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European B.O. sizzles as heatwave abates

'T3' rises in Asia, Oz, Russia; 'Lara Croft' scores o'seas

“The folks who haven’t gone off on holiday and are still in town obviously have better things to do than go to the movies,” griped one German exhib last week, summing up the sleepy summer season in his territory.

There was a similar refrain in Spain as one booker noted audiences are complaining that films are “repetitive” and the exodus to vacation spots has begun. The mood wasn’t as gloomy in other parts of Europe, helped by milder weather after the recent heat wave, except Italy, where about half the nation’s screens have shuttered until mid-August.

“Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” is scoring strongly in Asia, Australia and Russia but its initial forays in other Euro territories have not been exceptional. Sci-fier commanded $20.1 million from 3,285 engagements in 29 markets July 25-27, and the estimated cume through July 29 flew to $92 million. Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle notched the sixth-biggest preem ever in South Korea, the third-highest in India and the fourth best in Indonesia. It bowed solidly in Mexico but below “Bruce Almighty’s” opening the prior weekend in a family-oriented market. Its entry in Denmark was the industry’s 11th best but it wasn’t as impressive in Holland, Switzerland and Portugal, although No. 1 in all. Pic held moderately well after its monster preem in Oz and in its third outing in Japan, although trailing the meteoric soph session of local cop action/comedy “Bayside Shakedown 2.”

Kicking off in Southeast Asia, “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life” showed more spunk than at home. Sequel set Paramount opening records in the Philippines and Malaysia, a non-holiday weekend high for the studio in Singapore, and the industry’s biggest debut this year in Thailand. All were bigger than the first “Tomb Raider” except Singapore, where the original launched on a public holiday.

“Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” has eclipsed its domestic result, raking in $128.3 million in 48 markets. McG-helmed caper fell sharply after a brawny bow in France but experienced marginal drops in its third in Germany and its fourth in Blighty.

“Bruce Almighty” has exceeded exhibs’ expectations, ascending to an estimated $155 million in 29 territories. After overtaking “Batman Forever,” it’s the second-highest Jim Carrey earner overseas and it’ll zoom past “The Mask’s” $204 million after it opens in Japan and France. Spyglass laffer delivered yet another career best for Carrey in Norway, and, testimony to its playability, was No. 1 in Spain and second in Blighty in its fifth chapters.

Winding its tour in France, “Johnny English” grabbed Rowan Atkinson’s sizable army of fans; cume topped $120 million. The caper’s parody of British-French rivalry amused the Gauls as did John Malkovich’s French accent.

“Legally Blonde 2: Red White and Blonde” reigned in depressed Germany and Austria and was so-so in Mexico, Switzerland and Taiwan. The predecessor made just $45.2 million overseas, so it’s unrealistic to expect the follow-up to open big.

“Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas” is travelling better abroad than in the U.S., whistling up $23.3 million in 21 territories. DreamWorks toon drew a fair number of tykes in the U.K. and Germany and was quite buoyant in its soph sessions in Mexico and Spain and in its third voyages in France and South Korea.

Aussie comedy “Bad Eggs” fell flat on home turf despite a hefty campaign from Roadshow and tireless promo efforts by the talent, some of whom were hoping to replicate their success in “Crackerjack.” “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” opened smartly in Oz, limited to 43 screens, one of its more robust starts in a foreign campaign that has yielded just $12 million in 28 markets. The George Clooney-helmed pic undoubtedly took auds away from “A Mighty Wind,” marking a low-key offshore preem for the folk music mockumentary.

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