'Hannibal's' strong Japan bow leads lackluster frame

“Hannibal” had a killer preem in Japan last weekend while “Traffic” registered effectively in Germany and “Miss Congeniality” continued its winning ways in a generally lackluster frame in Europe.

Meanwhile “The Emperor’s New Groove,” “Save the Last Dance” and “Rugrats in Paris” had promising debuts in several territories ahead of the spring school vacation.

Ridley Scott’s “Hannibal” devoured $4.7 million in two days on 311 screens in Japan (including $1.3 million in previews from the prior weekend), 28% better than “The Green Mile” and ahead of “The Mummy,” “Cast Away” and “Gladiator.” All told, the Anthony Hopkins starrer racked up $5.9 million from 18 countries, elevating its cume to $140.7 million, with playdates ahead in 11 territories including South Korea.

Still the one

Still the pacesetter abroad, “Miss Congeniality” earned $8.9 million on 2,320 screens in 21 markets, propelling its cume to $40 million. The Sandra Bullock starrer minted a sturdy $970,000 on 212 in Spain (No. 2 behind the soph session of local phenom “Torrente 2″), but wasn’t as smart in France, taking $550,000 on 310.

Flashing great legs, the beauty pageant caper actually improved by 3% in Germany, collecting $6.2 million in 11 days, and eased by just 25% in its third weekend in the U.K., tallying nearly $9 million to date. However Italo auds have not warmed to the pic, ponying up just $716,000 in 10 days.

Steven Soderbergh’s “Traffic” notched $1.7 million on 268 in Germany and $229,000 on 35 in Austria, including sneaks; its cume topped $47 million, including Australia’s $5 million and Italy’s $4.3 million.

“The Emperor’s New Groove” captured $1.2 million on 403 in Mexico (26% up on “Mulan” and 55% better than “Toy Story”), $870,000 on 237 in Italy (on par with “A Bug’s Life”) and $525,000 on 274 in Australia (equaling “Toy Story” and 20% ahead of “Tarzan”). The Disney toon rang up $6 million overseas, elevating the cume to $44 million, including France’s terrif $5.7 million in 12 days (up 17%).

The French B.O. was dominated by three Gallic titles: freshmen “Yamakasi” (saga about thrill-seeking kids who leap from rooftop to rooftop, produced and co-written by Luc Besson) and “Belphegor: Phantom of the Louvre” (suspenser starring Sophie Marceau), and the second lap of laffer “La Tour Montparnasse infernale.”

Romantic drama “Save the Last Dance” shimmied into Australia with a snazzy $809,000 on 151, dipped by 26% in the U.K., fetching $4 million in 10 days, and abated by 20% in Germany for $3.9 million in 18 days.

“Rugrats in Paris” coined a swell $2.2 million on 464 in the U.K. (including $723,000 in previews) and $398,000 on 196 in Oz. Kidpic was released in France in February, grossing a fair $3 million.

‘Wedding’ daze

“The Wedding Planner” checked into the U.K. with a pleasing $1.3 million on 335 and dropped by 45% Down Under, scoring $1.2 million in 11 days.

“The Exorcist” re-issue posted Warner Bros.’ seventh-highest bow ever in Holland ($398,000 on 64) and its third best in Portugal ($199,000 on 39); estimated cume is $65 million.

Gus Van Sant’s “Finding Forrester” is struggling to find auds abroad as it did domestically, typified by indifferent weekend preems in Spain ($397,000 on 172), Taiwan, Sweden and New Zealand; cume is $12.7 million.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more