Laffers soothe B.O.

O'seas auds take to 'Pie,' 'Diary,' 'Blonde'

Comedy and a dash of romance proved the perfect antidote for audiences overseas in these troubled times as “American Pie 2,” “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” “Legally Blonde,” “America’s Sweethearts” and “Scary Movie 2” ruled in a bunch of markets last weekend.

There was music for the ears also, with “Moulin Rouge’s” show-stopping debuts in Spain and three Scandi markets.

The “American Pie” sequel served up a socko $7.8 million on 425 screens in Blighty, including previews, 162% better than the original. That ranks as UIP’s sixth-biggest bow ever there and the market’s 12th best.

The laffer led the field in Turkey (scoring $292,000 on 53) and Denmark ($255,000 on 35) and held sway in its third stanza in Germany, where it’s amassed a phenomenal $22.5 million, dropping 41%. The Universal/UIP release was the frame’s top-earner, whipping up $13.2 million from 1,701 engagements in 12 countries, hoisting cume to $38.9 million.

“Bridget Jones’s Diary” captivated France, whistling up $4.3 million on 620, bigger than “Notting Hill” in Paris and suburbs and just below it nationally. The romantic comedy’s cume reached $161.9 million, including Japan’s smart $11.7 million in 23 days, Germany’s $19.3 million and Spain’s $11.8 million.

‘Blonde’ buoyant

In its first foreign excursions, “Legally Blonde” launched in Australia with a winsome $1.3 million on 266 plus $700,000 from the prior weekend’s sneaks. The Reese Witherspoon starrer courted $267,000 on 30 in Russia (Fox’s third-best preem of all time) and fared OK in Norway but was blah in South Korea.

Julia Roberts’ headliner “America’s Sweethearts” reigned in Mexico, wooing $1.1 million on 261 (a record for a Roberts’ vehicle, beating “Runaway Bride,” and the market’s second-highest October bow); Brazil, notching $842,000 on 280; and Malaysia, Yugoslavia, Croatia and Egypt.

The Joe Roth-helmed movie star satire entered Germany at No. 2 with a handy $1.9 million on 607, handled by Revolution’s partner, Senator.

However, word of mouth didn’t help “Sweethearts” in Oz, where it slumped by 46%, fetching a disappointing $2.9 million in 11 days. Its cume topped $20 million from 20 markets — a fair perf for a pic that didn’t go through the roof in the U.S.

Horror spoof “Scary Movie 2” commanded pole position in Italy, scaring up $1.7 million on 334. It’s pocketed $35.3 million from 28 territories.

Green for ‘Rouge’

Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge” kicked up its heels in Spain, ringing up $1.4 million on 228, with previews, nearly four times greater than the helmer’s “Romeo and Juliet,” but behind the sixth outing of that other Nicole Kidman starrer, “The Others.” Fox’s tuner scored a hearty $382,000 on 40 in Sweden, including sneaks, $169,000 on 30 in Denmark, $145,000 on 22 in Finland and $112,000 on 48 in South Africa.

However, “Moulin” plummeted by 41% in France, buffeted by “Bridget Jones,” collecting a decent $3.3 million in 12 days.

Gallic fantasy “Amelie From Montmartre” eased by a mere 16% in the U.K., charming $1.8 million in 10 days, and continued its remarkable run in Germany where it’s raked in $9.5 million through its ninth frame.

Actioners were not shut out by all this whimsy, as “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” ascended to $120.5 million, spurred by Japan’s $11.3 million in nine days, despite a 48% plunge in key cities. “The Fast and the Furious” sped to $33.8 million from 22 countries, helped by Taiwan’s top-ranked $190,000 in two days on 46 and Spain’s zippy $2.4 million in 10 days (off just 17%).

And “Rush Hour 2” gravitated to $64.6 million, driven by Holland’s feisty $424,000 opener on 88 and Spain’s so-so $1.8 million in 10 days.

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