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Dollars & ‘Sense’

Willis starrer wows Japan; 'Club' flubs Brazil

Thrills and spills dominated cinemas overseas in a lucrative weekend, as “The Sixth Sense” enthralled Japan, Mexico and Italy, “The Blair Witch Project” wowed the U.K. and “Deep Blue Sea” surfaced in six territories with fairly potent results.

Hyped by a promo visit to Tokyo by thesps Bruce Willis and Hayley Joel Osment, “Sixth Sense” amassed an explosive $6.6 million in two days on 275 screens in Japan, and $9.2 million including previews.

Spyglass/Buena Vista’s blockbuster clocked the sixth-highest opening weekend in industry history in Mexico, nabbing $1.8 million on 381 (just 2% below “Armageddon”) and launched in Italy’s key cities with a juicy $785,000 on 67; it expands to 250-plus prints in Italy next weekend.

Demonstrating terrific staying power, the ghost story slipped by just 13% in Brazil after registering the biggest three-day opening in history, tallying $3.9 million in 10 days.

M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller coined about $15 million over the weekend, hoisting the cume to $52.2 million. Standout totals include Australia’s $12.1 million, Argentina’s $3.4 million and Israel’s $1.1 million, all through the fourth lap.

“Sense’s” invasion in Japan unseated “The Matrix” from its throne after an exceptional seven straight weekends (it eased by just 21% for a market cume of $58.1 million, $265.5 million overseas) and ruined the party for “Runaway Bride,” which tumbled by 34% for a pretty good $5.6 million in nine days; “Bride’s” foreign cume is $94 million and on course to reach the ton next week.

However on the heels of its underwhelming U.S. perf, “Fight Club” barely got off the mat in its offshore debut in Brazil, shadow-boxing a weak $194,000 on 176 screens. Fox Intl. still hopes the Brad Pitt starrer will have a lot more heft in Europe and elsewhere, and is anxiously awaiting its debuts in Spain and Mexico this Friday and in France and Germany the following week.

B.O. figures in some European territories either were estimates or unavailable due to the All Saints Holiday Monday.

‘Blair’ flair in Britain

After platforming on 36 screens in the U.K., “Blair Witch” widened to about 450 prints, raking in a torrid $9.6 million, bringing the territory total to $11.8 million. The micro-budget pic’s cume is a healthy $26.8 million from 16 markets.

But “Tarzan” felt no tremors from the “Witch,” jumping by 22% in its second weekend wide in the U.K., elevating the take there to a superb $18.8 million, tracking ahead of “The Lion King.” “Tarzan’s” tally is $83.3 million with most of Europe to come.

Based on incomplete data, the “Star Wars” epic orbited to $461.1 million, now the fourth-highest grosser of all time outside North America after overtaking “Lion King’s” $455 million.

“Deep Blue Sea” hauled in $7.5 million from 1,918 screens in 24 countries, fueled by Germany’s solid $2.7 million on 487 (11% higher than “Scream 2’s” entry), Holland’s $405,000 on 64 with previews (WB’s eighth-best bow there) and Austria’s estimated $347,000 on 55.

Similarly lively preems in German-speaking Switzerland, Argentina and Israel netted a combined $694,000. Cume ascended to $51.9 million, highlighted by the U.K.’s $10.2 million after its third lap and Japan’s solid $8.8 million through its fourth.

The “Austin Powers” sequel grossed a hearty $877,000 last Wednesday and Thursday on 494 in France (weekend figures weren’t known), ranking third behind debutante “The Messenger: Joan of Arc” and holdover “Phantom Menace.” The Mike Myers laffer took pole position in Sweden, scoring $317,000 in three days on 50; cume is $94.6 million.

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