Local thesps, familiar surroundings spur Lucas pic

SYDNEY — “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones” has returned Down Under’s second-biggest opening day BO result ever.

The first territory to report day one figures – interest of Oz auds is especially piqued because pic features many local thesps in supporting roles and was substantially shot at Sydney’s Fox Studios.

With a Spidey-free sched, George Lucas’ “Clones” debuted April 16 on 457 screens to return $A3.076 million ($1.7 million). Top spot stays with “Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings'” holiday debut on 405 screens, which returned $2.25 million.

“Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” is still Australia’s third-biggest opener, it reaped $1.4 million from 372 screens.

“Clones'” $3,690 screen average was significantly softer than “Rings'” $5,588, and failed to top “Phantom Menace’s” $3,866. “Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone” is Australia’s fourth-biggest opener – from 475 screens it returned $1.2 million – screen average $2,506.

Next tent-pole pegged is “Spider-Man” June 6.

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