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X-traordinary bow

'X-Men' rocks o'seas B.O.; 'Patriot' meek

“X-Men” wowed Australian auds in its international preem and “Mission: Impossible 2” had another socko weekend overseas, but “The Patriot” was less than triumphant in its first foreign engagements.

Rounding out an eventful frame, “Dinosaur” captivated three Asian territories and “Me, Myself & Irene” had OK launches in Spain and Belgium. “Stuart Little” saw a respectable entry in Japan and “Gladiator” ascended to $202 million.

Released on Thursday Down Under to catch the end of the school vacation, “X-Men” fetched $2.1 million on 245 screens, Fox Intl.’s third-highest opening weekend in history behind “Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace” and “Independence Day.” Bryan Singer’s caper based on the Marvel comic has August dates in most of the world, while Japan is pegged for September and Italy for October.

The “Mission” sequel rocketed to $150 million on the back of a $24.2 million weekend in 34 markets, including hot debuts in Sweden ($1 million in five days on 68, the third-best preem of all time), Portugal ($355,000 in three days on 60, also the third-biggest) and the Philippines ($307,000 in two days on 159, the sixth-highest, 41% ahead of the first).

Good follow-through

John Woo’s actioner generally held pretty well after smash openings, amassing a huge $27.2 million in nine days in Japan (off 29%), $14.6 million in 11 days in Germany (sliding 38%), $14 million in 10 days in the U.K. (down 40%), $6.4 million in 10 days in Spain (tumbling 42%) and $5.8 million in ditto in Italy (a 29% erosion).

“M:I2” appears on course to match or exceed the original, which did $286 million abroad.

“The Patriot” could not conquer the B.O. in three important major markets. The Mel Gibson starrer rode into the U.K. in third spot with a tepid $1.5 million on 498, battling for the same demo as “Mission 2,” probably wounded by a row there over the film’s historical accuracy and the way it portrays the Brits. The frame’s surprise victor was “Chicken Run,” which eased by 29% in its third lap, cuming a phenom $20.7 million.

The Revolutionary War saga raked in $1.8 million on 627 in France (trailing “Gladiator’s” fourth lap) and $1.3 million on 413 in Mexico (Columbia TriStar’s third-highest preem after “Godzilla” and “Men in Black,” No. 2 behind “Dinosaur).

Roland Emmerich’s epic did take pole positions in Argentina, pulling in $856,000 on 92, and the minor markets of Colombia, South Africa, Israel, French-speaking Switzerland and Slovakia, where it’s nice to be No. 1 but the rewards are chicken feed compared to the major territories. All told, “Patriot” collected $6.2 million from 1,812 engagements in nine countries.

Mucho dino

“Dinosaur” smashed Buena Vista Intl.’s records for both live action and animation in Hong Kong, snaring $1.3 million on 43 — 10% up on “The Rock” and nearly 15% better than “Toy Story 2.” That ranked as the second-best debut in that market this year behind “Mission 2.”

The creature feature also set all-time toon highs in South Korea, notching $1 million from 71 (beating “Tarzan” by 50%) and Taiwan, taking $605,000 on 16 (15% ahead of the loin-clothed hero).

After its record-busting bow in Mexico, “Dinosaur” fell by a reasonable 36%, nabbing a whammo $9.1 million in 10 days, and in Argentina it eased by just 8%, for $2.7 million. “Dinosaur” harvested $9.1 million in 20 countries, hiking the cume to $36.6 million.

“Stuart Little” landed in Japan with $1.4 million on 189, positioned to cash in on the school vacation that begins next week; its cume is $106.6 million and, after subtracting the $6.9 million it pocketed in 1999, it’s a whisker away from becoming the 10th hit to clock $100 million this year.

The third “Pocket Monsters” was shaken by “Stuart” and two other local animated releases, “Ojarumaru” and “Cardcaptor Sakura,” but has ponied up a fine $7 million in nine days.

“Me, Myself & Irene” took $890,000 on 270 in Spain and $383,000 on 68 in Belgium and had OK soph sessions in Mexico, tallying $2 million thus far, and Taiwan at $1.1 million. Cume is $14 million from 17 territories.

Ang Lee’s Chinese-lingo actioner “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” appears to be drawing uspcale auds rather than truly connecting with the mainstream in Asia, resulting in fairly sharp drops in its soph sessions. Progressive scores are $1.7 million in Taiwan, $1.4 million in Hong Kong, $846,000 in Singapore and $608,000 in Malaysia.

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