Pix ride ship’s wake

'Titanic' tops o'seas but 'Will,' 'Brown' hot

“Titanic” climbed through the stratosphere to $661.2 million overseas last week, while in its wake a handful of new releases posted fair-to-good results.

James Cameron’s epic grossed $55.2 million on 6,236 screens in 51 territories — amazingly, the eighth week in a row in which it’s minted more than $55 million.

In its latest conquests, the Fox Intl./Paramount behemoth garnered $203,000 in five days at just 11 theaters in India, and had equally dazzling maiden voyages in Lithuania and Estonia.

The most lucrative market, by a narrow margin, is France, where “Titanic’s” $83.7 million now reigns as the top earner in history, beating “Les Visiteurs.” Measured in ticket sales, the boat pic’s 14 million tally is second behind vintage Gallic click “La Grande Vadrouille,” which notched 17 million, but some exhibs give it a good shot of taking the crown.

One rival distrib mused last week that Fox’s prodigious vessel has been boosted by the fact that the competition generally has been weak, and that without it, the first quarter abroad would be rather flat.

Gus Van Sant’s “Good Will Hunting” had healthy bows in the U.K. (outscoring “Titanic” in London, but less robust in the provinces), France, Italy (where it was retitled “Will Hunting: Rebel Genius”), Argentina and several smaller markets. It had a subdued reception in Spain but some tradesters believe it will rally as Oscar anticipation rises. The Miramax film’s estimated cume is $13 million from 16 territories.

After two steady weeks in Spain, Quentin Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown” generated considerable want-to-see and pleasing figures in Australia, fueled partly by a visit from thesp Samuel Jackson. However, one Oz exhib said word of mouth is decidedly mixed.

Plenty of Demi Moore fans turned out for “G.I. Jane” in France and ensured that Ridley Scott’s action-adventure held well in its second in Germany. The cume rose to about $50 million, nosing past domestic’s $49 million, and appears headed toward $70 million.

Roadshow released “Wag the Dog” in Australia, its first major date, aiming to steal a march on “Primary Colors” (which debuts March 26), backed by a hefty TV campaign, but auds were not interested. “The Boxer” had a sluggish start Down Under, hindered, according to one exhib, by a title that masks its appeal to women.

“The Replacement Killers” (seven market cume: $9 million) had a desultory entry in Oz, disappointing one exhib who thought it might open a bit better than a run-of-the-mill actioner.

Clint Eastwood’s domestic dud “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” took a paltry $171,000 in six days in Italy in its offshore debut, but its March 11 opening day score in France was respectable, so the jury is still out.

“Amistad” delivered a modest $645,000 in six days on 171 in Spain, a meek $1.9 million in 12 days in Japan (off 32%) and a dull $2.2 million in 13 in the U.K. (tumbling 40%). One Spanish booker said Steven Spielberg’s epic has pinched a patriotic nerve as auds are reacting against its “historical errors,” such as presenting the Spanish royal family as “idiots and slave traders.”

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