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Asia’s local flavor

In Korea, 'Hitch,' 'Baby' lose to 'Mapado'

Will Smith and Clint Eastwood have their admirers in South Korea, but their respective pics “Hitch” and “Million Dollar Baby” were no match last weekend for a local drama about a bunch of grannies who trap and sexually harass a gangster and a corrupt cop on a remote island.

“Mapado: All About the Hemp & Widows” grossed an estimated $3 million on 230 screens, beating “Baby’s” $1.7 million on 185 and “Hitch’s” $1.4 million on 175.

Korean films dominated the local B.O. last year with a market share of around 58%, and that trend has continued into 2005.

“Running Boy” (aka “Marathon”), saga of an autistic man who realizes his potential as a marathon runner under the guidance of a former champ, was No. 1 for five of the past six weeks, ringing up an estimated $31.8 million.

Eastwood’s gritty drama punched up a solid $145,000 on 18 in Hong Kong, trailing the second weekend of “Hitch,” and hit a handy $94,000 on 32 in South Africa. Oscar-winning “Baby” has racked up $45 million based on incomplete reports, highlighted by Spain’s $10.6 million, the U.K.’s $8.9 million, Italy’s $7.1 million and Australia’s $4.4 million.

“Hitch” drew $30.2 million on 4,640 screens in 42 markets, boosting cume to $66.1 million. Romantic comedy bowed at No. 1 in 14 territories including the U.K. (clocking $8.3 million including sneaks and its London platform), Italy ($2.6 million), Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Norway and Hungary. Smith/Eva Mendes starrer easily retained the lead in its soph sessions in Germany and Australia, experiencing mild drops.

Among other notable performers last weekend, “Robots” wowed auds in Mexico, “Blade: Trinity” blitzed Spain, “The Pacifier” was the victor in Taiwan and local pic “Boudu” triumphed in France.

Fox’s “Robots” manufactured $2.3 million on 753 in Mexico and was No. 1 in Malaysia and second in Singapore and Indonesia.

The “Blade” sequel nabbed $3.1 million on 367 in Spain, elevating cume to $64.8 million, eclipsing domestic’s $52.4 million.

Vin Diesel starrer “Pacifier” began its offshore campaign by taking an impressive $335,000 on 18 in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei.

Updating cumes, “Meet the Fockers” ascended to $213.7 million, “The Aviator” reached $97.2 million, “Constantine” hit $87 million and “Shark Tale” topped $186 million, driven by Japan’s nifty $5.1 million in nine days (off just 14%) and Italy’s $10 million in 17 days.

Among the frame’s duds: “Friday Night Lights” didn’t switch on in Oz, its first offshore market; “Racing Stripes” never got out of the gate in Germany and Japan; and “Son of the Mask” tanked in Germany.

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