‘Blonde,’ ‘Rouge’ rake ’em in o’seas bows

Foreign B.O. strong with female programming

Blondes and redheads shared the fun and B.O. spoils over the weekend as “Legally Blonde” went to the top of the class in Australia and “Moulin Rouge” had full-throated debuts in Spain and three Scandi markets.

Also generating heat was “American Pie,” which wowed the U.K. and retained pole position in its third stanza in Germany.

Capitalizing on heaps of publicity for its Aussie director Robert Luketic, “Legally Blonde” launched in Oz (its first offshore territory) with an estimated $1.2 million in four days on 266 screens. That was the second-biggest October bow ever in that market, behind “The Sixth Sense,” according to Fox, which is releasing the MGM pic overseas. Adding in the prior weekend’s previews, the Reese Witherspoon starrer has picked up $2 million.

Fox made sure males were not neglected by counterprogramming the Jet Li vehicle “Kiss of the Dragon,” which ponied up a muscular $650,000 on 148.

Kicking up its heels in Spain, “Moulin Rouge” rang up an estimated $1.5 million in three days on 227, with previews, trailing the sixth outing of that other Nicole Kidman starrer, “The Others.” Baz Luhrmann’s tuner scored a hearty $410,000 on 40 in Sweden, including sneaks, four times greater than the helmer’s “Romeo + Juliet,” double that of “Shakespeare in Love” and 41% ahead of “What Lies Beneath.”

The Kidman/Ewan McGregor headliner nabbed roughly $137,000 on 30 in Denmark, $131,000 on 22 in Finland and $110,000 on 48 in South Africa.

After an impressive opening, the musical abated by 40% in France, pocketing $1.1 million over the weekend to bring its 12-day market total to a handy $2.5 million. Fox believes the pic in France is conforming to a pattern experienced elsewhere: It holds extremely well in the big cities while dwindling in the smaller towns.

Another factor: “Moulin” faced spirited competition over the weekend from “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” which took home $850,000 last Wednesday for the ninth-best opening day in the Gallic territory this year.

The “American Pie” sequel made merry in Blighty, earning $5.6 million Friday-Saturday from 415 locations. On Sunday, UIP was projecting a three-day haul of around $7.5 million, which would be 150% better than the original and “There’s Something About Mary,” and comfortably ahead of “Shrek” and “Jurassic Park III.”

The laffer pocketed an estimated $2.5 million on 805 prints in Germany, easily beating “American Sweethearts,” which initialed with a reasonably good $1.3 million in three days on 606.

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