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Hits buoy quiet holiday

'Sixth' past 5th century; 'Tarzan' tops $400 mil

“The Sixth Sense,” “The World Is Not Enough,” “American Pie” and “Sleepy Hollow” buoyed biz last week although exhibs in some major territories said the holiday season is not tracking as strongly as a year ago.

Nonetheless, significant milestones were recorded by “The Sixth Sense,” the 16th blockbuster in history to cross $500 million B.O. worldwide, and “Tarzan,” the third animated hit to top $400 million globally.

Ghost story’s foreign total soared to $227 million, powered by France’s $7.8 million at 412 haunted houses and similarly boffo bows in Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Greece. Pic’s s a sure bet to reach $300 million abroad and has a good shot at becoming only the 11th film to notch $600 million worldwide.

The 007 caper set benchmarks for the Bond franchise as it launched in the Philippines, Greece, Poland, Russia and Lebanon. All told, the Pierce Brosnan vehicle harvested $15 million from 3,233 screens in 23 countries; cume vaulted to $168.4 million.

The infamous pie scene and a hefty marketing push by distrib Constantin helped ensure a hot debut for “American Pie” in Germany. Teen comedy’s tally touched $79 million, with playdates ahead in Japan, Holland, Argentina and some smaller markets.

Tim Burton’s “Sleepy Hollow” initialed strongly in Blighty, taking pole position, but plunged by 41% in its soph session in Australia, indicating word of mouth isn’t favorable.

“Double Jeopardy” had a lively entry Down Under after reasonably solid runs in Korea, Taiwan and Israel, as did “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo” in its foreign preem. One Aussie programmer says ticket sales at his loop are up 13% on last year but he doubts they’ll keep pace through the end of this month because the product is not as compelling as 12 months ago.

He lauds the muscular biz by “Snow Falling on Cedars” and “Being John Malkovich” (both in their third frame) but notes “Pokemon” opened brightly but faded fast (mirroring the U.S. pattern) and opined “Anna and the King” would have fared much better had it not gone out during the holidays.

In Spain, tradesters griped about a lack of new releases and praised distribber Lauren for issuing “Teaching Mrs. Tingle,” which posted healthy averages in Madrid and Barcelona. Indeed, that was the Miramax pic’s healthiest debut thus far in a fruitless foreign campaign, which has generated about $6 million from 20 markets.

In Japan, “Sixth Sense” has racked up $65 million through its 11th weekend, “End of Days” topped $20 million in its third, “Tarzan” has minted $17.8 million nearing the end of its fourth lap, and “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc” has $14.2 million after its fifth. Luc Besson’s historical saga has collected a fair $19 million in 11 territories for Columbia TriStar, plus about $18 million in France.

With $112 million in the kitty, “End of Days” is well on the way to doubling its domestic result — testimony to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s seemingly bullet-proof appeal abroad.

“The Blair Witch Project” has garnered $84.2 million, including Japan’s smart $7.1 million in its third weekend.

Italo bookers say this holiday season trails behind the past few years, despite the resilient “Runaway Bride” and “The Ninth Gate.”

Invading Brazil, “Pokemon” scored a hearty $1.5 million in six days at 296 sites. Cume climbed to $11.1 million in 12 territories in Latin America and Australia/New Zealand.

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