'Ryan' marches on, 'Pianist,' 'Truman' miss auds

Taking some of the gloss off an otherwise luminous fall frame overseas, “The Truman Show” failed to galvanize Spain last week, “Halloween H20″ wasn’t too scary in Germany or Australia, and big-budget Italo entry “The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean” struggled to win mainstream audiences on home turf.

The minuses, however, were easily outweighed by the pluses as “Antz” had busy foreign preems, “The Exorcist” reissue helped give U.K. one of its best weeks of the year and “Saving Private Ryan” conquered Italy.

“Audiences in Spain seem to see Jim Carrey just as a rubber-faced comedian,” one Madrid booker opined. There was no such resistance to Peter Weir’s allegorical tale in France, the Netherlands and Israel. “Truman” pocketed a total of $12.6 million in 17 markets and its cume raced to $52.3 million.

‘Ryan’ still on the march

The season’s standout, “Saving Private Ryan,” captured a whopping $19.3 million in 18 countries, including a stellar $4.2 million in six days on 307 screens in Italy. The World War II epic’s cume is a lofty $163.3 million.

“The Legend of the Pianist,” a $20 million-plus pic from “Cinema Paradiso” helmer Guiseppe Tornatore, cruised in with $696,000 in five days on 93, drawing upscale crowds but missing the masses. The existential drama set on a transatlantic passenger ship early in this century sharply divided the critics.

“Antz” dug up a terrif $1.8 million on 186 in Australia, ranking as the second-highest ever for an animated release in that market, behind “The Lion King.”

Turning heads again

William Friedkin’s 25-year-old “Exorcist” proved the perfect Halloween treat in the U.K., notching a head-turning $5.1 million in six days on 248, Warner Bros.’ sixth-highest entry ever. Adding earlier results from Scotland, the total is $6.2 million on top of the original’s $119.1 million foreign gross. The film has never been released in the U.K. on video due to censorship problems; WB is evaluating other possible markets in which to re-release the thriller.

“Still Crazy” (set for a Dec. 11 bow in the U.S. via Sony), a British comedy about the attempted comeback by a 1970s rock group, did not stir much interest despite warm reviews and a strong cast headed by Stephen Rea, Billy Connolly and Timothy Spall.

One Aussie exhib questioned the wisdom of going out with “Halloween H20″ while high school students were in the midst of exams. The Miramax pic has taken $10.5 million in 11 territories, led by the U.K.’s beefy $4.6 million in 13 days (sliding 25%).

So-so About ‘Mary’

“There’s Something About Mary” had sturdy, but not record-breaking debuts in Germany, Austria and Portugal. Fox’s comedy minted $10.8 million in 24 territories, hoisting the total to $67.3 million.

Stablemate “The X-Files” took a tepid $1.3 million in five days on 221 in Italy, where the series has a cult following but isn’t a cultural phenomenon as in other markets like France, where it had a swell second orbit. Its cume hit $87.3 million after a $5.7 frame.

‘Mask’ basks

“The Mask of Zorro” amassed an estimated $12 million, mostly from holdovers plus a spirited bow in Belgium, sending its cume to about $64.4 million, led by France’s $14.3 million.

Vampire thriller “Blade” sucked up a juicy $855,000 in four days on 133 in Brazil and started well in the Netherlands and Dutch-speaking Belgium; its total in eight markets is $13.6 million.

“A Perfect Murder’s” cume reached $45.2 million after nabbing $10 million in 36 countries.

Greek days and nights

“Six Days, Seven Nights” gave Buena Vista Intl. its second-highest debut ever in Greece (behind “Armageddon”) with $343,000 in five days on 23, and its cume flew past domestic’s to $76.2 million. “The Horse Whisperer” galloped along to $88.1 million and will soon hit the century mark, while “Mulan” moved up to $63.4 million.

Roberto Benigni’s “Life Is Beautiful” had impressive soph sessions in France, Belgium and Switzerland. The cume outside Italy is $10.3 million.

Lively second frames in the U.K. and France helped propel “Small Soldiers” to a fine $26.4 million from 15 countries.

“Armageddon” is perched at $231.9 million, “Godzilla” is winding down with $230.4 million in the kitty, “Lethal Weapon 4″ has $141.2 million and “Dr. Dolittle” is at $122.5 million.

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