‘Pearl Harbor’ sets o’seas B.O. records

WWII epic earns $12.3 mil from 1,700 screens

Disney’s “Pearl Harbor” scored explosive debuts in eights markets in its foreign debut over the weekend.

Michael Bay’s WWII epic drummed up $12.3 million from 1,700 screens, outgunning “Armageddon” to notch BVI’s highest-ever opening for a live action release and, in some instances, an all-time studio record, even including animation.

“Pearl Harbor” captured $4.5 million in three days on 458 prints in the U.K., the fourth-biggest June preem in that market behind “Batman and Robin,” “The Mummy” and “The Matrix.” While that was 15% up on “Armageddon” and “Saving Private Ryan,” it was well below the entries of “Titanic,” “The Mummy Returns” and “The Sixth Sense.” Almost certainly some folks in Blighty were put off by the bombardment of critical pans.

The Ben Affleck/Kate Beckinsale starrer minted $2.3 million on 536 in Italy (an all-time BVI high, 34% ahead of “Armageddon” and 20% better than “Gladiator”) and $1.1 million on 377 in Brazil (on par with “Armageddon,” but 90% ahead of “Saving Private Ryan”).

South Korea’s $2.2 million in three days from 130 stands as the best debut ever for a foreign film (besting “Armageddon” by 45%), second only behind the bow earlier this year of Korean click “Friend.”

“Pearl Harbor” set company records for BVI in Malaysia ($783,000 on 40, the industry’s fourth-highest opening ever) and Singapore ($738,000 on 42).

Russia’s $420,000 from 30 ranked as the territory’s No. 2 launch of all time behind “The Mummy Returns,” while South Africa’s $280,000 on 87 is a BVI record.

Rollicking bows by “Moulin Rouge” in Taiwan and New Zealand further ignited the B.O. last weekend, maintaining the momentum fired up by “The Mummy Returns” over the past few weeks.

Baz Luhrmann’s tuner conquered Taiwan with $394,000 in two days on 55, nearly doubling the per-screen average of the helmer’s “Romeo & Juliet.” In New Zealand, it whistled up $179,000 in four days on 35, posting a higher average than “Titanic.”

Buoyed by word of mouth and facing zero competition, the Nicole Kidman/Ewan McGregor starrer eased by just 2% in Australia, ringing up $1.8 million on 254 for a socko $4.6 million in 11 days.

“The Mummy Returns” vaulted past $85 million after pocketing $6.9 million from 2,475 screens in 19 markets: those tallies are incomplete, as 10 territories, including Germany, France and Holland, did not report due to a national holiday Monday. Expect a cume of $90 million-plus.

The action-adventure’s scores include the U.K.’s $21.7 million in 17 days (falling by a reasonable 36%), Spain’s $6.9 million in the same period, Australia’s $7.1 million in 25 days and Italy’s $5.4 million in 24 days.

“Bridget Jones’s Diary” claimed the distinction of becoming UIP’s highest-grosser ever in Ireland with $3.2 million, surpassing “Jurassic Park,” and it’s now No. 4 of all time in the territory in the wake of “Titanic,” “Michael Collins” and the most recent “Star Wars.” In the U.K., “Diary” just cruised past “Men in Black” as the seventh-highest earner there.

In Japan, Korea’s “Joint Security Area” reigned in its second weekend, fetching $3.9 million in nine days.

In one of its first offshore engagements, Renny Harlin’s “Driven” motored into Taiwan in second place, revving up $248,000 on 12 screens in Taipei.

“Along Came a Spider” wove a moderate $652,000 on 184 in Spain; its cume is a ho-hum $9.8 million from 12 markets, led by the U.K.’s $3.4 million and Mexico’s $1.8 million. The Johnny Depp starrer “Blow” slipped by just 15% in the U.K., ingesting a respectable $1.6 million in 10 days.

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