O’seas B.O. takes a dip

Flood of weak U.S. releases dent tallies

That sinking feeling experienced by many exhibitors overseas last week was caused not so much by the inevitable, albeit slight, slowing down of the good ship “Titanic” but of the lead weight from a bunch of U.S. releases.

Before the anticipated summer stampede, distribs did a spot of spring cleaning, dispatching such fodder as “For Richer or Poorer” in Australia and South Africa; “Firestorm” in nine territories in Asia and Latin America; and “The Edge,” “Double Team” and “Desperate Measures” in Italy.

“John Grisham’s The Rainmaker” slipped virtually unnoticed into France, the U.K. and Holland, while “U.S. Marshals” had an OK launch in the U.K.

Holdovers strong

Generally, exhibs are relying on holdovers led by “Titanic,” which cruised to $1.032 billion late last week after pocketing a still-remarkable $32.6 million on 5,400 screens. Fox Intl.’s flagship has grossed a staggering $24.2 million in four weeks in China, doubling the previous record held by “True Lies.”

“The Man in the Iron Mask” harvested $9.4 million from 2,417 screens in 21 countries, and its total jumped to $65.8 million. The Leonardo DiCaprio starrer wowed Brazil with $1.3 million in four days on 187.

“As Good As It Gets” minted about $6 million on 1,828 screens in 44 markets, propelling the cume to an estimated $123 million. James Brooks’ comedy is a steady earner in Japan with $2.8 million after the third weekend. Another stayer, “Good Will Hunting” progressed to $75.4 million.

‘Alien’ invades Japan

A handful of new releases did make their mark last week. “Alien Resurrection” stormed into Japan — its last major market — with $3.5 million in three days on 195, blitzing fellow rookie “Jackie Brown.”

The fourth “Alien” installment has amassed $94.9 million; “Jackie Brown” has cumed $31.3 million.

Wes Craven’s “Scream 2” scared up a potent $3.4 million in six days on 567 in Germany. Early in its foreign run, Miramax’s horror pic has collected $14.5 million.

“The Big Lebowski” had muscular debuts in France ($935,000 on 128) and the U.K. ($407,000 in six days at 26 theaters). Polygram’s pic has taken about $6 million from eight markets.

Lively trading in Australia was spurred by New Line clicks “The Wedding Singer” in its soph session and “Lost in Space” in its third lap.

‘Rising’ struggles in Oz

“Mercury Rising” struggled in Oz against torrid Easter holiday competition, but European audiences might be more receptive to the Bruce Willis starrer, which opened in Spain with a respectable $1 million in six days on 206.

Still earning coin in Italy, Japan (where it’s taken $2.2 million on a handful of screens) and a few Latino markets, “The Full Monty” ascended to $198.7 million and was expected to peak at $200 million over the weekend.

“Tomorrow Never Dies” reached $210.4 million, “Flubber” topped $85 million, “The Jackal” made it to $84 million, “George of the Jungle” got to $69.2 million, “Anastasia” hit $63.5 million and “Mouse Hunt” scampered to $56.2 million.