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O’seas bows wow

'Wild West,' 'Eyes,' 'Runaway' lead pack

The summer B.O. overseas went up another notch last weekend, powered by a slew of new releases and aided by overcast weather in parts of Europe.

Stoking the biz, “Wild Wild West” had rip-roaring debuts in four Euro markets, “Eyes Wide Shut” set a new benchmark for R-rated films in Australia, “Runaway Bride” wowed Hong Kong, and “Notting Hill” had smart starts in five territories.

“Inspector Gadget” and “The General’s Daughter” had propitious foreign preems, while the “Star Wars” prequel became the first film this year to top $200 million abroad.

“Wild Wild West” smashed Warner Bros.’ opening record in France, edging out “The Matrix” by raking in $6.2 million in five days on 658 prints and monopolizing 66% of the top five titles’ receipts. The Will Smith starrer’s $1.7 million haul in three days on 284 ranked as the distrib’s third-highest bow ever in Spain, and the results were similarly buoyant in Portugal and French-speaking Switzerland.

All told, the oater rounded up $14.6 million from 3,007 screens in 25 countries and its cume hit $37.1 million, highlighted by Germany’s rich $8.6 million in 11 days (dipping by a reasonable 27%) and Taiwan’s $2.2 in nine days.

‘Shut’ in

Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” minted $1.6 million in four days on 257 in Oz (WB’s fifth-highest opening weekend and the best by an R-rater, eclipsing “Seven”) and $207,000 from 37 in New Zealand (a record for an R18 certificate and Warner’s fourth-biggest). The Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman starrer is benefiting from word of mouth in Japan (unlike the polarized U.S. reaction), illustrated by its modest 21% decrease after its first week, which was a WB company record, erasing “Eraser.” In nine days, “Eyes” has fetched a terrif $7.1 million in nine days.

“Runaway Bride” romanced $613,000 in four days on 32 screens in Hong Kong, an all-time high for a Western hemisphere romantic comedy, beating previous champ “Notting Hill” by 17%. “Notting Hill’s” foreign cume raced past domestic to $113.7 million on the back of a $6.2 million weekend on 2,233 screens in 23 countries. Universal’s pic scored $803,000 on 220 in Mexico, $736,000 on 65 in Argentina (35% up on “Shakespeare in Love”), $390,000 on 41 in Norway (touted as an industry record for the genre) and $340,000 on 38 in monsoon-blighted Philippines. After notching the fifth-highest opening of the year in Brazil, the 10-day tally there is $1.9 million.

“Inspector Gadget” set a new high for a Disney live-action release in South Korea, beating “Flubber” in local currency and “101 Dalmatians” in dollars, arresting $262,000 on 51. The family comedy fetched $201,000 on 74 in Thailand, a fraction below Disney’s best live-action entry by “George of the Jungle.” “The General’s Daughter” earned a classy $331,000 in two days on 32 in Korea.

Flying high

“Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace” soared to $210.6 million after annexing $10.9 million in 26 countries, led by Japan’s $58.8 million and the U.K.’s $54.6 million. The sci-fier collared $530,000 on 55 in Finland (the No. 2 preem ever behind “Independence Day”) and $313,000 on 32 in Russia, bringing the total there to $603,000 after its monster first week at a Moscow showcase.

“Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me” abated by a mere 20% in the U.K., spying $3.5 million on 442, for a potent $21.4 million in 10 days, and clocked a strong $217,000 in four days on 30 in Israel. Cume topped $42 million.

The Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle “Universal Soldier: The Return” (which bows Aug. 20 Stateside) took an underwhelming $307,000 on 111 in Australia but was a bit beefier in Brazil with $439,000 on 198 after mediocre perfs in France and a few small markets.

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