Laffer still on top despite 42% drop

Sandra Bullock’s star power in “Miss Congeniality” brightened the weekend in four offshore markets where pickings were otherwise slim. The Warner/Roadshow pic charmed auds as it launched in Germany and Austria and easily retained pole position in its soph session in the U.K. and in its third frame in Australia.

“Miss Congeniality” fetched an estimated $2.1 million Thursday-Saturday on 388 prints in Germany, well ahead of “Chocolat” in its third lap (a sweet $1.1 million on 378) and local freshman “Modchen, Modchen” ($987,000 on 316).

The Bullock/Michael Caine headliner took approximately $1.6 million Friday-Saturday on 361 in the U.K. and $987,000 Thursday-Sunday on 266 Down Under. The latter was a 42% drop, but some attrition was inevitable, considering pic has earned a terrif $5.9 million to date.

Fox laffer “Dude, Where’s My Car?” landed in Oz at No. 2, ringing up a sturdy $850,000 on 156, just below the entry of “Road Trip,” a lusty performer in that market. “Dude” pulled in $1.3 million in its second sojourn on 595 in Germany, bringing the market’s estimated 11-day cume to $3.8 million.

Thomas Carter’s musical drama “Save the Last Dance” boogied into the U.K. in second spot, minting $1.2 million on 338, but was less alluring in its German bow ($800,000 on 376).

Jennifer Lopez starrer “The Wedding Planner” walked down the aisle in Australia with a reasonably good $640,000 on 181, ahead of fellow rookie “Finding Forrester” ($500,000 on 181). Steven Soderbergh’s “Traffic” keeps hanging in Down Under, coining $490,000 in its fourth lap, lifting the cume to $4.4 million.

“Forrester” improves in Italy

Gus Van Sant’s drama toplining Sean Connery reigned for the second consecutive weekend in Italy, actually improving by 12% to take an estimated $745,000.

Robert De Niro/Cuba Gooding Jr. starrer “Men of Honor” surfaced in the U.K. with a mediocre $661,000 in three days on 250 and in Argentina at $210,000 on 35, the latter on par with the debut of “A Few Good Men.”

In Spain, local comedy “Torrente, Mision en Marbella” (sequel to the 1998 hit “Torrente — The Dumb Arm of the Law”) ranked first with a boffo $1.6 million in two days on 295, dislodging “What Women Want,” which seduced roughly $610,000 in its third outing on 224.

“Remember the Titans” kicked off in Spain with a soft $206,000 in two days on 157, underscoring the barriers that often face films with black/U.S. sporting themes abroad.

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