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‘FIFTH’ FLIES HIGH

'Liar' lasts; 'English' patient; 'Parts' plops

Socko bows by ‘The Fifth Element’ in France, Belgium and Switzerland and sturdy holdover biz by ‘Liar Liar,’ ‘Scream’ and ‘The English Patient’ ensured the merry days of May continued overseas.

However, it was Howard who? in Australia, as ‘Howard Stern’s Private Parts’ corpsed in its first major foreign engagement, despite a hefty ad-pub campaign by distrib Roadshow. Rysher’s comedy played well at previews, but the wider moviegoing public wasn’t interested.

The Betty Thomas-helmed pic also had soft debuts in Taiwan and Thailand, markets that always were going to be tough for this genre to crack.

Launched at the Cannes fest, Luc Besson’s actioner sold 1.8 million tickets on 527 prints in France, amassing $11.4 million: the second-highest opening week in history behind ‘Independence Day’s’ $14.5 million. The futuristic actioner bagged $989,000 in six days on 48 in Belgium (a record for a BVI live-action release, beating ‘Ransom’).

‘Liar’ dazzles Denmark

‘Liar Liar’ has collared $22.8 million in 14 markets and it dazzled Denmark with $453,000 in six days on 41; it’s Universal’s third-best preem there behind ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Twister’. The Jim Carrey vehicle’s standout perfs include $9.1 million in 13 days in the U.K.

After making decent money in Hong Kong and Puerto Rico, ‘Anaconda’ had a lackluster preem in the U.K., overwhelmed by the heavy-duty competition including ‘Scream,’ which has scared up $5.2 million in 13 days, and ‘Donnie Brasco’s’ $3.7 million in the same period; Wes Craven’s pic has cumed about $17 million abroad.

‘The English Patient’ topped $126 million, fueled by solid contributions from Germany, the U.K. and Japan.

Italians love ‘Saint’

‘The Saint’ coined a reasonable $803,000 in six days on 149 in Italy, and after its second round has a soft $1.9 million in Germany (where exhibs believe the title ‘The Saint — The Man Without a Name’ was a turn-off) but an excellent $2 million in South Korea, $1.1 million in Thailand and $738,000 in Singapore. The Val Kilmer starrer has cumed $19.8 million in 14 markets.

‘The Return of the Jedi’ landed in Korea with a moderate $416,000 in four days on 20 and Argentina at $157,000 in six days on 27; the total since re-release is $28.9 million. In their reissues, ‘Star Wars’ moved up to $98.2 mil and ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ to $45.6 mil, bringing the trilogy’s offshore cume to $172.7 mil.

‘William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet’ took a mild $296,000 in five days at 10 theaters in Hong Kong but has fetched a rousing $6.2 million after the fourth frame in Japan, $10 million in Germany and $9.7 million in the U.K. Cume is $79.1 million.

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