‘Titanic’ still walks on water overseas

Boat to overtake 'Dundee' in Oz, 'Monty' in UK for #1 all-time

You just knew “Titanic” had to lose power overseas at some stage. Some collapse: James Cameron’s epic grossed a still-hefty $37 million on 6,238 screens in 52 territories last weekend, driving the international total to a dizzying $704.7 million.

That halted the unprecedented run of eight consecutive weekends of $40 million-plus, but the chances are the Fox Intl./Paramount blockbuster will get a considerable uplift from next Monday’s Academy Awards.

Oscars promise interest

The maritime disaster pic is headed for upwards of $850 million abroad; just how far up is anyone’s guess, but a fistful of major Oscars conceivably could send this phenom towards $1 billion.

Slugging it out for “Titanic’s” top territory are France with $88.5 million in the till, and Germany’s $87.3 million. In Japan, its $86 million bounty has just overtaken “Die Hard With a Vengeance’s” $83 million to rank as Fox’s all-time B.O. champ there.

Closing in on ‘Monty’

In the U.K., the ocean liner steamed past “Jurassic Park” to $80.5 million, now standing as that market’s second-highest grosser ever and fast closing in on “The Full Monty’s” $85 million.

Other cumes include Italy’s $51.7 million, Spain’s $32.3 million and Australia’s $28.4 million, where it’s now certain to beat “Crocodile Dundee” to become the No. 1 title in history.

Healthy bows all around

Relieving the tedium of biz being totally dominated by one superhit, “Tomorrow Never Dies,” “As Good as It Gets,” “The Jackal,” “The Full Monty” and “Good Will Hunting” all posted healthy debuts at the weekend.

In its last major date, “Tomorrow Never Dies” charged into Japan with $2.1 million in two days on 207, in local currency some 17% up on “Goldeneye,” which bowed on 158. That brings the cume to $188.5 million and its calendar-year gross to a tad over $100 million — only the second film (after “Titanic”) to cross that milestone so far this year.

The consistently solid performer “As Good as It Gets” harvested $8.7 million on 2,212 screens in 36 markets from a combo of preems and holdovers, and the total topped $47 million. Leading the impressive openers for James Brooks’ comedy were the U.K.’s $1.5 million on 254 and Mexico’s $389,000 on 131.

Michael Caton-Jones’ “The Jackal” hit the target in Germany, bagging $2.6 million on 358. The cume is a sturdy $71.8 million, eclipsing domestic’s $54 million.

“The Full Monty” pocketed a tidy $1 million on 90 in Italy and $364,000 on 42 in Argentina, propelling the total to $177.8 million.

‘Good Will’ slips

Gus Van Sant’s “Good Will Hunting” was greeted by positive crix and a rousing $1.5 million on 147 in Australia, but a slim $128,000 on 30 in Sweden. The Miramax pic’s cume is $22 million in 23 territories, led by the U.K.’s $4.7 million in 10 days (slipping 24%), Germany’s $3.8 million through the fourth, and France’s $2 million in 12 days (off just 14%).

In a rare public tilt at stars, New Line Intl. partly blames the inability of Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro to tour foreign territories to hype “Wag the Dog” for its lackluster openings last weekend in the U.K. and Spain and for its meager 11-day score of $359,000 in Australia. Critical pans in the U.K. and Oz didn’t help either.

Actors blamed

A political satire is a hard sell internationally, and harder still without “active talent support,” a New Line exec said, noting the only tour was by De Niro, who accompanied the film to the Berlin fest; it hasn’t opened in Germany yet.

“Amistad” isn’t easy to market abroad either, reflected in its dull weekend bows in Taiwan, Sweden and Argentina, although the results were healthier in Italy ($454,000 on 99) and Portugal ($146,000 on 35). The cume is $16.2 million.

David Fincher’s “The Game” landed in Italy with a pleasing $950,000 on 180 and its tally rose to $57.8 million, comfortably ahead of domestic’s $45.4 million. The Polygram pic’s best markets are Japan’s $11.1 million, Germany’s $7.6 million, France’s $7.2 million and Italy’s $6 million.

“Flubber” bounced into Italy with a moderate $772,000 on 190 and Scandinavia with soft results; cume is $44.5 million.

“Mousehunt” has collected a fair $1.6 million in nine days on 142 in Japan and a jolly $415,000 in four days on 26 in Singapore; the cume is about $12.5 million.

France has given Clint Eastwood and Warner Bros. a bit of solace for the otherwise ignored “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” The pic opened at No. 2 in Paris and in fourth spot nationally, registering an OK $768,000 on 196.

“Alien Resurrection” moved up to $85.7 million, “Devil’s Advocate” reached an estimated $82 million, “Starship Troopers” got to $58.1 million, and “L.A. Confidential” edged up to about $43 million.

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