End-of-summer heat

U.S. pix raise temperature at int'l B.O.

The B.O. summer abroad is winding down on an exuberant note, driven by “Armageddon,” “Lethal Weapon 4,” “The X-Files” and “Dr. Dolittle,” and seguing into a fall bulging with hits from the U.S. summer.

Perhaps the frame’s biggest surprise was “The Avengers,” which had very respectable openings in France, Singapore and French-speaking Switzerland.

One Gallic programmer said “The Avengers” TV series is famous in France and auds responded to a slick, up-market campaign by Warner Bros., but the spy caper plunged 60% entering its second week; that parallels its arc in the U.K., Sweden and Israel.

Domestic underachiever “Snake Eyes,” starring Nicolas Cage, had its offshore preem in Sweden, taking a fair $494,000 in six days on 61 screens — double the bow of Cage’s “City of Angels” but just 50% of “Con Air’s.”

Summer standout “Armageddon” minted $23.7 million from 4,249 screens in 30 territories last week, propelling the cume to $149.1 million.

Pic debuted in Australia with a very solid $3 million on 338 screens, including previews, an all-time record for Buena Vista Intl., beating “Ransom.”

But excluding sneaks, that was 16% below “Deep Impact’s” debut, and some exhibs expected a stronger lift-off for the Bruce Willis vehicle.

“Godzilla” climbed to $131 million (with Japan contributing $31.8 million in 46 days), and it’s set to overtake domestic’s $135 million this week after stomping into Spain.

“Lethal Weapon 4” nabbed an estimated $20.4 million on 3,123 screens in 30 countries and the cume zoomed to about $83 million.

It smashed the all-time opening record in Taiwan, scoring $1.7 million in two days on 49 screens, commanding 60% of the B.O. in the capital Taipei. Italy welcomed it with a muscular $1.1 million in three days on 112 (a 45% market share) plus previews.

“The X-Files” conjured up $13.3 million from 2,479 screens in 16 territories, elevating the total to $40.3 million.

Fox’s paranormal pic paced the field in the U.K., taking a spirited $5.9 million in six days on 419 (including previews).

“Dr. Dolittle” drummed up $6.2 million on 1,391 screens in 19 markets and advanced to $57 million. British auds have embraced the talking-animals laugher, ringing up $22.8 million near the end of the fourth lap.

“The Man in the Iron Mask” moved along to $108.2 million, fueled by Japan’s strapping $11.3 million in 19 days. “Deep Impact” topped $182 million, highlighted by Japan’s hefty $45.2 million.

“Six Days, Seven Nights” collected $5.2 million from holdovers and dashing debuts in Belgium ($600,000 in six days on 49), the Netherlands and Denmark; its total hit $38.8 million.

“Sliding Doors” platformed in New Zealand with $132,000 at 10 theaters, breaking house records in Auckland and Wellington; it has a superb $6.5 million after four weeks in Australia.

The omens are not bright for Joe Dante’s “Small Soldiers,” which has captured just $496,000 in two weeks in Hong Kong, its first foreign date.

Wes Craven’s “Scream 2” is a big hit in France but it has miscued in Japan; the cume is $61.5 million.

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