B.O. starts to tire of non-stop action

'Angels,' 'Hulk' o'seas preems disappoint

Is there such a thing as too much action? Some British exhibs think so, believing the good but not dazzling debut of “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” last week was due to auds’ fatigue with the genre after a surfeit of actioners like “The Matrix Reloaded” and “2 Fast 2 Furious.”

Conversely, German bookers said there wasn’t enough action — and too much psychological drama — in “The Hulk,” which wasn’t gargantuan there or in Switzerland.

It was an uneven frame as B.O. receipts improved by 30% in France, 21% in Australia (where schools are on vacation) and 15% in Spain. But biz dropped by 18% in the U.K. and by 14% in listless Italy. Despite “Hulk’s” stumble, takings in Germany jumped by 51%, but that was a correction after the prior weekend’s ticket discounts depressed grosses.

The “Charlie’s Angels” sequel was the pacesetter, minting $22.5 million from nearly 4,000 engagements in 39 markets July 4-6, and its estimated cume through July 8 flew to $52.5 million, with seven major territories ahead. The feisty femmes captured top spot in 32 markets but had to settle for second spot behind the second coming of “Bruce Almighty” in Holland. The McG-helmed caper generally outpaced the original “Angels” by 40%-50% in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Taiwan, India, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. Notable exceptions were the U.K., where it was a slim 2% ahead, and Italy where it was 45% below the first, which debuted in the fall. One Italo exhib opined the pic was released too wide and, although the market was down, “the expectations were too high.”

Sporting better legs overseas than domestically, “Angels” held stoutly in its second sojourns in Japan and South Korea, although in the latter it trailed the lively soph session of local romantic comedy “Crazy First Love.”

“The Hulk” advanced to $41.7 million in 25 markets, spurred by top-ranked debuts in France, Spain and Belgium and a muscular entry in South Korea. It’s looking forward to unspooling in 27 countries, including the U.K. and Japan.

A row over terms between UIP and two German circuits delayed the Eric Bana starrer’s release at about 80 locations and may have created negative perceptions in some minds. One exhib said, “Many of our viewers appreciated what we were doing; they realized that we were fighting to keep prices down for their sake.”

“Bruce Almighty” hit $100.6 million from just 23 markets, the 11th title to cross $100 mil this year. Spyglass laffer has notched career best openings for topliner Jim Carrey everywhere, most recently in Denmark. It had terrific second laps in the U.K. and Spain and remarkably clung to pole position in its fourth in Germany.

Arnold Schwarzenegger hasn’t lost his touch, judging by the first offshore appearances of “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.” Sony release marshaled an estimated $4.6 million in five days on 252 screens in Russia, including $885,000 in sneaks, a territory record; and $483,000 in three days on 92 in Colombia, the third highest debut locally.

“Finding Nemo” continued its charmed run, posting an all-time toon high and the industry’s third best bow ever in Mexico. Pixar/BVI family pic also set new highs for the animated canon in local currency and admissions in Brazil, Argentina and Israel. “Nemo” has swallowed $18.9 million in 15 markets, mostly in Asia and Latin America.

Gallic comedy “7 Years of Marriage” surged through its second tryst in France. Directed by and co-starring Didier Bourdon, witty tale of a couple who after seven years of marriage start to explore swingers clubs and sex shops to liven up their relationship is a popular subject in frisky France.

Sheri Jennings in Rome, Ed Meza in Berlin, Liza Klaussmann in Paris and Archie Thomas in London contributed to this report.

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