‘Bug’s’ boffo bow

'Shakespeare,' 'Mail' deliver at o'seas B.O.

B.O. spirits soared overseas last weekend on the backs of smash debuts by “A Bug’s Life” and “You’ve Got Mail,” while “Shakespeare in Love” wowed auds in Australia.

Disney/Pixar’s tale from the animal kingdom set the pace by harvesting a sizzling $18.5 million from about 3,300 screens in 21 territories.

“Bug’s” biggest haul was $6.4 million in its soph session on 483 screens in the U.K. (a mere 5% decline from the initial weekend), bringing the 10-day cume to $15.5 million.

Germany delivered $3.2 million on 634 prints, 60% ahead of “Toy Story’s” entry and Buena Vista Intl.’s second-highest animated preem behind “The Lion King,” while France generated $3 million on 623, some 6% up on “Toy Story.” Pricey Gallic pic “Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar” held pole position in its second frame in France, although its 45% fall-off in Paris suggests word of mouth isn’t in its favor.

Figures from some studios and territories were not available because of Presidents Day and national holidays in Korea and Taiwan.

“Bug’s” posted BVI’s third-highest toon bow in Italy, with $1.2 million on 267, and it dipped by just 9% in Spain for a superb $4.3 million in 10 days. The offshore cume hit $78.5 million.

Nora Ephron’s “You’ve Got Mail” notched $4.3 million on 443 in Germany, including previews. The romantic comedy hooked a pleasing $3.3 million in four days on 233 in Japan and $1.4 million in three days on 203 in Spain, WB’s third-highest debut there.

The Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan starrer also nabbed $481,000 on 64 in Austria, $454,000 on 28 in Hong Kong and $400,000 on 60 in Sweden, plus a total of $1.1 million from similarly snappy bows in Switzerland, Norway, Portugal and South Africa. The cume reached $49.5 million.

John Madden’s “Shakespeare in Love” wooed $1.1 million on 171 Down Under, just 20% below last year’s “Sliding Doors.” The Joseph Fiennes/Gwyneth Paltrow headliner actually improved by 5% in its third round in the U.K., minting nearly $3 million and elevating the total to a winsome $13.5 million.

After using the Berlin film fest as a springboard, Teutonic wartime lesbian romance “Aimee & Jaguar” launched on home turf with a respectable $1 million on 243.

“Meet Joe Black” climbed to $77.5 million after coining $3.5 million on 1,672 screens in 20 territories, propelled chiefly by Italy’s $5.8 million through its third outing.

Among its UIP stablemates, “Ronin” topped $45.1 million, while “Babe: Pig in the City” fetched a lean $24 million and “Psycho” crawled to $10.1 million.

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