‘Phantom’ phenom

Pic is year's first to pass $200 mil o'seas

While “Runaway Bride,” “Inspector Gadget” and “The General’s Daughter” made good overseas debuts in a solid frame at the box office, George Lucas’ “Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace” became 1999’s first film to top $200 million overseas.

The sci-fi pic checked in with a foreign cume of $218.8 million for Fox after nabbing $854,146 from 55 Finnish frames for the second-biggest preem there behind “Independence Day.”

But not far behind “Wars” is UIP’s “The Mummy” with $190.5 million, though it took in just $28,725 in its first day on 40 screens in Indonesia.

Also eyeing a milestone is Fox’s “Entrapment” with $93.3 million. It should become 1999’s ninth member of the century club after a weekend date in Japan, where UIP’s “Forces of Nature” (cume: $33.8 million) blew in $701,920 from 120 houses.

BVI’s “Inspector Gadget” ratcheted $248,000 from 74 theaters in Thailand and set new highs for a Disney live-action release by displacing record holder “101 Dalmatians.” “Gadget” nailed an excellent $327,000 from 51 theaters in South Korea, where UIP’s freshman “The General’s Daughter” saluted a terrif $513,190 from 32 screens.

BVI’s “Runaway Bride” ran off with $900,000 from 32 screens in Hong Kong, while the other Roberts starrer “Notting Hill” (Universal) climbed past its domestic cume with a foreign tally of $113.7 million, after romancing $1.3 million from 223 Mexican mansions.

“Hill” also grossed $911,750 from 65 prints in Argentina (where UIP’s “Mod Squad” bombed with just $15,566 from 10 theaters), $103,185 from 26 Colombian cinemas, $390,285 from 41 Norwegian houses and $340,000 from 38 sites in the Philippines. After notching the fifth-best bow of the year in Brazil, the cume there is $2.1 million.

“Wild Wild West” (cume: $42.2 million) lassoed a rip-snorting $7.8 million No. 1 bow in France (where “The Blair Witch Project” fell 24%). The Western fantasy nabbed WB’s third-best bow ever in Spain and took $276,820 from 51 Portuguese prints.

Germany wasn’t dazzled by UIP’s “EDtv” (cume: $8.3 million). The Ron Howard pic was also less than stellar in Austria ($81,685 on 30 prints), Denmark (53,030 on 20 prints) and Turkey ($49,170 from 20 prints), but took a slightly better $57,370 from 10 sites in Sweden. But the Swedes went for BVI’s “Ten Things I Hate About You,” which nabbed $96,000 from 15 screens.

WB’s “Eyes Wide Shut” (cume: $9.9 million) garnered a terrific $2.2 million on 294 screens in Australia and New Zealand.

CTSI’s “Universal Soldier: The Return” (cume: $2.7 million) was below par Down Under and only mildly beefier (with $439,000 from 198 theaters) in Brazil after blah turns in France and elsewhere. CTSI’s “Big Daddy” (cume: $2 million) fathered a fine $221,714 from 28 screens in Singapore, where UIP’s “The Rage: Carrie 2” (cume: $2.4 million) spooked a great $185,360 from 21 sites.

New Line’s “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” (cume: $42.5 million) spied a shagadelic $217,230 from 30 houses in Israel after last frame’s wow bow in Blighty, where BVI’s “Doug’s 1st Movie” was tepid and BVI/Miramax’s “Playing by Heart” earned $48,000 from seven screens.

“The Matrix” (cume: $175.4 million) posted WB’s best bow ever in Hungary with $312,365 from 28 prints, as well as scoring a great $113,080 from 20 Czech and Slovak screens. Fox’s “Never Been Kissed” (cume: $12.2 million) slobbered $90,136 during 29 Dutch dates.

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