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‘World’ beater at Czech B.O.

WWII epic betters 'Titanic' bow

PRAGUE — “Dark Blue World” cast a golden glow on the Czech box office in its opening weekend. The film, by Oscar winner Jan Sverak (“Kolya”), broke previous opening weekend records with nearly 89,000 admissions and $200,000. With a minimum 1 million total admissions projected, it pushes local arthouse distrib Cinemart into competition with the U.S. majors here.

“Everyone expected it to do well,” says rival distributor Ales Danielis of Bonton, “but the results were even better than we thought. The marketing and publicity campaign is the biggest we can remember.”

“Dark Blue World” did more than twice the opening weekend B.O. of “Titanic,” according to producer Eric Abraham, who says he has already sold the film in 16 territories and is in negotiations over U.S. rights.

Locally, both critics and audiences were in agreement over the merits of the WWII romantic drama about Czech pilots serving in England’s Royal Air Force. “It’s the Central European equivalent of ‘Pearl Harbor,’ ” Abraham says.

The film’s success adds to an already strong year for local films at the Czech B.O.; in the first quarter, eight of the top 20 releases were Czech films.