Many European exhibs who had been griping about the slow summer B.O. season had their prayers answered over the weekend as the “Star Wars” prequel had spectacular launches in six markets.
Based on estimates, distrib 20th Century Fox Intl. claimed Sunday that George Lucas’ sci-fier smashed industry records of various kinds in all six countries. The weekend haul will hoist the foreign cume north of $265 million.
Playing on 1,001 screens in Germany — the widest-ever release in that territory — “Star Wars: Episode 1 –The Phantom Menace” collared an estimated $13.7 million in four days. “Phantom” beat previous all-time champ “Men in Black’s” $12.5 million and accounted for an extraordinary 90% of the total B.O. on opening day Thursday and 70% on Friday-Saturday, according to Fox Intl.
In Spain, “Phantom Menace” clocked about $4.2 million in three days (number of screens wasn’t available), soaring past prior record-holder “Independence Day” by 40%.
Fox estimated tallies of $1.1 million in four days on 110 prints in Austria (topping “Independence Day”), $942,000 in four days on 54 in Denmark (also beating “ID4”) and $482,000 on opening day on 100 in Sweden (36% ahead of the previous best first-day by “Lethal Weapon 4.”).
“Menace” fetched an estimated $166,000 in three days in Oslo, which reps about 25% of the entire B.O. in Norway, so Fox put the nationwide gross at about $675,000 on 73 prints, hailing that as another record.