‘Volcano’ erupts

Fox's disaster pic heats up o'seas B.O.

Asia provided the most B.O. thrills but the threat of a real-life natural disaster in Mexico sent locals running to theaters to see Hollywood’s depiction of such a situation in domestic underperformer “Volcano.”

Fox’s disaster pic posted Mexico’s largest non-holiday opening and second-largest debut ever behind stablemate “Independence Day.”

“Volcano” erupted into the top spot with a toasty $3.1 million from 268 prints, accounting for 52% of all box office biz and was 300% ahead of its nearest competitor, “Con Air,” whose recent bow it doubled. After earlier roasting South Korea and the Philippines, cume is $7.7 million.

“The Lost World: Jurassic Park” (five-territory cume: $20.1 million) stomped into South Korea, easily crushing the record books to post the market’s biggest preem of all time with $2.1 million from 42 cinemas in just two days. With screen averages of $49,567, admissions were 62.5% greater than previous record-holder “Independence Day.”

The dinosaur actioner also shredded the record books in Thailand, beating former No. 1 “Independence Day” by an incredible 90% with $1.8 million from 137 prints. Ditto in Malaysia, where previous top-spot-holder “Eraser” was beaten by 60% with $1.8 million from 65 cinemas.

“Liar Liar” (cume: $55.2 million) had a boffo No. 1 bow Down Under, with $3.8 million from 224 screens, causing sophomore “Double Team” to dip 63% and giving UIP Oz’s highest- grossing comedy ever and the third- biggest opening of all time behind “Independence Day” and “Lost World.”

‘Liar’ on fire

The Jim Carrey starrer also nabbed a good $218,206 from 28 prints in Israel, while gobbling a solid, but not smashing, $873,801 from 142 houses in Japan. Fox’s “Star Wars” reissue dipped just 3%, taking another $1.4 million over the weekend for a local cume of $7.6 million to add to the its cume of $106.6 million.

After a fabulous foreign frame last week, “Con Air” added $8 million overseas over the weekend to bring the cume to $15.4 million. In a rather quiet Euro frame, BVI’s actioner landed the top spot in Germany, with $4 million from 637 prints for the territory’s third- largest June bow ever. It also elevated $368,000 from 63 screens in Austria (that market’s second-largest bow ever behind “Die Hard With a Vengeance”) and throttled an excellent $369,000 from 34 New Zealand theaters.

The Nicolas Cage starrer dipped 30% in the U.K., where “The Fifth Element” went wide on 373 screens, grabbing the top spot and a cool $2.9 million. The results were probably buoyed by the U.K.’s national cinema day on Sunday, which boosted admissions owing to discounted tickets.

But that didn’t help Polygram’s “The Associate” (cume: $4.5 million), which took about $175,843 from 117 U.K. prints, while also recording soft bows in Holland ($29,122 from 11 prints) and Switzerland ($14,435 from three screens). In Belgium, BVI’s “Metro” (cume: $36 million) bowed in the top spot with $239,000 from 47 prints.

Back in Asia, “Double Team” (cume: $6.6 million) gave CTSI its biggest bow ever in the Philippines, with a smashing No. 1 bow of $1.1 million from 111 cinemas.

Singapore ‘Strike’

Fox’s reissue of “The Empire Strikes Back” (cume: $47.4 million) wowed $107,515 from 12 Singapore screens, while CTSI’s “Fools Rush In” (cume: $4.6 million) charmed a surprisingly good $104,723 from 15 prints.

Meantime, UIP’s “The Saint” (cume: $34.6 million) sleuthed a good $241,422 from 25 prints in Argentina, while CTSI’s “Anaconda” (cume: $5.6 million) slithered $25,785 from 11 theaters in Peru and crushed $36,710 from seven screens in Costa Rica.

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