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‘Bruce’ shows juice; ‘2 Fast’ wins race

B.O. receipts drop in U.K., France, Spain

“Bruce Almighty” was a heaven-sent gift for exhibs and auds in German-speaking territories while “2 Fast 2 Furious” fueled takings in Mexico and yet another local pic triumphed in South Korea last week. But biz idled in most other markets, zapped by a heatwave in Europe and under-achievers such as “Anger Management” in Italy and “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd” in the U.K.

It was the worst week for ticket sales in France since June 2001 and the lowest weekend of the year in Spain. The U.K. B.O. dropped by 31% (tracking 64% below the corresponding frame in 2002 when “Spider-Man” launched), and receipts in Italy and Oz slid by 32%.

“Bruce Almighty” is fast restoring Jim Carrey’s cachet abroad after several duds, having opened as a strong No. 1 in 13 territories thus far. The Spyglass/BVI comedy notched career-bests for Carrey in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Israel, and it easily retained top spot in its second lap in Brazil and in its third in Italy. Cume is $29.3 million.

Universal/UIP’s “2 Fast” is on track to eclipse the $62.6 million foreign B.O. of “The Fast and the Furious.” The John Singleton-helmed sequel doubled the original’s debuts in Mexico ($2.3 million in five days) and Brazil ($715,000 in four days) and it was three times bigger in Taiwan and 70% ahead in New Zealand. Despite a steep drop in its soph session in Oz, actioner raced past the first pic’s $5.2 million lifetime total.

“The Matrix Reloaded” amassed an estimated $22.6 million from 7,642 screens in 63 countries June 13-15, and the cume through June 17 flew to $354.2 million. After racking up $30 million in its first week in Japan (an industry high), Wachowski brothers’ epic eased by just 15%, capturing a socko $42.2 million in 11 days.

“Finding Nemo” cruised through its second sojourns in South Korea (although well behind horror pic “A Tale of Two Sisters”) and Singapore (still No. 1) and its third in Malaysia (also No. 1).

“Anger Management” was labeled a “disaster” by one Italo exhib, despite a hefty campaign that sensibly focused more on Jack Nicholson than on the far less well known Adam Sandler. Sony/Revolution comedy plunged in its second rounds in the U.K., Spain and Mexico; estimated cume is $40 million in 35 markets, way below domestic’s $133.8 million, with Japan, Brazil, Sweden and Belgium ahead.

Blighty exhibs and crix castigated “Dumb and Dumberer” despite a hefty P&A spend by distrib Entertainment. New Line’s laffer couldn’t even beat Sony’s modestly budgeted thriller “Identity,” which posted handy numbers in its first major market.

“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” didn’t win many admirers in France or Spain. The romantic comedy was panned by Gallic critics (“a bad sitcom, spread out over two hours,” sniffed one) and co-star Kate Hudson’s low profile didn’t help. “Guy” hasn’t been embraced in Southeast Asia but it’s been a crowd pleaser in the U.K., Germany and Oz; cume is $53.5 million, with Japan the only remaining major territory.

“The Recruit” checked into the No. 3 spot in France, where Al Pacino has a sizable following but Colin Farrell isn’t a marquee name, below its top-ranked entries (albeit during soft trading) in most other markets. Thriller has grossed $40.7 million, and with only Japan ahead, is unlikely to match domestic’s $52.8 million. “The Mystery of the Yellow Room,” an old-fashioned, Gallic locked-room mystery based on a Gaston Leroux novel, saw the healthiest screen average in France.

“Bulletproof Monk” opened more robustly in Oz and Spain than its puny $23 million U.S. result might have portended, after OK runs in Taiwan, Southeast Asia and the U.K. “We thought ‘Monk’s’ numbers were quite respectable, we were impressed by Hoyts’ campaign and we felt it would nudge out (fellow frosh) ‘The Core’ as a result,” said one Aussie booker.

(Sheri Jennings in Rome, Liza Klaussmann in Paris, John Hopewell in Madrid, Archie Thomas in London and Ed Meza in Berlin contributed to this report.)

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