U.S. distribs threw a lot of films into foreign markets last week but only a handful enthused audiences or exhibs, prolonging the B.O. torpor overseas.
Meanwhile, BVI/Spyglass thriller “The Sixth Sense” conjured up $18.4 million overseas as cume soared to $278.3 million, nosing past domestic. Worldwide, M. Night Shyamalan’s pic just surpassed “Armageddon” to rank as the 11th-highest grosser in history.
Among the underachievers, James Mangold’s “Girl, Interrupted” had a mediocre foreign preem in Australia, “Bicentennial Man” was mauled by critics and shunned by customers in the U.K. and Kevin Smith’s “Dogma” barely caused a ripple in France.
It was left to holdover “The Sixth Sense” to sustain the biz in France, Spain and Holland, while “American Pie” defied gravity in a riotous third frame in Germany. The coarse crusty comedy’s cume touched $99.5 million through Jan. 27 and was due to cross the century mark during the weekend.
Some of the Academy Award hopefuls are notching pleasing figures, but they’re playing on too few screens to make a marked impact on ticket sales. Take “American Beauty,” which platformed impressively in Germany, Italy, Holland and Finland, posting screen averages that easily beat “Shakespeare in Love’s” bow. Sam Mendes’ dark comedy expanded from 20 to 25 screens in Israel, tallying a terrif $560,000 in two weeks.
Alan Parker’s “Angela’s Ashes” had a buoyant second outing in Blighty but didn’t connect in Spain.
“Sixth Sense” had wow soph sessions in Spain and Holland and a thrilling third in France, where it’s a week or so away from topping the $26.9 million lifetime total of “Armageddon,” BVI’s most lucrative live actioner there.
Tim Burton’s “Sleepy Hollow” fetched a fine $1.8 million in six days on 233 in Spain and held remarkably well in Greece, scoring $818,000 in two weeks. Adding contributions from the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, cume reached $20 million.
“The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc” generated plenty of media coverage and respectable figures in Italy, unseating “The World Is Not Enough” after only one week in pole position. Luc Besson’s epic opened OK in Colombia but was soft in Hong Kong and Hungary; cume is about $45.2 million, including France’s handy but not brilliant $17 million.
“Toy Story 2” stole $400,000 in two days at 18 toy shops in Taiwan, two weeks before the Chinese New Year. With $45.7 million in the till before its European campaign, the Disney pic is tracking 42% ahead of the original and 10% up on “A Bug’s Life” at the same stage of their release cycles.
“Tarzan” topped $260.1 million, driven by Japan’s $21.3 million, “The World Is Not Enough” hit $187.3 million, “The Blair Witch Project” peaked at $91.8 million, and “Deep Blue Sea” sailed to $91 million on the back of a good bow in France, its last Euro date.
“The Bone Collector” had unexceptional debuts in Germany, Austria and Denmark but earned the top spot in South Africa and Venezuela. “South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut” (cume: $23.3 million) did respectably in Germany, where the “South Park” TV series launched last September.
“The Heart of the Warrior,” critic turned helmer Daniel Monzon’s tale of a Madrid teen who dreams of becoming another Conan, had a solid entry in Spain, where the gay-themed “Second Skin” had a steady second. In France, “Le Pique-Nique de Lulu Kreuz,” saga of a famous musician’s family reunion, toplining Philippe Noiret and Carole Bouquet and penned by Yasmina Reza (who wrote the legit smash “Art”), looks assured of a long run.
“Stigmata” fared a bit better than some exhibs expected in the U.K. but they predicted poor word of mouth will curb its life. “Blue Streak” made what will be fleeting appearances in Japan, Argentina, Sweden and Finland; cume is $43 million with Italy the only major market remaining.