'Hunchback,' 'Daylight' buck chilly

The New Year either started with a bang or a thud, depending on where you were last week. While the B.O. surged in the U.K., Germany and Italy, cinemas in Spain and France labored through some of the worst winter weather in 20 years.

The holiday season’s unrivaled champ, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” climbed to $205.2 million overseas and by Jan. 12 will have cruised right past “Pocahontas” ($205.6 million) and “Beauty and the Beast” ($207 million) to rank as Disney’s third-most-popular animated pic ever, behind “The Lion King” and “Aladdin.”

“Hunchback” is likely to wind with in excess of $225 million, fueled by France’s $37.4 million, Italy’s $27.1 mil-lion and Spain’s $15.4 million.

U.K. tradesters hailed the Jan. 3-5 frame as the second-biggest in history as six titles each pulled in more than $1 million.”Evita” rolled out on 336 screens after a two-week showcase in London, advancing to a terrific $5.2 million in 20 days. “Evita” has rung up an estimated $12.5 million in eight Euro markets, including a sparkling $4 million after the third stanza in Italy; film’s now on 95 screens.

“Sleepers” garnered a sterling $3.9 million in six days on 265 in the U.K., despite dire reviews. Barry Levinson’s drama was on course to surpass its $51.1 million domestic tally abroad at the weekend.

Scott Hicks’ “Shine” fetched an encouraging $313,000 in six days on 23, and will gradually fan out to around 150.

Ron Howard’s “Ransom” charged into Germany with $6.8 million on 629. The thriller’s cume reached $38.1 mil-lion.

Teutonic bookers rated “The First Wives Club” as a steady earner ($11.9 million in four weeks; foreign cume $41.4 million) and noted “Star Trek: First Contact” ($14.1 million in three weeks) fell off sharply. “Trek’s” cume is $32.3 million in just five markets.

One German exhib expressed pleasant surprise at “Jingle All the Way’s” legs ($11.1 million in five weeks), draw-ing groups of females.

‘Daylight’ bright o’seas

The season’s surprise performer is “Daylight,” which sped along to $67.2 million in 27 territories. The scores include Japan’s solid $11.2 million in 19 days, Spain’s $7.9 million, France’s $7.3 million, Korea’s $5.1 million, and the U.K.’s $4.3 million in 14 days (off 25%). “Independence Day” continued its extra-terrestrial run in Japan; its foreign total towers at $460.3 million.

Attractive product and a national holiday Jan. 6 helped boost ticket sales in Italy’s key cities by 13% over the same period last year, driven by “Hunchback,” local comedy “Adrift in Time” ($22.9 million cume, according to distrib Filmauro), Tuscan laffer “The Cyclone,” which has amassed $11.6 million, and “Evita.”

“101 Dalmatians” vaulted to $44.6 million, spurred chiefly by a strapping $23.1 million nearing the end of the fourth lap in the U.K.; it’s yet to play in most of Europe and in Japan.

In a generally soft session Down Under, Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo & Juliet” led the pack in its second outing, total-ing $4.7 million (off 19%). “Daylight” abated by 35% for $4.2 million in 14 days.

Rookie “The Mirror Has Two Faces” from Barbra Streisand took a moderately good $1 million on 109 including previews. Meller had a snappy $276,000 weekend debut on 38 in Argentina, and after 10 days in Brazil has a hearty $1.2 million.

“Space Jam” has taken a lively $26.1 million, led by Australia’s $5.7 million through the fourth lap and excellent contributions of $3.3 million in Brazil, $2.9 million in Mexico and Argentina’s $1.5 million, all after two weeks.

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