O’seas auds go ape

'Tarzan,' 'Sense' shine, but few bows bring wows

After a brief lull, box office rebounded in many territories last week, spurred by the heroics of “Tarzan” in German-speaking territories and Scandinavia, “The Sixth Sense” in the U.K. and “Stigmata” in Mexico.

But exhibs in France, Spain and Australia said biz was depressed by a mediocre bunch of new releases and chilly weather.

In its first Euro engagement, “Teaching Mrs. Tingle” launched in Germany two days after a high school teacher in Meissen was stabbed to death by a student in class. Church groups and authorities urged cinemas not to screen Miramax’s film, which went out as “Kill Mrs. Tingle.” Exhibs said it performed so badly they were yanking it anyway.

Lucky 13

Thirteen hits now belong in the $100 million grossers’ club overseas this year as “Sixth Sense” soared to $111.2 million and “Tarzan” swung to $100.2 million.

“Tarzan” captured $12.8 million from five stellar openings, including Germany (setting an opening record for Disney animated pics), Sweden (the industry’s third-highest in history) and Austria (ranking as the seventh-biggest of all time and another animated record).

The family adventure scored a similarly hot $857,000 in six days on 62 vines in Denmark (the territory’s second-highest ever behind the most-recent local “Jonsen” gang outing) and $663,000 on 77 in Norway (also No.1 for an animated entry).

After its exclusive one-week run in London, “The Sixth Sense” took the U.K. by storm, posting an all-time weekend high for Buena Vista Intl. and spooking $10.9 million in 13 days. Showing terrific stamina, M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller has racked up $29.3 million in Japan (up 4%), $7.6 million in Italy (easing 9%), in both markets nearing the end of the third frame, and $8.3 million through its fourth in Brazil.

In its first offshore date, “Stigmata” scared up $1.4 million in six days on 250 in Mexico, where “Sixth Sense” fell by 30%, ringing up $7.4 million in 16 days.

Split decision

Following a checkered path, “Fight Club” put up a fair fight in the U.K. (where male-oriented fare suffered due to a midweek English-Scotland soccer match) and France, but looked groggy in Australia and Germany. One Teutonic booker judged the Brad Pitt starrer as “too dark, brutal and gross” for most tastes.

David Fincher’s pic garnered about $11 million from 18 debuts plus holdovers in 15 markets for an $18.4 million cume, including Italy’s fair $3.3 million nearing the end of its third round. Word of mouth is very mixed, as evidenced by its modest 20% drop in Spain, its 44% plunge in Mexico and 38% erosion in Argentina, all in its second frame.

“Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” advanced to $481 million, helped by France’s luminous fifth lap and China’s juicy $2 million in two weeks.