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‘Beneath’ bow grabs overseas audience

'Shaft,' 'Snatch,' 'Scary,' spring into Blighty

Judging by preliminary figures from key offshore markets, folks around the world much preferred cheering on their teams in the Olympic Games to going to the movies over the weekend.

To be sure, distribs did not give people much incentive to leave their TV sets, as there were only a handful of major releases.

But “What Lies Beneath’s” bow in France demonstrates that not everyone is sports-obsessed, and auds will turn out when they’re offered a film with such commercial elements as Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Fox’s Robert Zemeckis-helmed pic drew about 410,000 patrons in its first five days in France, ringing up an estimated $2.07 million.

Similarly, “Beneath” surfaced with an estimated $126,000 in three days on 19 in French-speaking Switzerland.

Debut duds

In the U.K., three debut films ranked in the top five but none made much of an impression. “Shaft” scored an estimated $767,000 on 345 prints Friday-Saturday, trailing the Brad Pitt starrer “Snatch,” which bagged an estimated $964,000 in its third frame on 369, and “Scary Movie,” which fetched an estimated $1.3 million in its soph session on 419.

In its first major-market appearance, New Line’s “The Cell” raked in an estimated $485,000 on 255 in Blighty, where the Coen brothers’ “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” whistled up an estimated $485,000 on 128.

In a close-run race in Germany, “U-571” cruised into top spot, notching an estimated $916,000 on 587 screens from Thursday through Saturday. Showing remarkable resilience, “Road Trip” ranked at No. 2 in its fourth outing in Germany, pulling an estimated $890,000 on 510, just ahead of “X-Men,” which conjured up an estimated $889,000 in its third on 652. “Coyote Ugly” grossed an estimated $690,000 in its second on 473 after a moderately good opener.

‘Cowboys’ launches

Clint Eastwood’s “Space Cowboys” had a mid-level launch in Spain, collecting an estimated $255,000 on 174 Friday-Saturday, placing third behind “Hollow Man’s” third lap and “Road Trip’s” second.

Romantic comedy “Keeping the Faith” checked into Spain at a distant No. 5 with an estimated $162,000 in two days on 144.

In Australia, “Scary Movie” retained pole position in its third lap, with an estimated $601,000 in four days on 172, against feeble opposition from rookies “Center Stage,” “Gossip” and “Time Code.” “Big Momma’s House” skidded by 38% after a fairly hearty bow in Oz, nabbing an estimated $564,000 on 198, followed by “Pokemon 2000’s” $265,000 in its second on 119 and “Road Trip’s” $258,000 in its fourth on 180.

“Me, Myself & Irene” continued its pattern of solid but far-from-spectacular openings, nabbing an estimated $198,000 on 60 in Holland and an estimated $103,000 on 30 in Sweden.

In Argentina, the Richard Gere/Winona Ryder starrer “Autumn in New York” bowed with an estimated $377,000 in three days on 53, a respectable second behind local click “9 Reinas.”

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