HIGH SEASON O’SEAS

Don't cry for 'Evita,' 'Ransom,' 'Daylight'

The foreign B.O. chugged along merrily at the weekend, stoked by ”Ransom’s” fiery bows in five territories, spirited performances by ”Evita” and a surprisingly resilient ”Daylight.”

However, the overall picture was spoiled somewhat by several high-profile titles delivering low ball-numbers. ”Courage Under Fire” was losing its first skirmishes in Europe, ”The Mirror Has Two Faces” struggled in the U.K. and ”That Thing You Do!” didn’t do it in Australia.

”The Hunchback of Notre Dame” simmered down with the end of the vacation, but still added $4 million to take its overseas cume to $209.3 million. ”Independence Day” minted $3.3 million in its sixth round in Japan, advancing to $59.8 million there, $466 million abroad.

”Ransom” charged into Spain with $2.4 million on 202, an all-time record both for a January preem and for a Buena Vista Intl. release, and the territory’s fourth-highest opening in history behind ”Independence Day,” ”Jurassic Park” and ”Eraser.” Spanish auds also flocked to Manuel Gomez’s screwball comedy ”Love Seriously Damages Your Health,” which delivered $718,000 in three days on 110 – the highest debut by a local entry since Fernando Trueba’s ”Two Much” in 1995.

Ron Howard’s thriller grossed $780,000 on 85 in Holland, $430,000 on 47 in Denmark (a record in both for a BVI live-action pic), plus $417,000 on 30 in Argentina and $325,000 on 27 in Israel (the second highest bow ever, behind ”Independence Day”). The Mel Gibson starrer abated by 30% after a socko start in Germany, for $10.5 million in 11 days. All told, the pic garnered $10.1 million at the weekend, propelling the total to $49 million. Skedded to roll out Friday in Brazil, Italy and Mexico, it could hit $100 million by the end of this month.

‘Mirror’ cracked

Rock-solid holds by ”Evita” ($8.9 million after the second weekend wide) and ”Sleepers” ($6.6 million in 10 days) underpinned another buoyant frame in the U.K. ”Shine” expanded from 23 to 25 screens and jumped to a luminous $665,000 in 10 days. However, ”The Mirror Has Two Faces” was savaged by U.K. critics (some of the vitriol was directed against Barbra Streisand personally), making a tepid $553,000 on 224. The meller has collected $4.5 million in eight territories thus far, including a fair $1.3 million after 11 days in Australia (off 27%). ”101 Dalmatians” advanced to $25 million in its fifth round in the U.K., and $51.5 million abroad.

“Evita” took center stage in Germany with a rousing $1.3 million on 133, and in Austria at $183,000 on 11. The cume is an estimated $21 million, including $5.2 million in Italy and $1.4 million in the Netherlands.

”Daylight” levitated to a strapping $75.3 million, paced by Japan’s $12.8 million, Spain’s $8.5 million, France’s $8 million, Korea’s $5.7 million, the U.K.’s $5.1 million, Australia’s $4.8 million and Italy’s $4.6 million. The Sylvester Stallone vehicle posted a dandy $312,000 in four days on 34 in New Zealand.

”Courage Under Fire” drummed up a muffled $381,500 on 202 in France, and fared marginally better in Belgium, but was underwhelming in Norway, Portugal and South Africa. Edward Zwick’s drama has cumed $32.1 million, most effective in Japan ($8.2 million), Korea ($4 million) and Australia ($2.8 million).

French ‘Wives Club’

”The First Wives Club” climbed to $45.1 million after fair-to-good debuts in France ($1 million on 227), Belgium ($286,000 on 34), Singapore and Thailand. ”Jingle All the Way” moved up to $62.4 million.

Down Under, ”High School High” (foreign cume $7.9 million) landed with a bright $590,000 on 90, while ”The Ghost and the Darkness” pulled a snappy $1.1 million on 132. Tom Hanks’ ”That Thing You Do!” whistled up a decidedly off-key $212,000 on 104 in its third territory after Singapore, where it’s amassed a decent $398,000 in seven weeks at just three theaters, and Israel.

The curtain went up on ”Romeo & Juliet” in Brazil, generating a fine $446,000 on 59. Baz Luhrmann’s pic has harvested $5.6 million in Oz and $4.1 million in Korea, both through the third stanza, and $948,000 after the second in Mexico.

The ebullient ”Space Jam” topped $30 million, driven by Brazil’s $4.4 million, Mexico’s $3.7 million and Argentina’s $1.8 million, all through the third round, plus $1.5 million in 10 days in the Philippines. ”The Glimmer Man” arrived in France with $665,000 on 148, another poor result in a foreign career that so far has yielded $23.9 million.

”Star Trek: First Contact’s” haul in just five territories hit $34.6 million, spurred by Germany’s $15.3 million and the U.K.’s $13.3 million. ”The Preacher’s Wife” had an inauspicious start to its foreign travels in Japan, tallying a slim $1.6 million after the third weekend. As Japan normally isn’t receptive to black-themed pics, a truer test for the Denzel Washington/Whitney Houston starrer will be its debut Thursday in Germany and Friday in the U.K.

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