'Mexican' fares decently in Oz, 'Bridget' still wows U.K.

For product-starved exhibs and audiences, “The Mummy Returns” and “Pearl Harbor” can’t arrive too soon after the famine of the past month or so. “The Mummy” sequel rolls out in 80% of foreign territories over the next three weeks (starting in Australia May 10 and Italy May 11), while “Pearl Harbor” lands in a bunch of markets in the first week of June after invading Singapore and Malaysia day-and-date with the U.S.

The anorexic B.O. was only slightly pepped up last week by fresh bows for “The Mexican” and “Miss Congeniality,” plus “Hannibal” in two territories and Gallic fantasy/romance “Amelie from Montmartre.”

Kidnap caper “The Mexican” delivered a fair amount of loot in Australia (although it was fading fast entering its second stanza) and handy bounties in the U.K., France, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland and the Philippines. It appears the marquee appeal of Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt generally ensures respectable preems, but word of mouth quickly takes its toll, typified by precipitous falls in Brazil (tallying $1.1 million in 10 days, off 51%) and Italy ($3.9 million in 12 days, down 53%). However, there was a modest second weekend drop in Japan, where biz was buoyed by the Golden Week holidays.

Britain is still in thrall to “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” which had a sparkling third frame, “Spy Kids” continued to draw plenty of kids in its third lap, and Nick Hamm’s local teen thriller “The Hole” held pretty well in its soph session.

“Hannibal” surged to $162.4 million, spurred by lusty debuts in South Korea ($1.2 million in four days on 83) and South Africa ($507,000 in five days on 76), as well as Japan’s $21.2 million through May 1, midway through its fifth course. Expect the global cume to streak past domestic’s $164.3 million by May 7.

Entering Japan, its last major market, “Chocolat” whipped up a tasty $632,000 in three days on 135 and looked set to benefit from Golden Week; its cume is $62.1 million from 39 territories. “Traffic” motored into Japan with $1.4 million in three days on 192 — below expectations for distrib Nippon Herald, which blamed “Hannibal’s” resilience. “Remember the Titans” kicked off in Japan, its last significant market, with an inglorious $1.1 million in four days on 167, in line with “The Hurricane.”

Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s “Amelie from Montmartre” maintained the hot streak of French films on home turf this year. The “Delicatessen” helmer’s first film in five years, it centers on a waitress with a heart-of-gold who touches the lives of folks in her Bohemian Parisian district. Gallic critics raved (some hailing it as a masterpiece), and auds clearly responded to its poetic, magical mood as well as a cast studded with popular names including Mathieu Kassovitz and Jamel Debbouze. It’s a Miramax pickup domestically.

Benefiting from lack of competition and strong playability, “Miss Congeniality” minted $10.3 million from 2,733 engagements in 41 markets, elevating its cume to $77.4 million. The Sandra Bullock/Michael Caine starrer rustled up a hefty $1 million in six days on 120 in Brazil and $435,000 on 60 in Argentina, and chalked up OK numbers in Norway, Poland, Chile and Colombia. The beauty-queen pic reigned in Germany for the fifth consecutive frame and eased by just 25% in Mexico, tallying $3.5 million in 13 days.

“Dracula 2000,” “Head Over Heels” and “One Night at McCool’s” all tanked in Germany, where one booker laments, “The weather was too nice to expect better revenues, and there really wasn’t anything to attract auds.” Miramax’s vampire pic has sucked up an anemic $7.3 million from 20 territories.

The Steven Seagal/DMX combo in “Exit Wounds” isn’t proving as arresting overseas as at home, judging by its initial foreign engagements. One reason may be is that while rapper DMX was a magnet for African-Americans, he isn’t a drawing card abroad. The WB release saw little action in the U.K. (which the distrib rated as better than “The 6th Day,” but that’s nothing to boast about), Spain and France, and was diabolical in Italy. The good cops vs. bad cops caper was predictably muscular in action-skewed Taiwan but collapsed in its second lap in Australia, where one gloomy exhib notes the B.O. plummeted after the school vacation.

Lee Tamahori’s “Along Came a Spider” didn’t have a fairy-tale opening in its first offshore tryout in Mexico, weaving a so-so $420,000 in three days on 194, but maybe that’s not as surprising as the original, “Kiss the Girls,” which made a modest $39.5 million abroad in 1998. “Spider” faced spirited competition in Mexico from “15 Minutes” ($794,000 in six days on 200).

“The Emperor’s New Groove” has drummed up $67.2 million, and with Japan and Spain ahead, is tracking on par with “102 Dalmatians,” which has pocketed $114.7 million nearing the end of its excursion.

You could tell Italy is in a funk by the fact “Disney’s The Kid” was the best of the debutantes. The “Kid’s” cume is $38.4 million, with France and Holland the only major territories to come. “Almost Famous” generated copious amounts of favorable press coverage, but precious little want-to-see in Italy, where the Liv Tyler starrer “One Night at McCool’s” elicited the same cool response as in the U.S.

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