Asteroid alert o’seas

'Armageddon' burns up B.O. on foreign turf

The apocalypse is well and truly here as “Armageddon” hauled in nearly $29 million from 3,969 screens in 26 markets last week to rule the B.O. world outside North America.

Michael Bay’s end-of-the-world saga catapulted to $98.4 million late last week and was poised to rank as the seventh title to earn more than $100 million this year after “Titanic,” “Tomorrow Never Dies,” “As Good as It Gets,” “Deep Impact,” “The Jackal” and “Godzilla.”

Adding to the season’s spoils, “The X-Files” and “Lethal Weapon 4” had gangbuster openings, and “The Man in the Iron Mask” drew hordes of Leonardo DiCaprio fans in Japan.

“Armageddon” set a new benchmark for a Buena Vista Intl. live-action release in France (beating “Ransom”), grabbing $8 million on 635 screens, and smashed BVI opening records in Brazil ($3 million in six days on 318, the fourth-biggest bow in industry history), Belgium ($1.1 million on 72, the fifth-highest ever) and Singapore ($840,000 on 38).

In the U.K., the Bruce Willis starrer’s entry was subdued a little by scorching weekend weather, which depressed overall biz by 27%, but it rallied on weekdays, pulling around $800,000 a day for a hefty six-day haul of $6.6 million on 645. “The X-Files” collected $10.3 million in eight territories, and its cume climbed to $17.2 million. Fox’s film took a uniformly stellar $5.3 million in six days on 673 in Germany, attracting nonaficionados as well as fans of the series; $2.5 million in five days on 252 in Spain, including previews; $608,000 in five days on 96 in Austria; $304,000 in six days on 40 in New Zealand; and $307,000 on 39 in German-speaking Switzerland.

Richard Donner’s “Lethal Weapon 4” amassed about $14 million on 2,161 screens in 25 countries and its cume vaulted to $42.8 million.

The Mel Gibson/Danny Glover escapade had potent preems in Argentina with $1.2 million on 65; Hong Kong for $1.1 million on 33; Mexico at $1.2 million in six days on 226 (No. 2 in the market behind “Armageddon’s” $5.8 million after 13 days); and Holland at $606,000 on 105. Debuts in Denmark, Portugal and Iceland rang up a combined $985,000.

“Lethal’s” scores include France’s $13.6 million after 22 days, Japan’s solid $5.2 million in 10 days and South Korea’s $2.2 million in 12 days.

In Japan, “The Man in the Iron Mask” eyed a dashing $2.5 million in three days on 213, lifting the foreign cume to $99.2 million. “Godzilla” minted an estimated $6.5 million on 2,015 screens in 22 markets and its total levitated to $114.7 million. Betty Thomas’ “Dr. Dolittle” fetched $5.7 million from holdovers, and its cume reached $41.6 million, paced by the U.K.’s $13.8 million (falling 48%). “Mulan” topped $34 million, highlighted by Brazil’s $6.6 million, Mexico’s $6 million and South Korea’s $3.7 million.

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