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Weekend o’seas biz Quasi-hot

The generally comatose fall season abroad was set to get a mighty wake-up call over the Nov. 29-Dec. 1 weekend, almost single-handedly thanks to Quasimodo. “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” was unleashed in 13 territories, and the omens pointed to monster numbers.

Disney’s “Hunchback” became the 15th film of the year to crack the $100 million mark in 1996 at the foreign B.O., hitting $100.2 million Saturday and passing the pic’s domestic B.O. gross, which was at $98.8 million through Nov. 24. Tracking has the international B.O. total eventually hitting $200 million.

The French gave a B.O. thumbs-up to the animated treatment of native Victor Hugo’s classic, as the pic opened Nov. 27 and turned up $1.5 million on 638 screens in its first two days, despite a transportation strike and heavy snows.

BVI estimated the take for the pic’s initial weekend in Germany at $2.5 million to $3 million on 479 screens; in Belgium, BVI is projecting $60,000 from 69 screens; and in Holland, $25,000 on 152 screens. The pic was to bow Nov. 28 in Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Norway and the Czech Republic.

Meanwhile, Ron Howard’s “Ransom” pumped up the B.O. with muscular bows in several small markets and sturdy holdover biz in Australia and Singapore. However, Fox unwrapped “Jingle All the Way” Down Under with so-so results, roughly in line with the U.S.

In Germany, “Dragonheart” (foreign cume $35.7 million) reaped $2.5 million in the first week on 264, while “Fargo” ($15 million) had a steady second and yuppie comedy “Irren ist Mannlich” in its fourth frame became the fifth German film this year to clock 1 million admissions.

“Ransom” extorted $396,000 in six days on 33 in New Zealand (a Buena Vista Intl. record), $280,000 in five days on 42 in Malaysia and $191,000 in three days on 52 in Colombia.

The thriller slipped by a reasonable 33% in Australia, tallying $5.8 million in 14 days on 255. Pic upstaged “Jingle All the Way,” which had $1 million on 173, skewing young and missing Arnie’s hardcore admirers.

In its foreign preem, “Space Jam” racked up a feisty $550,000 in six days on 47 in Puerto Rico, topping all the summer hits’ debuts except “Independence Day.” “Independence Day” moved up to $397.1 million and should hit $400 million this week. “The Nutty Professor” skipped along to $116.8 million.

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