, with $170,000 from 67 encounters.

“Lolita” dipped by some 20% in Italy and slipped to fifth spot with a $900,000 weekend. The frame also saw Cecchi Gori launching the first overseas invasion of “G.I. Jane,” which hit the beach second behind “Men in Black” at just below $2 million. The company’s local comedy “Ovosodo” was third with a cume of $4.5 million after four weeks.

Down Under, BVI’s “George of the Jungle” swung mightiest during the Oz holiday weekend, with $1.3 million from 220 vines. That topped the company’s prior comedy winner, “Sister Act,” by 18% and, with an additional $240,000 in New Zealand, brought the swinger’s foreign cume to $4 million. Polygram’s “The Game” was a significant second in its international bow with an estimated $900,000 from 109 tournaments.

In the U.K., “The Full Monty” outstripped the competition for the fifth consecutive week with $3.3 million. The film added Finland to its short list, and with the Swiss in the mix, has $30 million from international to date. Fox’s “Volcano” debuted in second with $1.5 million taking the film’s offshore cume to $45.9 million.

Irish gangster pic “I Went Down” caused a sensation in the Emerald Isle with $140,000 from 45 sites for the BVI acquisition. Electric’s Cannes-prized “The Sweet Hereafter” got a 6% boost to $60,000 in limited release on 12 in London, thanks to very strong reviews and word of mouth.

Cumes on other significant grossers included Fox’s “Speed 2″ cruising to $96.5 million and WB’s “Contact” connecting with $27.9 million. “Men in Black” advanced to $239.1 million and Universal’s “Liar Liar” is at $116.6 million, putting its worldwide cume just $2 million shy of $300 million.

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