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Making their mark

Studio pix sail past milestones o'seas

While local films stole much of the thunder in France, Italy and Spain, several American films reached or neared significant milestones at the overseas box office.

With a cume of $233.9 million, BVI’s “Tarzan” passed “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” to become Disney’s fifth most popular release ever, behind “Pretty Woman” (cume: $259.7 million). Certain to pass $250 million, “Tarzan” has found its most popular markets in France ($36.7 million), Spain ($16.9 million), Italy ($15.9 million) and Japan ($12.7 million).

With gangbuster biz in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and France, the worldwide tally for “End of Days” passed $160 million, while its foreign total is just shy of $100 million.

Spirited ‘Sense’

BVI/Spyglass’ “The Sixth Sense” passed the double-century mark overseas with a cume of $203.6 million after spooking a sensational $7.3 million in Germany and Austria, and dazzling more than $500,000 from 79 sites in South Africa (Bruce Willis’ best bow there ever and that nation’s fifth-best preem in history), where Miramax’s “Dogma” (cume: $2.1 million) was so-so.

“Sixth Sense” also sensed a promising $1.1 million from 401 screens in its first day in France, where nearly half the top-10 were Euro pics, and the sleeper hit was French/U.K./ Swiss/Nepalese co-production “Himalaya.”

Most pics also struggled in the U.K., but it was happy holidays in Spain, where Goya noms sent local pics skyrocketing. With a cume of $7.5 million, “All About My Mother” became Pedro Almodovar’s highest-grosser in Spain ever.

‘Bride’ woos Italy

Italy hosted a glut of titles, topped by champ “Runaway Bride,” which may outstrip year-end chart-topper “Notting Hill’s” $22 million, followed by Leonardo Pieraccioni’s local pic “The Fish in Love” ($11 million). “Tarzan” ruled the animation circuit at the expense of “The Iron Giant” and “Kiriku.”

In Australia, unseasonably cool weather made for a great foreign preem for “Sleepy Hollow,” while sophomores “End of Days,” “Bicentennial Man,” “Bowfinger,” “Snow Falling on Cedars,” “Being John Malkovich” and “Holy Smoke” did good biz.

BVI’s first Imax feature “Fantasia/2000” amassed $1.2 million from 21 screens in 14 markets, including France, Germany, Japan, Holland, Spain, Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico and Thailand, making it the fastest-grossing Imax film in history.

Sony’s “Stuart Little” (cume: $6.2 million) scuttled grandly into its fifth market, nabbing $359,622 from 43 locals in a top-spot Puerto Rico debut and continues to do great biz in Mexico ahead of “Pokemon,” while New Line’s “The Bachelor” slopped $849,953 from 143 dates in Hong Kong.

Sony’s “Random Hearts” (cume: $32.1 million) landed in first place in Argentina, with $237,370 from 41 cinemas.

UIP’s “The World is Not Enough” (cume: $146.6 million) actioned $33,893 from eight theaters in Trinidad and $441,975 from 45 cinemas in New Zealand (where Sony’s “Bicentennial Man” machined $137,959 from 39 prints). UIP stablemate “Bowfinger” (cume: $25.3 million) laffed $184,592 and $124,681 from 36 and 46 prints in Belgium and Taiwan, respectively.

Summit’s “Blair Witch Project” (cume: $78.9 million) spooked an excellent $240,328 from 30 tents in Portugal and $39,743 from eight campsites in Hungary.

Fox’s “Anna and the King” (cume: $17.4 million) did some brisk biz at last, including $1 million from 59 screens in South Korea, where Sony’s “The Bone Collector” (three-market cume: $5.3 million) spooked a great $526,951 from 33 theaters.

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