Bond and boogeyman battle Oscar hopefuls

'Ashes,' 'Kings,' 'Beauty' enjoying o'seas success

A slew of Oscar hopefuls began their overseas campaigns last week with decidedly mixed results while most of the B.O. action was centered around “The World Is Not Enough” and “The Sixth Sense” as biz in some markets experienced the usual post-vacation downturn.

Among the titles vying for Academy Award recognition, “Angela’s Ashes” opened quite strongly in the U.K. despite uneven reviews, “Three Kings” drew armies of admirers in Australia and New Zealand and “American Beauty” shone in Israel, notching $152,000 at just nine houses.

However, Miramax’s “The Cider House Rules” was just fair in Denmark and Australia (where one booker opined, “It doesn’t have a hook to sell to this audience”) and the Susan Sarandon/Natalie Portman starrer “Anywhere But Here” bombed in France on 46 screens, although it did OK on 20 in Argentina. Positioned as an arthouse release, sex-change drama “Boys Don’t Cry” fared respectably at five theaters in Sweden.

Continuing to set records for the Bond series, “The World Is Not Enough” snared $2.3 million in six days on 242 screens in Italy and $475,000 in five days on 81 in Turkey. The 007 caper raked in $11 million in nearly 3,000 screens in 30 countries, propelling its cume to $180.3 million.

‘Sense’ of scale

“The Sixth Sense” captured $4.6 million in six days on 224 in Spain. The Bruce Willis starrer stole $1.6 million on 92 in Holland, including previews, hailed by BVI as an industry record.

The thriller showed great stamina in its second frames in France, Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland as its cume soared to $253.5 million, including $94.3 million in the Spyglass territories. The global total topped $531 million.

Phillip Noyce’s “The Bone Collector” had unexceptional debuts in the U.K., Singapore and Norway but was more potent in Taiwan and Argentina, taking pole position in both.

Andy Tennant’s “Anna and the King” commanded a lively $2.1 million in six days at 200 palaces in Italy, benefiting from lots of media coverage for the gala preem in Rome attended by Jodie Foster and the helmer.

The epic opened passably in Brazil and South Africa and its cume climbed to $28.7 million, highlighted by Spain’s $5.3 million and Mexico’s $2.8 million.

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