‘Miss’ a hit o’seas

Bullock pic perks up sluggish offshore B.O.

Auds overseas voted with their feet to see “Miss Congeniality” as it debuted at No. 1 in six markets last weekend, relieving some of the B.O. tedium that seems to afflict many territories at this time of year, regardless of the Hollywood hullabaloo.

Post-Oscars, the key question is: How much juice is left in “Gladiator,” whose foreign cume through Sunday towered at $264.6 million?

Maximus push

Anticipating a bunch of statuettes, distrib UIP had re-released Ridley Scott’s adventure on a limited basis in more than 30 markets, starting with Germany on March 8. Thus far that’s added more than $2 million to the kitty. Hoping for a bit more gravy, UIP is sending the Russell Crowe starrer to France on Wednesday and to Japan this Saturday, which means it will have more than 900 prints working abroad.

“Miss Congeniality ($21 million cume) delivered $2.7 million on 360 screens in the U.K. (41% better than “You’ve Got Mail” and 31% ahead of “Erin Brockovich”), $954,000 on 52 in Taiwan (commanding 56% of the market), $456,000 on 77 in Holland (94% higher than “Erin”) and $337,000 on 46 in Switzerland.

The Sandra Bullock starrer also bowed strongly in Hong Kong ($287,000 on 30) and Portugal ($180,000 on 45), and held well in Australia, racking up $4.5 million in 11 days, and Thailand ($615,000 in 10 days).

‘Chocolat’ craving

“Chocolat” came away from the Shrine empty-handed but is being sustained abroad by word-of-mouth, dining out last weekend with $5.8 million on 1,500 screens; the cume from 36 territories topped $34 million.

Lasse Hallstrom’s confection rose by 25% in Germany, fetching $3.7 million in 11 days, and it has pocketed a dandy $6.3 million through its fourth outing in the U.K. and $5.3 million after its fifth in Italy.

“Dude, Where’s My Car?” scored a neat $2.1 million on 589 in Germany but a less impressive $171,000 on 60 in Austria; the Fox laffer’s cume is $12 million.

After flunking in Germany, the U.K. and Japan, Gus Van Sant’s “Finding Forrester” partially redeemed itself in Italy with a chart-topping $669,000 on 199.

Still turning heads

“The Exorcist” re-issue vaulted to $57 million, spurred by Australia’s sturdy $690,000 on 143 (beating the entries of the “Scream” and “I Know What You Did….” series), Belgium’s $396,000 on 44 and Venezuela’s $242,000 on 33. William Friedkin’s chiller retained pole position in France, coughing up $4.6 million in 12 days, and has rung up a so-so $2.8 million in 11 days in Germany and an excellent $6.4 million through its third turn in Mexico.

“The Emperor’s New Groove” retained the No. 1 spot in its soph sessions in Germany and Austria, tallying $5.3 million in the former (slipping just 14%) and $800,000 in the latter (up 17%). The Disney toon’s cume is $32.4 million with a lot of major markets ahead.

Disney’s dog daze

Disney’s BVI is celebrating its second hit to cross $100 million this year in “102 Dalmatians,” which peaked at $102 million (nice symmetry!), chiefly on the back of Japan’s $8 million through its third stanza.

“Unbreakable” reached $149.5 million, driven by Turkey’s potent $260,000 opener on 62 and Japan’s $23.6 million after its sixth round.

New Line’s “15 Minutes” checked into the U.K. with a soft $714,000 on 229 but was comparatively stronger in Italy, minting $582,000 on 168. Stablemate “The Cell” materialized in Japan, its last major market, with a wispy $727,000 in two days on 117; its $39.5 million cume doesn’t stack up well against domestic’s $61.2 million.

“Hannibal” devoured $3.6 million from holdovers and Thailand’s tasty $276,000 in three days on 43, propelling its cume to $129.7 million.

Phillip Kaufman’s “Quills” went out in France on 48 prints, penning a paltry $90,000, but its per-engagement averages were a tad more respectable in Belgium ($30,000 on 10) and Hong Kong ($38,000 on three). Cume is $8.9 million from 37 markets.

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