Euro, Japan vacations boost exhibs
Spring vacation began over the weekend in a raft of territories in Europe and Japan, buoying exhibs who were expecting to make a killing from “Star Wars,” along with hold-overs “101 Dalmatians” and Oscar fave “The English Patient.”Late last week, “Space Jam’s” foreign cume hit $100.1 million, ranking as the second blockbuster to gross $100 million overseas this calendar year after “Ransom.” “Dalmatians’ ” total stood at $94.1 million and “Sleepers” was at $98.4 million; both were set to join the $100 million club by March 24. ‘Star’ quality It won’t be long before the “Star Wars” reissue zooms to that level, judging by the epic’s stellar bows in France ($4.8 million on 404) and Thailand ($621,000 in five days on 67). Launched March 20 in Australia, George Lucas’ pic harvested an estimated $604,000 on 165, including midnight sessions: the third-biggest opening day in history in Oz, behind “Independence Day” and “Batman Forever.” The sci-fier has taken $6.7 million since reissue; previously it amassed $198.6 million, according to Fox Intl. Over the weekend the film rolled out in more than 20 territories; it’s slated for May in Japan. “Dalmatians” landed in Japan with an encouraging $2.3 million in four days on 197 (positioned to cash in on the 18-day vacation) and Italy with a lively $1.2 million in six days on 69 (expanding over the weekend to about 200 prints). The family pic has improved after a slow start in Germany, tallying $4.5 million in 13 days, and in Spain it’s collected $2.4 million in ditto. ‘Peak’ perky “Dante’s Peak” erupted with potent results in Singapore ($982,000 on 29), Malaysia ($921,000 on 51) and Mexico ($1.1 million in six days on 206), and after 11 days in Japan has grossed a moderately good $5 million. The Japanese B.O. has been sluggish for about 15 months; the only true megahit has been “Independence Day,” which has coined more than $87 million. “Star Trek: First Contact” has taken a tepid $2 million in 11 days in Japan (not a Trekkie stronghold) and $51 million overseas. “Jerry Maguire” scored good openings in Spain, Sweden, Belgium, the Philippines and Portugal, and had strong second outings in the U.K. and Italy; estimated cume is $48 million. However, one Spanish tradester lamented the B.O. is running behind last year, noting, “We haven’t had a blockbuster yet.” The pre-Oscar attention continued to give “The English Patient” plenty of momentum as it muscled into the U.K. ($2.6 million in six days on 230, including previews) and France ($1.5 million on 147) and hit its second rounds in Spain and Australia, and its third in Germany and Italy. The foreign total is about $25 million. Tim Burton’s “Mars Attacks!” topped $40 million, highlighted by the U.K.’s $9.3 million, France’s $9.2 million, Germany’s $4 million and Spain’s $3 million.