Post-holiday offerings dwindle with 'X2' pending

Coming off the Easter break, ticket sales in many markets dwindled last weekend, with Spain plunging by a whopping 50%, Taiwan plummeting by 54% due to worries over SARS, and Germany off 7%.

Still, “Johnny English,” “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” “Dreamcatcher” and “The Jungle Book 2” gave folks reasons to visit cinemas — along with less obvious drawcards in “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” in Italy and “The Life of David Gale” in France.

Understandably, few distribs were game to release big films, knowing Fox is unleashing “X2: X-Men United” in an unprecedented 93 markets this weekend.

The pacesetter for the third straight weekend, “Johnny English” mustered $13.3 million from 3,136 playdates in 27 countries, elevating cume to a juicy $77 million, with Japan, France and South Korea ahead.

SARS scares

The Rowan Atkinson starrer was crippled by SARS scares in Taiwan, scraping up $132,000 on 51 screens. But despite SARS, the Working Title laffer experienced no worse than average drops in Hong Kong ($1.1 million in 11 days, down 53%), the Philippines ($667,000 in nine days, slipping 31%), Malaysia ($523,000 in 11 days, off 51%) and Thailand ($735,000 in 10 days, losing 50%). “Johnny” was No. 1 for the third weekend in a row in the U.K. (amassing a stellar $21.7 million to date), and Germany ($14.6 million).

“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” was the front-runner in Oz, whistling up a dandy $2.4 million on 241, including $675,000 in previews, and Mexico, wooing $655,000 on 240. Romantic comedy fetched a solid $768,000 on 149 in Italy, $273,000 on 31 in Switzerland and $195,000 on 64 in Turkey.

After moderate bows, it actually improved by 3% in Blighty, scoring $5.3 million in 10 days, and eased by a mere 3% in Germany for $3.9 million in 11 days.

“Dreamcatcher” caught an estimated $6.3 million in 39 markets, upping cume to a respectable $25.8 million. Horror pic wasn’t thrilling in the U.K. with $1.1 million on 344 but reigned in its second turn in Spain, making $880,000 (falling 35%) and $3.2 million to date. Through its soph sessions it’s earned a fair $2.4 million in France and $2.9 million in Japan.

“Chicago” ranked at No. 1 in its second stanza in Japan’s key cities and nationwide orchestrated $1.8 million, bringing the market total to a hearty $6.9 million and the foreign cume to $107.1 million. After minting a superb $11.8 million in its native South Korea, woman-in-distress movie “Phone,” a BVI pick-up, dialed up a decent $1.1 million on 236 in Japan.

‘Jungle’ roars

“Jungle Book 2” levitated to $71.8 million (eclipsing domestic’s $47 million) on the back of a $5.4 million frame. Disney’s toon has drawn a terrif $10.4 million in Germany, $9.6 million in the U.K., and $3.7 million in Mexico.

Typifying the B.O. malaise in Taiwan, “Anger Management” took pole position in Taipei with a meager $85,000 on 14 screens. The Adam Sandler/Jack Nicholson starrer opened at No. 1 in Singapore ($238,000 on 26) and the Philippines ($170,000 on 36), both including previews. “Anger” abated by a modest 29% in Australia, punching up a sturdy $4.5 million in 11 days.

Early in its international travels, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” was the champ in Italy, winning $1 million on 285, capitalizing on the local following for Julia Roberts and George Clooney. However Miramax’s pic played to just $240,000 in Germany, limited to 98 screens.

“David Gale” was tops in Paris and suburbs, selling 52,000 tix at 47 screens, but was less appealing in other regions, grossing $895,000 on 334 nationally in a slow frame. Death row drama has picked up a skimpy $10 million in 11 UIP territories.

Invading India, its final market, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” conjured up $341,000 on 102, 45% up on the original and a WB record locally, although trailing the third weekend of Indian blockbuster “Hero.” “Potter’s” estimated cume towers at $607.4 million.

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