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‘SPACE JAM’ HOOPS IT UP

Spoof orbits to top spot in o'seas B.O.

In a week when “The People vs. Larry Flynt” and “The Crucible” were upstaged by the debuts of retro sci-fi spoof “Mars Attacks!” and foreign-lingo pics, WB’s “Space Jam” pumped a torrid pace at the overseas box office.

“Space Jam” (cume: $82.1 million) was the big news in Italy, bowing at top spot and greatly overshadowing a tepid preem for BVI’s Whitney Houston starrer “The Preacher’s Wife.” Also in Italy on a limited five-screen bow, “Beautiful Thing,” a small-scale Brit pic about two gay teens living in a working-class housing estate, took a credible $32,423, while local lingo titles “The Freshwater Man” and “The Cyclone” continued their sterling perfs.

Top spot in Spain

“Space Jam,” which also hooped $275,924 and $205,800 from 92 and 26 prints in Sweden and Norway, respectively, holds top spot in Spain, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Poland and Switzerland.

In Germany, four local pics in the top 10 made the going tough for freshmen. Road movie “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” the first German-lingo production from BVI (or a U.S. major) that stars locally popular Til Schweiger (“Der Bewegte Mann”), nabbed top spot. It drubbed the bow of CTSI’s controversial “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” which had a per-screen average of $1,842 yet hasn’t capitalized on the Golden Bear and the blanket publicity awarded to it. Fox’s “The Crucible” also suffered, mustering screen averages of just $1,869.

So-so stanza for ‘Crucible’

In addition to its German perf, “The Crucible” (cume: $2.8 million) had a so-so frame, taking $45,254 from 16 Austrian cinemas, $72,980 from 21 New Zealand theaters, and a better $27,287 from five Danish prints. Pic also took $25,915 from 72 theaters in its first day in France.

France was more receptive to the libertarian tale of “Larry Flynt,” which flashed a cool $1.2 million in its first week on 151 screens.WB’s “Mars Attacks!” (cume: $3.5 million) invaded $780,000, $18,920 and $101,901 from its first days on 253, nine and 24 screens in France, Belgium and Singapore, respectively, while snaring $84,813 from its first week at 33 sites in Colombia.

In Oz, “Flynt” bowed behind “Mars Attacks!” but ahead of an OK preem for local pic “Idiot Box.”

In Spain, WB’s “Michael Collins” (cume: $3.9 million) was the best performer of the freshmen, which included OK outings by “The Crucible” and “Star Trek: First Contact,” neither of which played strongly enough to pose a serious challenge to stayer “Space Jam.” Despite a huge media splash from Andy Garcia for “Death in Granada,” about the murder of Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, audience reaction was lukewarm, but ahead of “The Evening Star.”

‘Star Trek’ beams strong

UIP’s “Star Trek” (cume: $44.9 million) also beamed a strong $288,475 from 17 Singapore screens and a good $136,216 and $366,549 from 18 and 75 prints in Israel and Brazil, respectively.

In the U.K., where storms washed out business Feb. 24 and 25, “Michael” (cume: $9.5 million) had an OK bow (below local distrib Rank’s expectations) after so-so reviews and an unimpressive marketing campaign, behind stayer “Ransom” (cume: $141.1 million and still in top spot after 12 Japanese laps).

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