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OSCAR CHARMS B.O.

'Patient,' 'Jerry' wow o'seas, 'Wars' in orbit

Oscar contenders “The English Patient” and “Jerry Maguire” charmed the overseas box office over the weekend, while Glenn Close starrer “101 Dalmatians” sprang to life in Japan.

“The English Patient” (cume: $22.5 million) wowed $2.1 million from 230 screens in the U.K. (behind sophomore “Jerry Maguire”), where WB’s “Space Jam” (which, with a cume of $99.1 million, is poised to pass $100 million) previewed promisingly. “Patient” also lured $1 million from 147 theaters in France and $362,000 from its Argen-tine debut on 31 screens. Pic also rose 27% in Italy after adding 33 prints and 7% in Spain after adding 16.

“Patient’s” French bow took third rank behind “Mars Attacks!” and the first foreign foray for Fox’s reissue of “Star Wars,” which easily took the top spot with $3.8 million from its first five days in 404 theaters. In Thailand, the first day and a half takings for “Star Wars” overtook the entire earnings from its original outing two decades ago and beamed $404,600 from 67 screens over the weekend.

CTSI’s “Jerry Maguire” (cume: $45.3 million) posted a good Spanish bow of $1.3 million from 207 theaters and $344,000 from 82 Swedish screens. Pic took $398,000 from 51 houses in Belgium, where BVI’s “Metro” (cume: $5.3 million), nabbed $373,000 from 59 prints. Pic also set a CTSI record in Portugal, luring $168,000 from 36 cinemas, while sporting an excellent $275,000 from 26 Filipino sites and a good $151,000 and $94,000 from 26 and 20 prints in Denmark and Finland, respectively.

Dog’s life

BVI’s “101 Dalmatians” (cume: $92.1 million and set to join the blockbuster club next weekend) staged a doggedly good preem in Japan, barking up $1.7 million from 197 screens (which is on a par with the bows of “Babe” and “Toy Story”), ahead of next week’s school vacations for which 20 more prints will be added. Doggy pic also grossed an excellent $878,000 from 69 prints in Italy, while jumping 18% in Germany (without any screen additions) and falling only 9% in Spain.

Fox’s “Romeo and Juliet” (cume: $36.7 million) romanced a respectable $1.4 million from 307 theaters in Ger-many, where BVI scored a good $312,000 from its 61-screen bow of “Shine” and UIP’s “Fled” (cume: $7 million) took a tepid $269,455 from 145 screens. Fox’s Bard pic also took a very good $167,210 (26 in Singapore), $124,048 (13 in Switzerland) and $127,169 (21 in Austria).

WB’s surprisingly successful sci-fi spoof “Mars Attacks!” (cume: $37.9 million, of which $30 million has come from Europe), invaded Indonesia, taking $109,380 from 27 screens, putting it in the second spot behind “Romeo and Juliet,” while sneaking a second-spot debut of $54,670 on 30 screens in Venezuela, behind “Jerry Maguire”

‘Peak’ explodes

UIP’s “Dante’s Peak” (cume: $6.9 million) exploded in Singapore, running $751,642 from 29 prints, and Malaysia, with $750,699 from 51 screens, while taking $826,794 from 206 Mexican theaters.

UIP’s “The Frighteners” (cume: $11.9 million) grossed and OK $504,885 from 108 prints in Oz, behind sopho-mores “Jerry Maguire” and “The English Patient,” while UIP’s “The Ghost and the Darkness” (cume: $28.8 mil-lion) spooked $70,122 from 11 Greek screens.

Polygram’s “Fargo” (cume: $21 million) stiffed in Thailand ($12,320 from nine sites) but was slightly better in Mexico ($35,000 from 22 prints), while “The Relic” (cume: $3.3 million) spooked a promising $145,074 from 22 Hong Kong houses.

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