'Potter,' 007 maintain grip on global B.O.

A local comedy knocked “Harry Potter” off its perch in Italy, but otherwise the wiz and the James Bond juggernaut continued to dominate the overseas B.O. last weekend.

The fickle French didn’t spark to “Sweet Home Alabama,” which fetched $415,000 on 186, 20% below “Legally Blonde.” However, BVI is confident that the Reese Witherspoon vehicle will click in the U.K., Australia and Germany, where it debuts this weekend.

Rob Schneider isn’t a big name abroad, so, predictably, “The Hot Chick” was far from hot in Taiwan, its first foreign date, taking $103,000 on 14 screens in the capital Taipei — a distant second behind “Potter’s” fifth lap.

Monopolizing more than 9,000 screens in 45 countries, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” conjured up an estimated $42.4 million, selling 7.6 million tickets, hoisting cume to $350 million. The Chris Columbus-helmed epic smashed the industry opening weekend in South Korea, nabbing $4.2 million on 242 screens, beating the original edition by 21%.

The fantasy/adventure rang up a stunning $8.1 million in its soph session in France (off 33, yet tracking 6% ahead of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in admissions), upping its market total $23.4 million.

In Italy, the adolescent wiz whistled up $3.6 million (down 32%, in local currency a slender 4% below the first edition), tallying $10.5 million in 10 days.

“Potter” was beaten by Italo laffer “The Legend of Al, John and Jack,” which yukked up a terrif $5 million on 435.

The Daniel Radcliffe starrer is unchallenged at No. 1 in Japan, drumming up $7.6 million in its fourth orbit (slipping by just 22%), elevating the local cume to a stellar $67.5 million.

“Die Another Day” mustered $21.6 million from 4,700 screens in 30 territories, propelling cume to $122.7 million. The Pierce Brosnan/Halle Berry starrer set new benchmarks for Bond bows in seven markets, led by Australia’s $2.7 million on 323, Fox’s fourth-highest debut locally and the biggest for a nonholiday weekend.

That was followed by Russia’s $2.6 million on 159 (an industry high), Thailand’s $1.17 million on 250 (a Fox record and the industry’s fourth largest), Mexico’s $1.68 million on 512 and Columbia’s $237,000 on 58.

In Japan, “Minority Report” abated by a modest 24%, capturing $3 million at the weekend and a dandy $13.2 million in nine days. Its cume hit $191.5 million.

Landing in Italy, its final major market, “Road to Perdition” stole a solid $1 million on 245, and its total reached a respectable but not exceptional $57.3 million.

“Treasure Planet” sailed into Mexico with a fair $600,000 on 450 (on par with “Toy Story” and “Pocahontas”). The toon has caught on in France, snaring $8.5 million after its third weekend wide, but is so-so in Germany ($2 million in 11 days) and Spain ($1.8 million in 10).

“Santa Clause 2″ unwrapped a mediocre $380,000 on 233 in Spain (on par with the predecessor) but showed good legs in the U.K. (taking $6.2 million through its third flight), Germany ($3.1 million after its fourth) and Oz ($1.4 million in 11 days).

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