The ‘Monty’ python

Comely comedy devours o'seas competish

In a frame in which debutantes “The Peacemaker” and “A Life Less Ordinary” failed to set the U.K. box office afire, the most interesting battle was in France between a bunch of unemployed British strippers and vicious dinosaurs.

DreamWorks’ “The Peacemaker” (three-market cume: $4.7 million) had good, but by no means boffo, bows in the U.K. (behind stayers “The Full Monty” and “Hercules,” which is tracking ahead of previous BVI toons) and Spain (behind sophomore “My Best Friend’s Wedding”), ahead of outings in Italy and Brazil.

In the U.K., “Peacemaker” beat Polygram’s “A Life Less Ordinary,” Danny Boyle’s follow-up to “Trainspotting” and “Shallow Grave,” which staged its less-than-fantastic start to its foreign roadshow day and date with its soft outing in the U.S. Both pics battled downbeat reviews in the U.K., where “Free Willy 3” and “A Simple Wish” received much-needed boosts of 150% and 78%, respectively, from school vacations.

Hometown heroes

The star of Blighty was Fox’s revealing U.K. comedy “The Full Monty” (cume: $60 million), which looks a likely candidate to join the overseas blockbuster club after a stellar bow in France against the might of the dinosaurs for third place.

“Monty” stayed in top spot in its ninth Brit lap and is the U.K.’s highest-grossing local pic at $48.8 million (surpassing 1994’s “Four Weddings and a Funeral”) and that nation’s fourth-highest release ever with every chance it will overtake “Men in Black” and “Independence Day” to become the U.K.’s second-highest grosser behind “Jurassic Park.” Pic also held top spot in Oz and was best-performing soph, falling just 4%.

In France, UIP’s “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” (cume: $352.3 million) stomped into top spot, roaring nearly 2 million admissions, which, although 12% behind the first dino pic, was that nation’s second-highest preem this year behind “The Fifth Element.”

But apart from being given a cheeky run for its money in France by “Monty,” “Lost World’s” first-day Paris admissions of 44,000 were surpassed by “Bean’s” 47,515 first-day entries (for an estimated $1.5 million on 500 prints) and “Cop Land’s” first-day tally of 44,790.

BVI’s “Air Force One” (cume: $68.1 million) kidnapped top spot in its German bow (setting a record for a Harrison Ford starrer there, although some exhibs were expecting a bigger bow), and in Sweden (thumping $660,000 from 80 screens) ahead of a Thai turn.

‘Cop’ lands OK

“Cop Land” bowed with decent but unexceptional results in Italy, especially considering thesp Sylvester Stallone’s publicity-drenched visits to Venice and Rome, while critics were generally polite about Stallone’s attempt to take on a more serious role than his usual action fare.

BVI’s “Con Air” (cume: $110.3 million) flew into Japan, its last major market, with a sturdy two-day figure of $2.1 million from 181 prints.

CTSI’s “My Best Friend’s Wedding” (cume: $67.5 million) romanced $217,000 from 41 Thai theaters and partied $125,400 from 26 Israeli sites, while rising 17% in its third Portuguese lap and falling only 16% in Japan against the bow of BVI’s “Con Air” ahead of waltzes in Hong Kong and Argentina.

CTSI’s “Men in Black” beamed to $270.7 million on 1,501 screens overseas, while BVI’s “Face/Off” (cume: $89.9 million) should hit $100 million by next week.

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