World Cup fever, good weather in Europe and the start of the Wimbledon tennis championship made for a slow week in much of the overseas box office.
But some films were able to buck the trend: Standouts included Warner Bros.’ “City of Angels” in Blighty, animated foreign bows for BVI’s “Mulan,” Sony’s “As Good As It Gets” (cume: $148.4 million) passing its domestic tally and UIP’s “Deep Impact,” which passed $100 million overseas.
After staging the biggest No. 1 bows of 1998 with phenomenal screen averages in Japan and Australia, “Deep Impact’s” foreign total rocketed to $113.1 million, making it the first DreamWorks-produced title to reach that milestone overseas. It is only the fourth pic released in 1998 to do so — after “Titanic,” “Tomorrow Never Dies” and “As Good As It Gets.”
‘Mulan’s’ bow wows
“Deep Impact” also made a big impact in Singapore, with $937,922 from 34 theaters. It stayed ahead of an excellent $485,000 from 32 cinemas for the foreign preem of BVI’s “Mulan,” which was Singapore’s biggest animation bow ever.
In other fine foreign starts simultaneous with its domestic launch, the Disney toon broke BVI animation records in Colombia and Israel, with $780,000 and $60,000 from 75 and three screens, respectively.
Also extricating itself with grace from a skirmish with “Deep Impact” was Fox’s “Great Expectations” (cume: $22.8 million) in Japan, charming $784,211 from 104 Nippon theaters (plus $102,658 from 14 in Israel).
In Australia, “The Horse Whisperer” (cume: $4.7 million) showed staying power against “Deep Impact,” falling 23% in its third frame. “Godzilla” took a 45% plunge after last week’s blah bow, while Martin Scorsese’s “Kundun” spirited a saintly preem. “The Little Mermaid” (reissue cume: $4.5 million) staged BVI’s biggest reissued animation gross in Oz. “Mermaid” swam ahead of previews for Fox’s “Anastasia” (cume: $68.5 million).
Sony’s “Godzilla” (cume: $13.9 million) stomped $1.1 million from 50 screens in Hong Kong and roared an excellent $880,655 from 18 theaters in Taiwan. Even Russians cobbled together enough rubles to hand the lizard a very good $153,811 from 16 sites and set Sony records in Moscow.
Warner’s “City of Angels” (cume: $14.3 million) fluttered above a U.K. heatwave for a No. 1 bow and clicked in Malaysia, with $96,962 from 21 sites. Also in the U.K., a reissue of box office smash “The Full Monty” was skimpy and obviously came too soon after its monster video release to pick up World Cup widows. “Dream With the Fishes,” “Savior” and “The Last Time I Committed Suicide” stiffed.
Warner’s 25th anniversary re-issue of “The Exorcist” spooked such a great outing in Scotland that the pic will be released nationally in October to coincide with Halloween.
An unsung hero in the U.K. is UIP’s “Sliding Doors,” which has amassed $16.6 million in eight frames, after a carefully targeted ad campaign that capitalized on World Cup widows.