Boat Bashes Beast Abroad

'Titanic' o'seas take now at $526.2 million

Already the all-time worldwide B.O. champ after dethroning “Jurassic Park,” the leviathan “Titanic” is poised to seize the mantle of highest-grossing film outside North America from the previously invincible dinopic.

Showing amazing stamina, James Cameron’s extravaganza minted $59.2 million in 48 territories last week — the sixth consecutive frame in which it has surpassed $55 million.

The foreign total, which towered at $526.2 million late last week, could cruise past “Jurassic Park’s” $563 million by March 2. After upping the ante each week, expect the Paramount/Fox Intl. meteor to hurtle to at least $700 million overseas.

“Titanic” now stands as the top-earner in history in no fewer than 18 territories.

In the latest record-setting debuts, the juggernaut commanded $2.1 million in five days on 71 screens in South Korea; $733,000 in four days on 42 in Turkey; $649,000 in six days on 40 in Venezuela; and $246,000 in five days from five theaters in Egypt.

The stellar cumes are crowned by France’s $68.5 million, Germany’s $67.3 million, Japan’s $66.2 million, the U.K.’s $59.2 million, Italy’s $41.3 million, Spain’s $27 million and Australia $24.5 million.

Fox has yet to release “Titanic” in nine territories, most in Eastern Europe, as well as China (skedded for April 10) and India. Compared with the super liner, most other titles look like tugboats, but several new releases posted healthy numbers last week.

Launched after the Berlin fest, “Good Will Hunting” had promising debuts in Germany, Brazil, Israel and German-speaking Switzerland. For a film with a “difficult subject,” Gus Van Sant’s drama is doing really well, one Teutonic exhib noted. The Miramax pic rolls out in most of the world in the next few weeks.

“As Good as It Gets” nabbed a lively $1.7 million on 250 in France, where biz was dominated by Gallic superclick “Les Couloirs du Temps: Les Visiteurs 2,” which pulled in an awesome $28 million in two weeks, and “Titanic.” Ticket sales at the Gaumont chain so far this year are running nearly 50% up on 1997, when the first quarter was unusually quiet and the big guns did not start firing until April.

Jim Brooks’ comedy also started smartly in Belgium, Denmark and Portugal, but was soft in Taiwan and Norway; generally it’s playing better in key cities than in the provinces.

The cume is about $19 million from 16 territories.

In its offshore preem in Australia, “Amistad” took a tame $352,000 on 79, met with unenthusiastic crits and audience indifference. However Steven Spielberg’s historical epic collared an encouraging $221,000 in its first day on 286 in France ahead of weekend bows in Germany, the U.K., Japan and several smaller markets, so its destiny abroad will soon crystallize.

“The Wings of the Dove” unspooled Down Under with a classy $261,000 on 19 screens, including previews, after a steady run in the U.K. Cume in six markets is about $4 million.

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