'Potter' crosses $500 mil mark

It’s been a fairytale start to the New Year overseas for Hollywood as “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” continues to reign in a bunch of markets and the “Harry Potter” phenom just crossed $500 million outside North America.

Indeed, the two fantasy/adventures are providing a hefty one-two punch, occupying the top two spots over the weekend in the U.K., Germany and Spain.

In its third laps, “Rings” conjured up an estimated $5.9 million Friday-Saturday on 456 locations in Blighty, $6.5 million Thursday-Saturday on 820 in Germany, $1.1 million in two days on 427 in Spain and $837,000 in the same frame on 309 in Mexico.

Coming off a record-busting preem in Oz, Peter Jackson’s epic mustered $3 million in four days on 407, off 40%, propelling the territory total to $12.5 million. Its second weekend ranks as the industry’s second biggest ever, behind that of “Star Wars: Episode 1- The Phantom Menace.”

When it’s finally tabulated, the weekend haul will likely boost “Rings” foreign cume to north of $230 million.

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (as it’s known in most markets outside Asia) whistled up approximately $30 million from 49 countries over the weekend, according to Warner Bros.’ Sunday estimates.

Japan is the pacesetter, earning roughly $112 million through its sixth meteoric frame, followed by the U.K.’s $83.8 million, Germany’s $61.1 million (where it overtook local Western spoof “Manitou’s Shoe” at year-end to claim the crown of the market’s B.O. champ in 2001) and France’s $39.3 million.

Other stellar scores for “Harry” include Italy’s $23.4 million, Spain’s $21.9 million, Australia’s $18 million (now the market’s fifth-highest grosser of all time), Korea’s $16 million and Mexico’s $15.4 million.

With $500 million-plus in the till, the boy wizard has streaked past “Phantom Menace’s” $494.4 million and has to be in the vicinity of “Independence Day’s” $503.2 million.

Beyond that, the wiz has “Jurassic Park’s” $563 million in its sights — the No. 2 title of all time abroad behind “Titanic’s” $1.2 billion.

Meantime, in its first major market try-out, the Farrelly Bros.’ laffer “Shallow Hal” fetched a chunky $1.1 million in four days on 176 Down Under, bringing its tally to $1.7 million since its New Year’s Day debut.

Beginning its offshore campaign, Fox’s actioner “Behind Enemy Lines” seized a uniformly solid 1.5 million in three days on 320 in the U.K., $330,000 in two days on 36 in Taiwan and an estimated $350,000 in four days in Hong Kong.

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