'Patient,' 'Empire' stem post-holiday blahs

After the Easter break, B.O. takings in many overseas markets predictably declined last weekend, but cushioning the falls were solid bows by “Dante’s Peak,” splendid holds by “The English Patient” and “101 Dalmatians,” and the first reincarnation of “The Empire Strikes Back.”

“Star Wars” took in $9.3 million from holdovers and a meteoric $360,000 launch on 30 screens in Denmark (that market’s best opening of the year thus far) and its cume since re-issue zoomed to $73 million; the lifetime gross is $271.6 million

Alan Pakula’s “The Devil’s Own” stormed into Japan with a potent $2.9 million on 177, Columbia TriStar’s highest preem there since “Ghostbusters” way back in 1984.

The Harrison Ford/Brad Pitt starrer typically abated by 35% to 40% in its sophomore sessions ($36.9 million cume). Updates include $4.7 million in Germany, $4.2 million in France, $4.1 million in Spain and $2.8 million in Australia.

In their first foreign outings, Warner Bros.’ “Selena” has racked up a melodic $659,000 through the second weekend on 36 in Puerto Rico, and Disney’s “Jungle 2 Jungle” swung into Taiwan with $181,000 on 11: a good result in a market that overwhelmingly prefers actioners to comedies.

“Dante’s Peak” collected nearly $2 million in five days on 402 in France (OK, but beaten by “101 Dalmatians’ ” $3 million in its second round on 600), $592,000 in six days on 65 in Indonesia, $507,500 in five days on 51 in Belgium, and $257,000 in four days on 30 in Argentina. Roger Donaldson’s pic has amassed a sturdy $38.5 million in 22 territories, paced by Japan’s $10.1 million, the U.K.’s $4 million in 10 days (off just 12%), Australia’s $3.1 million in 11 days (down 30%) and Korea’s $2.7 million in 16 days.

“Dalmatians” chewed up $9.8 million over the weekend and vaulted to a $142.3 million total, becoming the third blockbuster to gross $100 million overseas this calendar year. The stand-out cumes include $8.1 million in France, $1.6 million after 10 days in Belgium (jumping 50%), Italy’s $11.3 million and Japan’s $11 million.

Still gaining impetus from the Oscars, “The English Patient” levitated to $72.4 million and seems to have a good shot at reaching at least $90 million, depending partly on how it plays in Japan, starting April 26. The highlights are the U.K.’s $11 million, Germany’s $10.8 million, Italy’s $7.1 million, Brazil’s $6.5 million, Australia’s $5.6 million and France’s $5.4 million.

“The Empire Strikes Back” blasted off with $213,000 on 45 in Poland, $212,000 on 33 in Norway (both terrific) and a so-so $160,000 on 67 in Thailand. Previously the pic grossed $192.1 million abroad, per Fox Intl. Stand by for some big numbers as it rolls out at the weekend in 18 territories.

Showing remarkable resilience, “Romeo & Juliet” sped past the domestic haul to $52.5 million, fueled by the U.K.’s $3.3 million after the second weekend (up 3%) Germany’s $6.3 million, Italy’s $2.3 million and Spain’s $2.2 million.

“Everyone Says I Love You” rang up a promising $146,000 in its debut at 14 theaters Down Under, where a film of a very different hue, “Beavis and Butt-head Do America,” has minted a lively $1.6 million in 11 days. Woody Allen’s musical has cumed $15.7 million in 11 territories, led by France’s wow $8.9 million and Italy’s moderate $3.4 million

“Space Jam” reached $115.6 million, aided by the U.K.’s stellar $10.9 million through the third weekend. “Mars Attacks!” topped $55 million, including a fair $5.1 million after the third in Japan.

Turner Pictures’ “Michael” advanced to $15.8 million in 11 territories after landing in Spain with a swell $451,000 on 14 screens. It’s been a bust in Germany, Austria, Hong Kong and Thailand, but a decent earner in Australia ($5.2 million) and Italy ($4 million).

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