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U.S. hits miss o’seas

'House,' 'Storm' don't storm B.O.; 'M:I 2' still towers

Don’t count on every film that clicks in the U.S. to resonate equally effectively or better abroad. True, “Mission: Impossible 2” has eclipsed its domestic performance, but “The Perfect Storm” and “Big Momma’s House” are not tracking anywhere near as strongly overseas as at home.

The jury is still out on “The Patriot,” but with an estimated $35.8 million in the bank from 29 territories, the Revolutionary War saga does appear capable of matching its North American result.

The overall mood among European exhibs last week was subdued, typified by one Teutonic programmer who says, “Business was a bit slow; there just are not enough good films.”

She notes word of mouth wasn’t helping “Perfect Storm” in its soph session and she doubted that rookie “Big Momma’s House” would last long.

“Mission 2” minted $29 million from 3,818 engagements in 28 countries, hoisting the cume to $229.1 million. John Woo’s actioner looks likely to peak at around $300 million, surpassing the original’s $286 million.

Big bucks in France

The Tom Cruise headliner detonated $8.3 million on 769 in France, the market’s second-highest entry this year behind Gallic click “Taxi 2,” 84% up on “Gladiator” and 68% ahead of “The Mummy.” The Belgian haul of $1.5 million on 64 beat “Gladiator” by 11%.

“Perfect Storm” racked up $18.8 million from 2,273 screens in 17 territories, lifting the cume to $33.8 million. Roland Emmerich’s pic is handicapped abroad by several factors: It’s skewing older than it did in the U.S.; there’s more competition from films that appeal to young auds; and George Clooney’s star does not burn as brightly overseas.

In Japan, the high-seas thriller scored $6 million in five days on 290, Warner Bros.’ second-biggest bow ever behind “The Matrix,” but it could not dethrone “M:I2,” which towered at $52.2 million near the end of its fourth lap. WB believes the pic will have enough momentum to earn 2 billion yen ($18.3 million) in rentals. “Pokemon 3: Lora of the Unknown Tower” topped $20 million after 26 days in Japan.

“Storm” whipped up $5.1 million in six days on 409 in the U.K., $911,000 in two days on 60 in South Korea (Warner’s second-highest after “Matrix”) and $906,000 on 33 in Hong Kong.

‘Patriot’ holding its own

“The Patriot” collared an estimated $10.4 million from 3,060 screens in 29 territories. The Mel Gibson vehicle entered Holland in second spot (behind “Mission’s” fourth frame) and was either No. 1 or 2 in Sweden, Poland, Malaysia, Hungary, Portugal and Finland. “Patriot” had reasonable holds in Australia, Brazil, Spain, Argentina and Taiwan, where “Taxi 2” reigned in its second lap, outgunning “Patriot” by nearly 70%.

“Gone in Sixty Seconds” tore into Mexico with $2.4 million in six days on 283, a personal best for Nicolas Cage, and fetched $796,000 in ditto on 28 in Hong Kong, BVI’s second-highest debut behind “Runaway Bride.” Cume is $28.8 million with all of Europe and Japan ahead.

“Big Momma’s House” has closeted $21.8 million from 19 countries, generating the most yuks and bucks to date in Mexico and the U.K., and generally performing quite well for a black-themed comedy, often a problematic genre abroad.

“X-Men” notched Fox Intl.’s third-biggest debut ever in Singapore, ringing up $764,000 in five days on 30, and had a fair third outing Down Under.

‘Dino’ get-go

“Dinosaur” bounded into China with $886,000 in four days on 131, the best bow on the mainland this year, with several major cities, including Beijing, ahead. The creature feature is set to eclipse the entire runs in China of “Mulan” (which made a puny $1.3 million) and “Tarzan” ($1.6 million) and outshine “Shanghai Noon,” which has $2.1 million in six weeks.

In the Philippines, “Dinosaur” minted $549,000 in six days on 60, Disney’s No. 2 animated bow behind “The Lion King.” Cume is $61.5 million with Europe and Japan dates in the fall.

“Gladiator” wowed New Zealand with $816,000 on 59, an all-time record for UIP, 8% bigger than “Jurassic Park,” just behind industry champ “Independence Day.” Its cume is $222.3 million.

It’s been unrelieved B.O. doom thus far for “Titan A.E.,” which tanked in the U.K, Korea and Taiwan and has mustered a mere $4.4 million in 15 territories, chiefly in Latin America.

“The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas” ($14 million cume) has been a crowdpleaser in Australia, OK in Mexico and fair in Germany but a dud elsewhere, with soft openings in Blighty, Korea and Spain.

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