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‘Bug’s’ bags bucks

BVI pic clicks o'seas; UIP's 'Babe' struggles

In a frame of animated contrasts at the overseas box office, “A Bug’s Life” got its foreign campaign off to a fine start in a great weekend for BVI, but UIP’s “Babe” sequel got badly burnt.

And, after a $10.3 million weekend on 2,801 screens in 20 nations, including a $900,000 bow at 104 Italian sites and good holds in France, Germany and Spain, BVI’s “Mulan” became the 16th title to pass $100 million overseas. Top markets for the seventh consecutive Disney toon to reach that milestone include the U.K. ($14.6 million), France ($10.2 million), Germany ($8.6 million) and Japan ($6.4 million).

“Mulan” joined the century club as BVI’s overseas box office receipts officially passed $1 billion for an unprecedented fourth consecutive year. At the same time, stablemate “A Bug’s Life” marched to $3.2 million in five top spot foreign preems.

Oz backs ‘Bugs’

Top of the “Bugs” heap was a $1.6 million preem from 244 prints in Australia (crushing freshmen “Legionnaire,” “The Hairy Bird” and “The Governess”) for the best Oz animated bow ever, 18% greater than the preem of “Antz.” “Bugs” munched $400,000 from 88 prints in Thailand for that nation’s biggest animated bow ever (beating “Mulan’s” recent record) and taking 80% more than the bow of “Antz.”

In Argentina, it exceeded the preem of “Antz” by 50% with $392,000 from 100 cinemas. Pic also animated $254,000 and $178,000 from 53 and 47 houses in Malaysia and New Zealand for the second best animated bows in those nations behind “Mulan” and “The Lion King,” respectively.

Bleak in Britain

The contrast with fellow overseas newcomer “Babe: Pig in the City” was stark. In the U.K., the troubled sequel to the 1996 hit took $1 million from 435 screens, for a weak screen average of $2,354, and was beaten to a pulp by New Line’s actioner “Rush Hour” (cume: $15.3 million), which tripled “Babe’s” bow with $3 million from 339 prints.

In South Africa, the pig mustered a screen average of $1,608 from $110,981 on 69 prints, and was slapped about by Fox’s top-place getter “There’s Something About Mary” (cume: $130 million after a $6.3 million weekend) which laughed to the tune of $214,766 from 85 sites.

Latins under ‘Siege’

Fox’s “The Siege” stormed good foreign bows in Argentina and Brazil, with $282,977 and $791,180 from 70 and 217 houses, respectively, while Fox’s “The X-Files” (cume: $96.3 million) spooked a strapping $1.6 million from 183 houses in Japan.

New Line’s vampire thriller “Blade” (cume: $36.8 million) sucked $2.1 million from 466 sites for a top spot bow in an icy and depressed Germany, where UIP’s “Ronin” (cume: $15.2 million) took $972,622 from 305 houses and Polygram’s “Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels” (cume: $21.6 million) fizzled with $76,661 from 63 prints. “Ronin” also took $321,739 from 160 copies in Mexico and $196,544 from 20 prints in Hong Kong.

UIP’s “Out of Sight” (cume: $27.4 million) stomped into second spot (behind sophomore “Mulan”) with $1.1 million from 173 prints in France, where Polygram’s “What Dreams May Come” (cume: $11 million) performed below par with $504,495 from 303 sites.

But “Dreams” charmed $691,753 from 146 prints in Spain, behind “Rush Hour,” which actioned $731,988 from 200 screens, and ahead of BVI’s “The Parent Trap” (cume: $10.1 million), which took $340,000 from 102 sites.

Warner’s “Soldier” (cume: $2 million) marched into top spot in Taiwan, with $533,057 from 50 screens, and nabbed $352,636 from 53 prints in the Philippines, while UIP’s “Saving Private Ryan” (cume: $216 million) wowed $391,263 from 75 Thai theaters. Warner’s “The Negotiator” (cume: $17.9 million) took $121,058 from 26 prints in Sweden, and BVI’s “Snake Eyes” (cume: $38.6 million) slithered up $120,000 from 40 prints in a top spot bow in Norway, while UIP’s “Antz” (cume: $55.5 million) paraded to $121,483 from 20 Israeli houses.

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