'Rouge' hot, but others see mixed results

The foreign B.O. was hardly a model of consistency at the weekend as a slew of new titles zigzagged their way around the world.

Among the more predictable performers, Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge” seized the crown in France with $1.9 million on 343 screens, (more than double the bows of the helmer’s “Romeo + Juliet” and “Shakespeare in Love”) and placed first in French-speaking Switzerland and Portugal.

The Nicole Kidman/Ewan McGregor starrer has orchestrated a tony $1.8 million in 10 days in Italy, $641,000 in 12 days in Belgium and $690,000 in 11 days in Holland. Remarkably, pic regained the lead in the U.K., amassing a stellar $18.1 million in 30 days, dropping just 20%. The tuner’s cume hit $53.7 million with Spain, Germany and Japan still ahead.

New Line’s “Rush Hour 2″ (cume: $58.4 million) was smokin’ in Mexico, nabbing $1.2 million on 350, and Brazil with $457,000 on 200. But the Jackie Chan/Chris Tucker vehicle got stuck in heavy traffic in Spain, coming in fourth with $836,000 on 273, outpaced by “The Fast and the Furious” ($1.1 million on 267), the second lap of “America’s Sweethearts” and the fifth of “The Others.”

The Rob Cohen-helmed actioner had fast getaways in New Zealand ($323,000 on 43) and Sweden ($180,000 on 41), but crashed in Hong Kong; pic eased by a modest 25% in France, scoring a so-so $3 million in 12 days. Early in its foreign run, its total reached $27.6 million from 21 markets.

‘Pie’ dough

There’s no faulting “American Pie 2,” which cooked up $662,000 on 82 in Holland, 125% bigger than the first “Pie.” After a smash preem in Germany, the laffer whipped up $5.2 million on 810 prints (falling by a reasonable 37%), minting a socko $17.8 million in 11 days. Over in Austria, “Pie” has devoured a tasty $1.9 million in 10 days.

Continuing its pattern of solid, if not startling, debuts, “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” ranked first in Italy ($1.2 million on 277), Greece ($256,000 on 48) and Turkey ($188,000 on 80). However the sci-fier was only fair in Holland ($220,000 on 60) and Denmark; its cume is $132.1 million.

“America’s Sweethearts” wooed a pleasing $1.8 million on 236 in Australia (including $735,000 from previews), ranking third for the weekend but No. 1 with sneaks. The Julia Roberts headliner took pole position in Argentina ($409,000 on 76), Singapore ($290,000 on 29) and the Philippines ($241,000 on 49) but managed only fourth place in New Zealand.

Toon time

Creature feature “Cats and Dogs” bounded along to $75.7 million, helped by Thailand’s lively $330,000, Brazil’s respectable $373,000 on 191 and Sweden’s $166,000 on 80.

In Germany, “The Little Polar Bear” a German-lingo toon co-produced by Warner Bros., smashed the record for a local family entertainment production. Its $2 million haul on 477 prints, including previews, was WB’s best weekend of the year there in ticket sales. Excluding sneaks, the opening was 3% higher than “Babe,” 7% ahead of “Chicken Run” and 17% better than “Stuart Little.”

“Swordfish” ascended to $50.5 million, spurred by Russia’s $377,000 on 36 — an all-time WB record in the market — and Italy’s smart $2.2 million in 10 days, off 25%.

In the U.K., spy thriller “Enigma” eased by a trifling 3%, eyeing $3 million in 10 days, while soccer comedy “Mike Basset: England Manager” fell by 32%, netting $2.7 million in the same frame.

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