Oscar boosts pic, but 'Green' takes Japan

“American Beauty” received the most significant boost from the Academy Awards in several territories, while Oscar’s glow has yet to flow to most other titles at the foreign box office.

Star of the frame was one of Oscar’s forgotten children, WB/UIP’s “The Green Mile” (cume: $72.3 million), which staged a wow bow in Japan with $7.7 million from 260 houses, nailing the top spot and light years ahead of fellow freshman “The Straight Story.”

“Mile,” which marshaled $118,200 from 30 Thai theaters, pushed BVI’s “Toy Story 2″ into second place in Japan, which with a Nippon cume of $18.8 million has already exceeded “A Bug’s Life’s” entire takings there after three frames. After animating $363,000 from 83 screens in South Africa, beating the original’s record as the nation’s best animation bow, “Toy Story 2″ has a cume of $214.3 million, putting it on course to pass $250 million and making it Disney’s fifth most popular animated pic in first release.

‘American’ buy

Oscar golden child “American Beauty” (cume: $138 million) rose 15% in its ninth lap in the top spot in Spain, where CTSI’s “Hanging Up” (cume: $2.1 million) rang into second spot, ahead of a surprisingly good turn (given film’s theme about American football) for WB’s “Any Given Sunday” (foreign cume: $3.6 million), which also nabbed a top spot $107,425 from 26 prints in Israel, while Pedro Almodovar’s “All About My Mother” got a 51% boost from Oscar.

“American Beauty” rose 29% in its ninth frame in the U.K., where “Toy Story 2” retained top spot in its eighth round and newcomers made little impression. Debuting outside the top 10 was CTSI’s “Girl, Interrupted” (cume: $5.3 million), with $350,000 from 125 outings, while BVI/Beacon’s “The Hurricane” took $200,000 from 29 copies and New Line’s “Magnolia” (cume: $16.7 million) mustered a disappointing $900,000 from 223 sites. “The Cider House Rules” struggled as it went wide (local cume: $800,000).

Frugal French

Gauls were saving their francs after packing cinemas at a cheap ticket promotion last week. “The Hurricane” (cume: $11.6 million) bowed softly behind local stayer “Le Gout des Autres,” while Miramax’s “The Cider House Rules” (cume: $13.1 million) brewed a poor perf and UIP’s “Angela’s Ashes” (cume: $16.8 million) tanked in both France and Belgium.

WB’s “The Story of Us” (estimated cume: $15.5 million) was so-so in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, behind local top-spot getter “Otto,” while UIP’s “Snow Falling on Cedars” (cume: $4.1 million) wilted.

With no serious competition, Miramax’s “Scream 3” (cume: $2.6 million) spooked the top spot in Australia, while CTSI’s “Bicentennial Man” (cume: $22.7 million) laffed $130,765 from 12 Taiwan theaters and BVI’s “Deuce Bigalow” (cume: $9.8 million) chortled $478,000 from 27 Singapore screens.

“The Beach” (cume: $76.7 million) staged Fox’s second best bow ever in Russia, with $217,000 from 19 huts, while grossing $224,675, $120,795 and $91,415 from 55, 38 and 20 houses in Turkey, Indonesia and Hungary, respectively. BVI’s “Fantasia 2000” Imax release hit $10.8 million after three months on 21 screens around the world, with just one more month to go on its release.

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