'Bridget,' 'Dundee' star in overseas preems

A socko bow by “Bridget Jones’s Diary” in its native U.K. and a jaunty world preem by “Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles” in Australia provided a couple of memorable moments in an otherwise quiet frame last weekend that was sustained mostly by family and children’s fare.

Over in Japan, “Hannibal” kept cooking, minting $3 million in its second course on 363 prints (sliding by a reasonable 36%), bringing the nine-day tally to a phenom $11.2 million. The foreign cume topped $148 million and it’s on course to overtake domestic’s $163.4 million.

“Bridget Jones’s Diary” stumped up $10 million in four days on 414 screens (including sneaks last Wednesday and Thursday) in Blighty, ranking as the territory’s eighth-biggest debut of all time and Universal’s second-best behind “Hannibal.”

The Renee Zellweger/Hugh Grant starrer is slated for Spain on June 8, Australia on July 26 and Germany, Latin America and Southeast Asia in August.

Socko ‘Spy’

In its first offshore tryout, Miramax’s “Spy Kids” cruised into the U.K. with a promising $1.3 million in three days on 402 screens ($1.6 million including previews), better than “George and the Jungle” and a hair below “102 Dalmatians.”

Paul Hogan’s attempt to breathe new life into his Crocodile Dundee character (15 years after the original and 13 years after the sequel) was greeted by a fairly large turnout in Oz, ringing up $1.1 million in five days on 228. The comedy, helmed by Simon Wincer (a Paramount release domestically; a Universal pick-up Down Under), commanded the top spot by a clear margin, and probably could have counted on an extra few hundred thousand bucks if the weather during the Easter break had not been so summery.

“Save the Last Dance” collected $798,000 in its second turn on 154 in Oz, where Sam Raimi’s “The Gift” initialed with a pretty good $320,000 in four days on 87.

Holiday holdup

Figures in many territories either were not available or are estimates due to the Easter holidays. Buena Vista Intl. estimated “The Emperor’s New Groove” coined about $6 million over the weekend, hoisting its cume to $52 million. The toon retained pole position in its second lap in Mexico, raking in a splendid $2.2 million in 10 days (off 19%) and improved by 11% in Oz, notching $898,000 in 11 days.

“Rugrats in Paris” was a fave with vacationing kids in its second rounds in the U.K. ($1.8 million on 455), Mexico ($388,000 on 240) and Australia ($636,000 on 165).

Early in its foreign excursion, “The Mexican” predictably piqued lots of interest in Mexico, snaring $1.3 million on 205, including previews. The Brad Pitt/Julia Roberts starrer stole a smart $322,000 on 44 in Argentina, placed No. 2 behind local rookie “Rodrigo, La Pelicula” ($500,000 on 108).

Proving it has great playability, “Miss Congeniality” reigned in Germany, fetching $2.4 million in its third trip on 528 prints, ahead of the soph session of “Traffic” ($1.4 million on 277). “Dungeons and Dragons” invaded Germany with an unremarkable $835,000 on 295.

Excluding the latest contributions from Europe, Miramax put “Chocolat’s” cume at $51.2 million from 39 territories.

After corpsing in Spain and Taiwan, Fox’s domestic disaster “Monkeybone” lucked out in Argentina and Brazil but was at least respectable in Mexico ($268,000 on 120). “Valentine” won few hearts in the U.K., taking $675,000 in three days on 221.

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