Crowe pic, huge preems inflate foreign B.O.

Gangbuster international preems by “Dinosaur” and “Shanghai Noon” plus the seemingly unstoppable “Gladiator” powered the foreign B.O. last weekend.

Adding to the momentum, “Mission to Mars” posted one of its stronger openings to date in Japan, where fellow rookie “Erin Brockovich” also raked in a tidy sum.

Some figures were estimates while most distribs did not report due to the Memorial Day weekend and a Monday public holiday in the U.K.

“Dinosaur” devoured $475,000 on 31 prints in Singapore, a record bow for a Disney animated release, besting prior champ “Toy Story 2” by 25% and last summer’s “Tarzan” by 50%. Pic’s first major market date overseas will be June 15 in Australia.

High ‘Noon’ in Malaysia

Jackie Chan’s army of fans turned out for “Shanghai Noon” in Malaysia, delivering $550,000 on 51 screens — an all-time high for a BVI film, topping “Armageddon” by 25%. Pic also ranked as the fifth biggest debut by a U.S. film in the territory, behind “Godzilla,” “Tomorrow Never Dies,” “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and “Twister.”

“Gladiator” reigned as the frame’s top earner, minting an estimated $21 million overseas, propelling its cume to about $73 million. Ridley Scott’s epic opens so big and holds so well, it’s tracking to gross well north of $150 million and could even reach $200 million.

The Russell Crowe starrer seized $4.8 million on 692 arenas in Germany (the third-best preem of the year there behind, of all things, “American Pie” and “Pokemon”) and $450,000 on 85 in Austria. In both markets those were UIP’s ninth-biggest debuts ever.

“Gladiator” scored $450,000 on 52 in German-speaking Switzerland and $350,000 on 23 in Hong Kong.

‘Gladiator’ conquers U.K.

Demonstrating remarkable resilience, Maximus’ saga had a terrif third session in the U.K., slipping just 14% and taking in $4.5 million to bring the territory total to a whopping $22.5 million. In superb soph sessions, pic tallied $5.5 million in 10 days in Spain, off 5%, and in Taiwan, it’s earned $1 million to date, easing by 18%.

“Mission to Mars” landed in Japan with $2 million in two days on 236 planets, commanding pole position ahead of “Erin Brockovich’s” $1.2 million on 200 and two other freshmen, “The Insider” and “Any Given Sunday,” whose figures were not available.

Distrib BVI sold “Mars” as a kind of “Armageddon,” playing up the action elements. Its cume in BVI’s markets is about $19 million. Typically, pic suffers a steep fall in its second weekend as word of mouth spreads like a virus.

‘Erin’ rising in Japan

“Erin’s” weekend biz was about in line with Columbia TriStar’s projections, and the distrib expects the Julia Roberts starrer will really take off Wednesday, which is dubbed Ladies’ Day in Japan. Introduced May 10, this initiative has boosted Wednesday receipts overall by 40%-50% over normal weekday trading by selling tickets to women for $10 — a big savings on the regular $18 price.

In the U.K., “Final Destination” checked in with an estimated $1.5 million on 199, while “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo” fetched a tepid $950,000 on 253. “Deuce’s” cume is $26.5 million with only a few major markets including Italy and Belgium to come.

In Oz, “28 Days” took an OK $592,000 on 133, but it will have a short life as “Mission: Impossible 2” blasts off there on Thursday.

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