WWII pic takes int'l lead as dinos roll on

Over the weekend BVI’s “Pearl Harbor” became the highest-earning international release for 2001, surpassing “The Mummy Returns,” which unwrapped $214 million. Pushing the Michael Bay-helmed war epic to victory is a record-shattering raid into China, where the pic garnered $3.9 million in six days, and the pic’s continuing success in Japan, where its $39 million in four weeks makes it the second most popular BVI release ever.

Spearheading a three-pronged international advance for UIP is DreamWorks’ “Shrek,” which grabbed $148 million by the end of the week, with smaller Euro territories and Japan yet to open. In Oz, pic is playing in 248 theaters after eight weeks and with a $15 million cume, it’s already the top earner there for 2001.

UIP’s “Jurassic Park III” is tracking strongly in newly opened territories. In Japan, after 12 days it’s 46% ahead of 2001’s other boffo sequel, “The Mummy Returns.” In Belgium, it’s 30% ahead and in France, 12% up. International cume for the dino sequel is $110 million, with a smattering of Euro territories and Oz releases pending.

‘Diary’ books bucks

And UIP’s “Bridget Jones’s Diary” is poised to notch the bedpost as one of the year’s biggest romantic comedies, alongside “What Women Want” and “Miss Congeniality.” Boosted by a homegrown U.K. cume of almost $60 million, it became this weekend the 13th pic to surpass $100 million, with releases pending for two-thirds of its international territories.

In Germany, after opening in the top spot, “Jurassic Park III” fell 52%, ceding its position to home-produced Western spoof “Der Schuh des Manitu,” which corralled an impressive $3,629,451 from 671 copies in its fourth roundup. One booker noted a divide on the pic is opening between the north and the south of Germany, with those in the north experiencing difficulty understanding the film’s southern dialect. Across the southern border in Austria, the pic was breaking records.

German exhibs expect greater interest in “The Score,” which opened with $734,800 from a mere 205 copies. “The Holy Grail of Brando, De Niro and Norton failed to capture the imagination of German cinemagoers,” was the opinion of one exhib, who nevertheless expects the pic to benefit from positive word of mouth.

In France, UIP expects the strong launch of “Jurassic Park III” will not go the distance against Sony’s “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within,” which opens there this week. Nice summer weather is siphoning auds from cinemas and resulting in flat B.O. overall. French exhibs say “The Score’s” adult audience has been undermined by family pics including “Shrek” and Fox’s “Dr. Dolittle 2.”

‘Dr.’ could use aid

“Dr. Dolittle 2″ opened on top in Spain, taking in $861,000 in a frame that wilted in the heat. One booker lamented summer’s end was a big fiasco: “It’s sales time in Spain and pics are going cheap.” Potential auds are going to the seaside or to the mountains.

Only bright spot was local slacker comedy “Fish People,” which swam smartly to $1 million after 10 days, and toon “El bosque animado,” which cumed $711,000 in same period.

(John Hopewell in Spain and Patrick Breen in Germany contributed to this report.)

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