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‘Mars’ attacks o’seas; Til vs. Tom in Germany

WB’s “Mars Attacks!” (cume: $14.9 million) invaded 21 territories over the weekend and continued to leave more lauded pics sputtering in its wake.

Bows included a huge $3.6 million from 253 prints in France (posting WB’s third-largest-ever bow there), $3.4 million from 333 screens in the U.K. (finally knocking “Ransom” off its top perch), $1.4 million from 250 German houses (behind BVI’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” but ahead of “Jerry Maguire”), $1.1 million from 122 sites in Spain (knocking stablemate “Space Jam” out of top spot).

The retro sci-fi spoof also stole $503,111 from 34 Taiwanese theaters, $387,688 from 24 Singapore prints, $188,981 from 20 Swiss screens, $322,455 from 21 Hong Kong cinemas and $241,214 from 22 houses in Belgium.

Germany’s resistance to “Mars” came in the form of local star Til Schweiger, whose BVI German-lingo road movie “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (German and Austrian cume: $7.3 million) rose 5% to take $2.8 million from 525 screens in its second weekend, overshadowing the bow of Tom Cruise starrer “Jerry Maguire,” which managed $1.3 million from 538 prints.

But apart from Germany, CTSI’s “Jerry Maguire” (16-territory cume: $16.2 million) had a good weekend, sporting $296,000 from 73 sites in Austria, $348,000 and $174,000 from 52 and 42 screens in Argentina and Colombia, respectively, plus $176,000 and $149,000 from 33 and 31 screens in Switzerland and Norway, respectively.

Fox’s “The Crucible” (cume: $4.3 million) seems to be suffering a bad spell, having posted a string of disappointing bows. The latest are France, where the adaptation of Arthur Miller’s celebrated play took just $105,588 in 72 theaters, South Africa ($26,570 from 16 prints), Switzerland ($24,018 from nine) and only a slightly better $607,363 from 175 houses in the U.K., behind “Mars” but ahead of Polygram’s “The Portrait of a Lady’s” $255,292 from 81 prints.

WB’s other surprise hit, “Space Jam” (cume: $89.5 million), held top spot in Italy, where perfect sunshine dented freshmen, including CTSI’s “The People vs. Larry Flynt” (cume: $5.6 million), which took $435,000 from 76 Italo theaters (playing solid in cities, but reportedly a disaster in the sticks), $393,000 from 79 Spanish screens (where “Everyone Says I Love You” charmed $276,411 from 64 screens; cume is $10.1 million), $73,000 from 46 South African sites, and $67,000 from 15 Portuguese prints.

Home to Verona

Also in Italy, Fox’s “Romeo & Juliet” (cume: $27.9 million) romanced a so-so $512,002 from 119 prints (plus $101,458 from 10 Finnish screens, $84,428 from 12 Greek theaters and $91,351 from 28 Dutch sites), while Miramax’s “The English Patient” grabbed $423,059 from 33 Italo houses (including previews).

“The English Patient” (cume $4.3 million) also lured $163,979 from 19 prints in Norway, $103,335 from 12 sites in Belgium and an excellent $78,208 from four cinemas in Singapore (plus another $17,000 in previews). The Oscar-nominated pic also wowed $796,827 from 86 German prints, and will expand to 145 by the end of the week. Pic gathered momentum over the weekend, with second day’s figures being 70% greater than opening day’s, and the next’s 50% greater again.

Madonna starrer “Evita” (cume: $75 million) thrilled Brazil, chirping $1.1 million from its top-spot bow on 120 screens, the third-largest live- action bow there (behind “Die Hard 3” and “101 Dalmatians”) for BVI, which released pic on behalf of Cinergi. Pic also lured $211,525 from eight Hong Kong theaters.

Murphy’s lawman

After wowing Australia, BVI’s “Metro” (cume: $3.2 million) posted its first Euro bow, sleuthing $273,000 from 53 screens in Sweden, almost equally that market’s bow of Eddie Murphy’s “The Nutty Professor.” In Oz, “Last Man Standing” was the best-performing freshman, taking $371,145 from 78 prints, ahead of BVI’s “The Preacher’s Wife” (a tepid $264,623 on 98) and “The Evening Star” (a poor $164,312 on 104). But “Breaking the Waves” had a good limited bow.

UIP’s “Star Trek: First Contact” (cume: $46 million) beamed $347,625 from 56 Thai theaters and $42,892 from nine Portuguese prints, while stablemate “The Ghost and the Darkness” (cume: $26.3 million) spooked $145,613 from 61 South African screens.

UIP’s “Fierce Creatures” (cume: $11.4 million) made $154,742 from 35 Belgian prints, “The Chamber” nabbed a good $76,741 from eight Singapore screens and “Daylight” (cume: $115.4 million) garnered $118,191 from 13 Greek cinemas.

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