‘Chocolat’ shakes

Hallstrom pic bows hot as 'Hannibal' rolls on

Folks in France, Belgium and Hong Kong feasted richly on “Hannibal” last weekend while an absence of fresh helpings meant slim pickings in many other countries. At the arty end of the market, “Chocolat” had handsome debuts in several key markets but “Quills” generally isn’t resonating with mainstream auds.

“What Women Want” and “Vertical Limit” have joined “Cast Away” and “Unbreakable” as hits that have grossed $100 million this year.

“Hannibal” raked in $18.3 million from nearly 3,400 engagements in 19 territories, propelling its cume to $89 million. The “Silence of the Lambs” sequel garnered $5.2 million in five days on 620 prints in France, $1.2 million in five days on 68 in Belgium and $503,000 in four days on 33 in Hong Kong.

Its stellar perfs are led by the U.K.’s $24.8 million in 17 days, Germany’s $14.9 million in 18 days, Italy’s $12.3 million in 24 days and Spain’s $6.4 million in 10 days (off 36%).

But the pic has collapsed in Australia, hobbled by the R rating imposed at the start of its second week and by lousy word of mouth, taking $5 million in 18 days. In France, “Hannibal” unseated Gallic comedy “La verite si je mens 2” (Would I Lie to You 2), which has yocked up a phenomenal $32.5 million through its fourth stanza.

‘Chocolat’ stirs

“Chocolat” cooked up $4.4 million from 906 screens abroad, bringing its cume to $8.7 million in 16 territories. The Juliette Binoche/Judi Dench starrer savored $1.3 million in three days on 207 in the U.K. (including sneaks, higher than “The Horse Whisperer’s” bow), $657,000 on 214 in France and $291,000 in three days on 39 in Argentina.

A better response might have been expected in France, but the critics were not kind and there might be some resistance to a film that was made in France but not by one of their own. Lasse Hallstrom’s pic has fetched a uniformly tasty $1.9 million in 10 days in Italy, $1.1 million in 17 days in Brazil and $1.6 million in 18 days in Oz.

Philip Kaufman’s “Quills” has mustered just $5.3 million in 27 markets, distinguished by Mexico’s $1.8 million and Brazil’s $715,000. The Geoffrey Rush-Kate Winslet starrer penned a reasonable $273,000 on 51 in Australia (including previews) and a soft $84,000 on 40 in Spain, and platformed at three cinemas in Italy for a modest $16,000. Fox’s pic has done OK in London’s West End but flopped in other parts of Blighty.

‘Women’ power

“What Women Want” soared past $100 million, powered by Germany’s $5.2 million in its third weekend (territory cume: $22.3 million), the U.K.’s $1.1 million in its fifth (scoring $21 million to date) and Italy’s estimated $1.5 million in its fourth. Nearing the end of its foreign trek, “Vertical Limit” hit $123.8 million, including $21.2 million earned in 2000.

“Cast Away’s” cume levitated to $159.5 million in 25 territories, buoyed by Japan’s terrif $11.1 million in nine days (sliding 36%) and $7.1 million in 31 days in Korea, where it’s still No.1.

Domestic dud “Proof of Life” is showing more heft abroad in a less-competitive environment than it faced at home. The Russell Crowe/Meg Ryan headliner rang up $787,000 on 202 in Oz (33% better than “L.A. Confidential’s” entry, knocking “Hannibal” from its perch), $977,000 on 263 in Italy and a fair $853,000 on 249 in Spain.

After capturing a solid $12.6 million in Japan, the Kevin Costner starrer “Thirteen Days” opened at No. 1 in Taiwan, posting $188,000 in two days on 11 screens in the capital Taipei.

Prospects aren’t bright for “All the Pretty Horses,” which rustled up a meager $209,000 on 171 in Mexico, its initial foreign tryout.

“Remember the Titans” is encountering audience apathy to black-themed/sports set films, cuming just $5.7 million in 18 countries. But the Denzel Washington starrer kicked into Mexico with a respectable $521,000 on 200 and has scored a fine $2.3 million through its sixth turn in Oz.

Speaking of sports, “The Legend of Bagger Vance” can’t get on the fairways overseas, tanking in Japan and in its first weekend wide in the U.K.

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