Counting on ‘Sense’

O'seas also brightened by 'Blue,' 'Big' debuts

A paucity of hot new releases took some of the sheen off the overseas B.O. at the weekend, although “The Sixth Sense’s” continued winning run plus dandy debuts by “Blue Streak” and “Big Daddy” cheered auds and exhibs.

However, “Fight Club” is shaping up as a lightweight abroad, punching up just $2.4 million from openings in 13 markets in Asia, Latin America and Europe and from its second, sorry lap in Brazil.

Add two more titles to the ranks of those that have minted more than $100 million outside North America this year, which boosts the number to 11. “Runaway Bride” cantered to $103.1 million from holdovers, most notably Japan’s hearty $8.7 million in 16 days (off 30%). “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” touched $101.1 million, driven chiefly by France’s racy $5.6 million in 12 days (slipping just 11%), Belgium’s modest $338,000 in five days on 54 and Germany’s decent $6.4 million through its fourth lap.

Dollars for ‘Sense’

“Sixth Sense” platformed at nine theaters in London ahead of its nationwide bow this Friday, harvesting a socko $432,000, and entered Greece with a torrid $290,000 on 16. Expanding to 273 locations in its soph session in Italy, the thriller fetched $2.4 million, bringing the market cume to $4.1 million.

After an awesome opening, M. Night Shyamalan’s pic had a pretty good hold in Japan (according to one estimate, it abated by 35% in the nine key cities), scoring $18.3 million to date.

Other standout perfs include Mexico’s $5.3 million in 10 days (easing 10%), Brazil’s $6.5 million after the third weekend (down 20%) and Australia’s $13.8 million through its fifth. All told, the Spyglass/Buena Vista phenom garnered an estimated $13 million abroad, propelling the cume to $77.8 million.

“Big Daddy” rang up $3 million on 688 in Germany, including previews, Columbia TriStar’s eighth-highest opening there; $403,000 on 76 in Austria, with sneaks (the distrib’s fifth-best); and $225,000 on 50 in Portugal (its third biggest). The cume reached $49.8 million with openings to come in just three major markets: Japan, Sweden and Italy.

In its offshore preems, “Blue Streak” delivered uniformly jaunty figures in Spain ($1.2 million on 297), Australia ($1.4 million on 204, including previews), South Korea ($462,000 on 38) and Brazil ($310,000 on 111).

The Martin Lawrence-headlined action comedy coined a combined $419,000 from launches in Hungary, Israel, New Zealand and Russia.

“Fight Club” notched its brighter bows in Spain with $886,000 on 249 and Mexico at $541,000 on 315. But the Brad Pitt starrer did not connect in most other markets including Thailand, Argentina, Denmark and Holland.

‘Phantom’ pushes on

Pocketing $6.7 million from 25 countries, including $152,000 from previews in China (screen count wasn’t available), “Star Wars: Episode 1–The Phantom Menace” cruised to $470.3 million.

“Deep Blue Sea” scooped up $4.8 million in 27 territories, spurred by Sweden’s swell $450,000 on 60, Warner Bros.’ ninth-best preem ever in that market, and Germany’s reasonable $5 million in 11 days; cume is $59.8 million.

“Tarzan” climbed to $85.8 million on the back of the U.K.’s smash $21.2 million in 17 days. The end of school vacation in Blighty saw “Tarzan” fall by more than 50%, but it’s tracking ahead of every Disney traditional animated release except “The Lion King,” which it trails by 15%.

“Blair” fair

“The Blair Witch Project” tumbled by more than 60% in the U.K., but has clocked a formidable $19.7 million through its third expedition.

Generally struggling to match its domestic firepower, “The General’s Daughter” marshaled a soft $772,000 in two days on 154 in Japan, a moderate $1.1 million in four days on 260 in Australia, including sneaks, and a comparatively stronger $499,000 in three days on 50 in Taiwan. The last figure was 42% better than “Ronin’s” debut in Taiwan and sufficient to earn top spot. The John Travolta starrer has minted $24.8 million from 32 markets.

Domestic disaster “Jakob the Liar” appears destined for a brief life theatrically overseas. In its first engagements, the Robin Williams vehicle managed a pitiful $94,000 on 33 in Germany, $10,000 on 10 in the U.K. and $4,000 from three in Australia.

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