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‘DAME’ RINGS BELLS

Toon passes $100 mil o'seas; 'Trek' bow hot in Oz

:”The Hunchback of Notre Dame” notched good to outstanding debuts in 13 territories last week, propelling the overseas cume to $104.8 million, yet exhibs in some European markets were griping about various B.O. valleys.

Meanwhile, “Star Trek: First Contact” had a stellar foreign preem in Australia, beaming up $1.9 million on 136 screens, 35% higher than “Star Trek Generations” on 104 last year.

“101 Dalmatians” was unleashed in Singapore with $430,000 on 18, a better start than “Babe” and ‘Home Alone 2.” Stephen Herek’s pic launched over the weekend Down Under and in Argentina, Thailand, Malaysia and New Zealand. It’s set for February and March in most of Europe.

Lack of product depth was the chief complaint in Italy, Germany and the U.K. Some Teutonic bookers were disappointed with “Hunchback’s” $3.2 million opener on 476 screens, including previews, and said “She’s the One” was blah.

Gallic programmers were elated by the Disney animated pic’s estimated $9 million haul on 627, the third-highest bow of the year behind “Independence Day” and “Mission: Impossible,” and about 16% below “The Lion King,” which wound with $63.1 million – a record in France.

However, cinema operators were jittery after the terrorist bomb explosion in Paris, and some fear that another attack could torpedo the pre-Christmas biz. Insect docu “Microcosmos” is no flea, amassing $5.7 million in two weeks, while “Bernie,” a dark Gallic comedy about a 30-year-old man’s search for his biological parents, unearthed a snappy $1.2 million on 121.

“Hunchback” charged into Belgium with $1 million in six days on 90 screens and Switzerland at $785,000 on 31 – in both markets, BVI’s second-highest debut behind “The Lion King.”

The take in Holland was a healthy $550,000 on 152. In its second wide week in Spain, the family pic eased by just 10% for a cume of $5.2 million, and after the third weekend of its exclusive run in Rome with stage show, totaled $1.1 million; it rolled out Dec. 6 on 140 screens in Italy. At this clip, “Hunchback” seems capable of at least equaling “Pocahontas,” which minted $204.6 million abroad.

“Michael Collins” posted a rousing $1.6 million in six days on 163 in Italy after winning the Golden Lion and best actor awards at the Venice festival, but it wasn’t enough to revive the flagging Italo B.O. Limited releases for “Beautiful Girls” (pitched as this year’s “The Big Chill”), Chantal Akerman’s comedy “A Couch in New York” and Claude Lelouch’s “Men, Women: A User’s Manual” weren’t very rewarding.

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