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Room for seconds o’seas

B'busters rule but Euros embrace also-rans, too

The sure bets paid off last weekend as “Planet of the Apes” ruled in the U.K., “Cats & Dogs” captivated Mexico, “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” topped the charts in Taiwan, and “Rush Hour 2” charged into Hong Kong and Malaysia.

But some films defied expectations: “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within,” a clunker Stateside, nonetheless knocked off the soph session of “Jurassic Park III” and rookie “Cats & Dogs” in France, while “The Mexican” was outgunned by a Teutonic pic in Germany.

Launching in its first Euro market, Fox’s “Apes” remake raked in $7.7 million on 670 screens in the U.K., including Thursday night previews — the distrib’s third-highest bow there behind “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” and “Independence Day.” Tim Burton’s sci-fier saw similarly muscular entries in the Philippines ($457,000 on 109) and Finland ($233,000 on 45). The frame’s top earner, “Apes” feasted on $14 million from 2,875 engagements in 29 markets, hoisting the primates’ cume to $72.5 million. Stellar scores include Japan’s $25.1 million, Mexico’s $8.6 million and Brazil’s $4 million.

Warner/Roadshow’s “Cats & Dogs” whistled up $1.7 million on 330 in Mexico, but managed only second spot in Spain (trailing “The Mexican”), notching $631,000 on 278, and third place in France with $1.1 million on 547. Cume from 16 countries is $35.3 million, highlighted by the U.K.’s $20.6 million in 17 days, which ranks as a local Warners record in that period.

Tech titan

“A.I.” materialized in Taiwan with $1.1 million on 58, including sneaks, marking WB’s best opening of the year there. The robot saga had terrific holds in Korea (off 25% and tallying $3.5 million to date) and Mexico (down 26%, for a $3.6 million cume). From just five territories, Steven Spielberg’s fantasy has earned $79.2 million, dominated by Japan’s superb $70.6 million.

Minting $7.7 million in its fifth lap in Japan, Toho’s toon “Spirited Away” propelled its cume to $106.1 million to become the first foreign hit to cross $100 million this year (joining 12 Yank titles that have passed that milestone).

The “Rush Hour” sequel rang up $715,000 on 33 in Hong Kong, 33% better than the original’s bow, and $659,000 on 42 in Singapore. The Jackie Chan/Chris Tucker vehicle has mustered a dandy $10.7 million through its third weekend in the U.K., falling 37%.

“The Mexican” nabbed a solid $2.3 million on 552 in Germany, beaten by Western spoof “Der Schuh des Manitu,” which corralled $2.5 million in its fifth lap, bringing cume to $24.4 million. The Brad Pitt/Julia Roberts starrer reigned in Spain with $1.4 million on 303; cume topped $61 million, led by Japan’s $18.7 million.

‘Fantasy’ comes true

In France, “Final Fantasy” beamed up $2.9 million on 560, which means it’s minted more in five days there than in its entire runs in every other market including the U.K., Mexico and Australia.

Computer-animated pic’s cume is $18.2 million from 28 territories, with most of Europe ahead.

The “Jurassic Park” romp flew to $123.2 million, buoyed by a $9.5 million weekend in 24 territories. But its legs wobbled in its soph sessions in France (plunging by 45%, scoring $5.7 million thus far), Hong Kong (tumbling 57%, $2.4 million) and Belgium (off 44%, $1.3 million).

“Pearl Harbor” levitated to $219.2 million, driven partly by China’s socko $5.9 million in 16 days (easing by just 24%) and India’s $1 million in 10 days.

Morgan Freeman starrer “Along Came a Spider” stalked into Oz with $794,000 on 174, 67% ahead of the bow of predecessor “Kiss the Girls,” but had tepid receptions in Korea and New Zealand. Cume in UIP’s territories (which don’t include Italy or Japan) is $21.1 million.

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