Casting a B.O. spell

Hanks pic swims to the top in o'seas bows

Tom Hanks rescued the new year’s box office from its torpid start as “Cast Away” uncovered lots of loot in its first foreign engagements over the weekend, while “Meet the Parents” amused Argentinean auds and “Vertical Limit” peaked in Mexico.

Meanwhile, Mel Gibson’s star power drew hordes of Aussies to “What Women Want,” and “Unbreakable” spooked Spain.

“Cast Away” galvanized Germany, ringing up an estimated $3.9 million on 513 prints Thursday through Saturday to dislodge “Unbreakable,” which pulled in an estimated $1.1 million in its third lap on 626.

The Robert Zemeckis-helmed drama landed in the U.K. with an estimated $2.7 million on 392 screens Friday-Saturday for offshore distrib UIP, ahead of a sturdy $1.3 million for “Unbreakable” in its third round on 414.

In Austria, “Cast Away” came ashore with an estimated $326,000 in three days on 62, nearly tripling “Unbreakable’s” third stanza, while in Puerto Rico (where Fox has the rights), it captured a superb $350,000 in four days on 44.

Jay Roach’s “Meet the Parents” whipped an estimated $514,000 on 67 Friday-Saturday in Argentina, trouncing “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2,” which took an estimated $143,000 in its soph session on 53.

“Vertical Limit” registered one of its strongest preems to date in Mexico, notching an estimated $1.1 million on 318 Friday-Saturday.

“Men of Honor” slipped by just 17% in that country, fetching an estimated $570,000 on 194 Friday-Sunday, bringing the 10-day cume to a strapping $1.9 million.

Women want Gibson pic

“What Women Want” generated an estimated $2.8 million Thursday- Sunday on 207 Down Under. Added to that, the romantic comedy minted $1.5 million Jan. 8-10 after Oz distrib Roadshow took the unusual step of launching the pic on a Monday.

“Meet the Parents” coined an estimated $1 million in its third lucrative romp on 209 in Australia, where teen fave “Coyote Ugly” served up an estimated $660,000 in its second on 165.

M. Night Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable” reigned in Spain with an estimated $1.5 million on 218 Friday-Saturday, ahead of the resilient “Meet the Parents,” which yucked up $637,000 in its fourth on 202.

“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” debuted pretty well in Germany, kicking in with an estimated $340,000 in three days from 67 screens.

In its soph sessions, Ang Lee’s actioner appears to be benefiting from word of mouth in the U.K., scoring an estimated $607,000 on 85 and in Oz with $169,000 from 11 houses.

Early in its foreign campaign, “Quills” eased by only 19% in Brazil, collecting an estimated $128,000 in its second weekend on 44, bringing the territory total to $390,000.

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