‘X-Men’ rules U.K.

'Storm, 'Sixty' also strong in o'seas dates

As usual, U.S. majors fired some big guns overseas in late summer, with “X-Men” excellent in the U.K. (though slightly less incandescent in France and Belgium), while “The Perfect Storm” made waves in Spain, Taiwan and Thailand, and “Gone in Sixty Seconds” had its pedal to the metal in Germany, Austria and Argentina.

Bryan Singer’s “X-Men” pulled in $7.1 million in three days on 435 screens in the U.K. — the No. 1 opening there this year, and Fox’s fourth-highest preem ever in that market behind “Star Wars: Episode One — The Phantom Menace,” “Independence Day” and “Titanic.”

The sci-fi caper generated $3.5 million in five days on 597 in France (Fox’s fourth-best bow), $463,000 on 77 in Belgium and $371,000 in four days on 40 in New Zealand. The Kiwi entry was the industry’s fifth-largest and Fox’s No. 3 of all time, trailing “Independence Day” and “Phantom Menace.”

After stellar debuts, pic retained top spot in Mexico, tallying a terrif $5.9 million (sliding 39%) and Brazil at $3.7 million (off 37%).

All told, “X-Men” conjured up $16.4 million from 2,744 engagements in 24 countries and the cume levitated to $41.8 million.

‘Storm’ alert

“Perfect Storm” sucked up $11.4 million as its cume surged to $86.2 million. Wolfgang Petersen’s epic snared $1.7 million, including previews, from 313 in Spain, marking Warner Bros.’ second-highest bow ever there, just 12% below “The Matrix.”

The high-seas adventure hauled in $2 million in two days on 58 in Taiwan, accounting for 71% of the top five titles’ B.O. in the capital Taipei, $679,000 on 113 in Thailand (the distrib’s fourth-best bow of all time and the industry’s third-highest this year) and $381,000 on 60 in Sweden. “Storm” ebbed by 32% in France for a so-so $4.4 million in 12 days.

The George Clooney-Mark Wahlberg vessel has opened at No. 1 in 17 of the 25 territories in which it’s been released thus far, according to WB.

“Gone in Sixty Seconds” stole $3.5 million on 789 in Germany, a personal best for Nicolas Cage, topping “The Rock” by 14%, and BVI’s fifth-largest live action preem. The carjack saga scored $751,000 on 89 in Argentina (BVI’s third-best live action debut after “Armageddon” and “The Sixth Sense”), $598,000 in 85 in Austria and $350,000 on 65 in the Philippines.

Fueled by a $10 million weekend from 2,398 screens in 32 territories, the Jerry Bruckheimer production hit $64.1 million, highlighted by the U.K.’s $8 million through its third lap, Holland’s $1.2 million (slipping just 7%) and Belgium’s $1.1 million (up 7%), both in their soph sessions.

‘Gladiator’ still fighting

Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator” ascended to $235.3 million, powered by Greece’s $378,000 in three days on 56 (a UIP record) and China’s nifty $1 million in 12 days.

A $6.2 million weekend from 2,554 screens in 25 markets hoisted “Mission: Impossible 2” to $276.3 million.

Ang Lee’s Chinese-lingo “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” kicked butt in South Korea to the tune of $630,000 in two days on 51.

“Scary Movie” took pole position in Hong Kong with a potent $573,000 on 26 and has raked in an impressive $717,000 through its soph session in Denmark, $1.2 million in Holland and $1 million in Israel, both in its third rounds.

“The Patriot” whistled up $4.2 million, including a smart $298,000 on 63 in Turkey (hailed as the market’s fifth-highest summer debut ever), and it climbed to $66.1 million.

A monster hit in its native Britain, “Chicken Run” didn’t have much to crow about in Spain, winging in with about $594,000 on 184 according to one tracking service that monitors about 80% of the total territory B.O., and it laid an egg in Sweden and Hungary.

“Shanghai Noon” dawned in Mexico with a fair $413,000 on 185, but barely flickered on 40 screens in Italy, where Jackie Chan has a limited following. “Noon” fell by 39% in Oz but retained top spot in a subdued weekend for $1.8 million in 11 days.

The Spyglass/BVI release’s cume is $23.4 million.

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