'Sweethearts' charms Aussie, Argentine auds

Baz Luhrmann’s evocation of life at a fin de siecle Parisian landmark struck a chord with Gallic auds over the weekend as “Moulin Rouge” bowed in the top spot in France.

Fox tuner’s estimated $1.9 million haul in five days on 343 screens more than doubled the debuts of the helmer’s “Romeo + Juliet” and of “Shakespeare in Love,” the distrib said Sunday.

Bright in Blighty

Showing remarkable longevity, the Nicole Kidman/Ewan McGregor starrer ruled in its fifth stanza in the U.K., raking in an estimated $1.6 million in three days (off 18%) to elevate the territory total to a stellar $17.9 million. In its soph session in Italy, “Moulin” expanded from 150 to 189 prints, earning roughly $710,000 to bring the 10-day tally to a handy $1.7 million. Pic dipped by just 19% in Holland, nabbing a smart $1.2 million in 11 days.

“Rush Hour 2″ found itself in stop-and-go traffic. Pic conquered Mexico to the tune of $531,000 Friday-Saturday at 274 locations, but clocked a mediocre $384,000 in two days on 236 in Spain, whupped by fellow frosh “The Fast and the Furious,” which revved up $545,000 on 231. Neither was a match for chiller “The Others,” which rustled up $813,000 in its fifth lap on 263.

After a monster preem, “American Pie 2″ held sway in Germany, whipping up an estimated $4.1 million Thursday-Saturday on 754 screens, ahead of the seventh chapter of stayer “Bridget Jones’s Diary” ($843,000 on 505) and the debut of Teutonic toon “Der Kleine Eisbar” ($648,000 on 453).

Oz sweet on ‘Sweethearts’

Julia Roberts starrer “America’s Sweethearts” charmed Aussie auds, ringing up $1 million in four days on 209, plus $735,000 from the prior weekend’s previews.

The romantic comedy placed third behind “Cats & Dogs,” which fetched $1.3 million in its third round (up 11%, buoyed by school vacation), hoisting cume to $6.2 million; and “Rush Hour 2,” which dipped by 35%, capturing a hearty $4 million in 11 days.

In its world preem, Aussie drama “Lantana,” toplining Anthony LaPaglia, Barbara Hershey and Geoffrey Rush, saw an encouraging $175,000 at 12 theaters on home turf. Lions Gate will release domestically.

“America’s Sweethearts” reigned in Argentina, wooing $277,000 in three days on 65, beating “The Others,” which initialed with $211,000 on 48.

Gallic click “Amelie” crossed the Channel to the U.K., conjuring up a terrif $480,000 in two days on 80 screens, while clinging to fifth spot in its eighth outing in Germany ($412,000 on 247).

Sam Raimi-helmed thriller “The Gift” ambled into Germany with a modest $390,000 on 248, ahead of a blah bow by “Spy Kids” ($209,000 on 518).

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