Only stars are 'Mexican,' 'Miss,' 'Exit'

For most major markets, April ended up pretty much as it began: in a trough, marking an unwelcome hiatus for exhibs before “The Mummy Returns” and “Pearl Harbor” start rolling out overseas later this month.

Last weekend the B.O. ennui was only slightly alleviated by freshmen “The Mexican,” “Miss Congeniality” and “Exit Wounds” as well as Gallic fantasy/romance “Amelie of Montmartre.”

Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt fans turned out in force for “The Mexican” in Australia, stumping up $1.5 million in six days on 209 screens, but they seemed relatively less enthused in the U.K., where the three-day take was $1.6 million on 392.

Blighty auds are still in thrall to “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” which fetched $5 million in its third frame on 422, propelling the territory cume to a stellar $30.8 million. “Spy Kids” fell by 34% in its third lap, cuming a terrif $7.5 million.

‘Mexican’ pulls

“The Mexican” ransomed a uniformly sturdy $320,000 on 44 in Belgium, $212,000 on 25 in Switzerland and $182,000 on 52 in the Philippines. French B.O. figures were not available, but in Paris and suburbs Gore Verbinski’s kidnap caper ranked No. 2, selling 68,000 tickets in five days on 45 screens — trounced by Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “Amelie of Montmartre,” which clocked 197,000 ducats on 49. The saga of a young woman’s search for her Prince Charming, it’s the first film in five years for the “Delicatessen” helmer; Miramax has U.S. rights.

“Hannibal” cume climbed to $157.5 million, excluding the weekend gross in Japan, where there was a public holiday Monday, spurred by lusty debuts in South Korea ($775,000 digested in two days on 83) and South Africa ($351,000 in three days on 76).

“Exit Wounds” bled a mediocre $735,000 on 243 in the U.K. (WB rated that as better than “The 6th Day,” but that’s nothing to boast about), a solid $355,000 on 50 in Taiwan and a soft $485,000 on 246 in Spain. The distrib estimated opening tallies of $139,000 on 98 in Italy and $654,000 on 311 in France — both lousy.

‘Miss’ is congenial

Benefiting from lack of competition and generally strong playability, “Miss Congeniality” rang up $5.7 million from 2,733 engagements in 41 markets, elevating cume to $72.8 million. The secret agent caper unearthed a good but not outstanding $387,000 on 120 in Brazil and $283,000 on 60 in Argentina and chalked up pleasing numbers in Norway, Poland, Chile and Colombia.

The Sandra Bullock starrer ranked first in Germany for the fifth consecutive weekend, topping $14 million, and eased by just 25% in Mexico, tallying $2.8 million in 10 days.

Miramax’s “Dracula 2000″ proved toothless in Germany, nibbling $724,000 on 360; vampire pic’s cume is an anemic $7 million from 20 territories.

“The Emperor’s New Groove” has drummed up $66.7 million, and with Japan and Spain ahead, it’s tracking on par with “102 Dalmatians,” which has earned $114.6 million nearing the end of its foreign excursion.

The luckless “15 Minutes” had a hard time in Mexico, taking $486,000 on 200, where “Say It Isn’t So” bombed with $163,000 on 150.

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