“Eyes Wide Shut’s” steamy foreign preem in Japan, good-to-great bows by “Wild Wild West” in 13 territories, and “Austin Powers’ ” fab launch in the U.K. sparked cinemas last weekend.
Brazil auds went nuts for “Notting Hill,” and the “Star Wars” prequel levitated to $184.6 million overseas, but a combo of hot weather and a shortage of new releases depressed takings in Germany, Spain and France. Considering the summer doldrums in France, “The Blair Witch Project” had a dashing debut there, its first offshore market, nabbing $643,000 in five days on 125 screens.
The micro-budget scare ’em outscored fellow rookie “Forces of Nature” in Paris (playing on 30 screens, 20 fewer than “Nature”) as the Sandra Bullock starrer posted a lukewarm $750,000 on 481 screens nationwide.
Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” minted $2.5 million in two days on 253 in Japan, Warner Bros.’ third-biggest opener there in the past 10 years, behind the original “Batman” and “Eraser.” Topliners Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman hyped the pic at its Tokyo premiere in mid-July and the critics mostly raved. Auds in Japan, as will be the case elsewhere, are seeing the film as Kubrick intended, minus the digital tampering that happened in the U.S.
The sexual thriller was No. 2 in Japan behind the rampant “Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace,” which coined $4.3 million in its fourth orbit on 404 planets (off just 4%), propelling the total to $49.6 million. All told, George Lucas’ epic scooped up $11.9 million on 2,475 screens in 25 countries; it’s destined to reach $200 million by Aug. 9. Distrib Fox Intl. reported the pic now ranks as the No. 2 earner of all time in Brazil, behind “Titanic,” with $9.5 million in the till through its sixth go-round.
“Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” conquered the U.K. with $9.6 million in three days on 442 (including previews), the territory’s fifth-best bow, and rang up a very good but not spectacular $328,000 in four days on 20 in Hong Kong. The spy spoof displaced “Phantom Menace” from the top spot in the U.K., falling 39% in its third frame, tallying a stupendous $44.4 million.
“Wild Wild West” corralled $9.7 million from 2,127 screens in 23 territories, spurred by Germany’s $4.1 million in four days on a massive 788 prints (WB’s third-best debut), Taiwan’s $1 million in two days on 56 (Warner’s sixth highest), Mexico’s $1 million in three days on 400 and the Philippines’ $484,000 in five days on 58.
Debuts in Austria, Denmark, Israel, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Singapore, Malaysia and Venezuela ponied up a combined $2.5 million, bringing the cume to $17.2 million. Generally, the Will Smith vehicle opened in pole position, but it was relegated to second spot in Belgium by “The Mummy,” which raked in $1.7 million in 12 days (albeit tumbling by 49%), and in Mexico, where “Tarzan” pulled $1.3 million in its third lap, amassing a superb $9.9 million.
“The Mummy” uncovered $8.6 million in 21 territories as its cume hit $173.5 million, while “Tarzan” harvested $4.1 million and its total topped $39 million. The Brendan Fraser-topliner fell by 38% in France for a nifty $8.5 million in 12 days, where “Mr. Nice Guy” eyed a soft $594,000 in five days on 218.
“Notting Hill” became the eighth pic released this year to pass $100 million overseas, standing at $102.4 million after fetching $5.4 million from holdovers and strapping bows in Brazil ($993,000 on 170), Thailand ($215,000 on 42) and Iceland. “Big Daddy” eased by a reasonable 35% in Thailand for $596,000 in 10 days, a decent result for a comedy in an action-oriented market.
In a quiet frame in Australia, local caper “Two Hands,” starring Heath Ledger and Bryan Brown, earned a promising $533,000 on 123 screens and is generating good word of mouth. “Instinct” barely caused a ripple, and “Carrie 2: The Rage” was dead on arrival.