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New bows fail to excite overseas box office

'X,' 'Storm' bow high in France, Latin America

U.S. distribs threw a lot of films into the foreign fray last weekend, but only a few look like sticking around as B.O. activity slackened across much of Europe and Australia.

However, Latin America was abuzz with “X-Men” while “The Perfect Storm” posted sturdy bows in France and a handful of smaller markets, “Gone in Sixty Seconds” energized Holland and Belgium and “What Lies Beneath” had a promising foreign preem in Singapore.

“Mission: Impossible 2” caught $396,000 in three days on 70 screens in Poland, UIP’s third-biggest opener ever, as its cume hit $253.8 million, excluding weekend tallies from France, Japan and Italy, where the distrib’s offices were closed for national holidays.

“X-Men” captured $2.7 million from 498 houses in Mexico, an all-time high in the territory for 20th Century Fox and an industry record for a live-action release (bettered only by “Dinosaur” and “Tarzan”).

Bryan Singer’s comic book-inspired caper minted $1.9 million on 343 in Brazil, Fox’s second-biggest debut and the market’s third-best ever.

‘X-Men’ excellent

South Korea’s $1 million on 83 was Fox’s fourth-highest, while Taiwan’s $638,000 on 53 wasn’t in the same class as the other bows. All told, “X-Men” grabbed $8.3 million from 1,694 engagements in 17 countries, lifting the cume to $20.1 million ahead of its European rollout next weekend.

“Perfect Storm” sold more than 2 million tickets, grossing $10.3 million from 3,353 screens in 27 markets, hoisting the cume to $65.1 million.

The George Clooney starrer fetched an estimated $2.3 million on 692 in France, a fraction higher than “Deep Impact” and 11% up on “The Patriot,” ranking as Warner Bros.’ eighth-highest opener ever in that market.

Venezuela’s $342,000 on 46 was a company record for WB and the industry’s second best behind “Star Wars: Episode One — The Phantom Meance,” and Portugal’s $213,000 on 50 gave the distrib its second-highest preem there after “The Matrix.”

Wolfgang Petersen’s epic had buoyant bows in South Africa and Finland and surged by 16% in its third weekend in Japan, benefiting from the Obon vacation, for a territory total of $13.8 million.

“Sixty Seconds” charged into Holland with $531,000 on 88, beating “Con Air” by 20% and just 7% below “Armageddon’s” entry, and Belgium at $504,000 on 67, 21% ahead of “Face/Off” and more than 50% better than “Con Air” and “The Rock.”

The Nicolas Cage vehicle had pretty good soph sessions in the U.K., tallying $5.9 million (falling by an acceptable 35%); Spain at $3 million (off 35%); and Brazil for $2.8 million (slumping 46%). A $6 million weekend brought the cume to $48.8 million.

‘Noon’ high

“What Lies Beneath” surfaced in Singapore with $481,000 on 26. Tom Dey’s “Shanghai Noon” debuted at No. 1 amid sluggish trading in Australia with $930,000 on 169 and took a mediocre $567,000 on 254 in France, a difficult market for Asian-oriented fare.

The Jackie Chan starrer barely caused a ripple in Spain with $337,000 on 184 and eased by 35% in Japan for a so-so $1.9 million in nine days.

The cume is $17.9 million from 19 markets.

“The Patriot” collected $6.1 million from fine openings in the Philippines, Norway, New Zealand and several other territories, plus holdovers, and its cume reached $58.7 million. Pic slumped by a worrying 50% in Germany for $6.3 million in 11 days.

Among the frame’s under-achievers, William Friedkin’s “Rules of Engagement” marshaled a meager $517,000 in three days on 293 in the U.K. and an estimated $425,000 in two days (screen number not available) in Japan; and “Titan A.E.” had soft landings in Germany and Japan.

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