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Frodo’s pals are minting foreign gold

'King' rules B.O. in 38 o'seas territories; 'Nemo' floats

Barrelling through its third orbit overseas, “The Lord of the Rings” finale amassed an estimated $53 million last weekend, propelling its foreign cume to $385 million and lifting its worldwide take to $676 million.

“The Return of the King” is tracking 28% ahead of “The Two Towers” at the same point in their foreign adventures, according to New Line Intl. prez Camela Galano.

A clear No. 1 in 38 markets, with Italy and Japan on the horizon, “King” is a sure bet to eventually dethrone its predecessor’s $581 million total.

Providing further punch to a lively frame, “Finding Nemo” added an estimated $22 million to its bulging coffers. “Cold Mountain” drew plenty of Nicole Kidman’s admirers Down Under; “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” was shipshape in France and Thailand; and “Cheaper by the Dozen” was a hoot in Mexico.

Peter Jackson-helmed epic minted approximately $10.5 million in the U.K., spurring local total to $72 million. Germany chipped in with roughly $8.4 million, upping its haul to $64 million; France banked $4.3 million, cuming $39 million; and Spain’s $4.4 million weekend boosted the market tally to $30 million.

Through its soph session in Oz, New Line’s blockbuster has pocketed a socko $19 million. Other stellar scores include South Korea’s $23 million, Sweden’s $14.7 million and Denmark’s $10.5 million.

‘Nemo’ swims on

“Nemo” cruised to an estimated $440 million, overtaking “Spider-Man’s” $418 million to rank as the 11th biggest pic of all time overseas. Still the champ in Japan, Disney/Pixar toon netted $4.7 million in its fifth outing, elevating cume to $55.7 million.

Resilient holdover biz in the U.K. and Germany saw “Love Actually” woo an estimated $7.3 million, pushing the cume in UIP’s territories to $126 million. Add to that France’s so-so $6 million and Russia’s $1.5 million. With $54.1 million in the till in the U.K., it’s surpassed “Notting Hill” to become producer Working Title’s second most successful pic ever on home turf behind “Bridget Jones’s Diary.”

“Cold Mountain” fetched $1.4 million on 171 locations in Oz, on par with “Chicago.” Miramax pic expanded from 135 to 180 prints in its second turn in Blighty, earning $1.4 million, to bring the market’s B.0. to a solid $2.3 million.

Riding the waves

“Master and Commander” captured an estimated $2.6 million from 361 playdates in France, 25% ahead of “The Bourne Identity” and an admirable opening considering the French are the villains of the piece. Peter Weir’s seafaring saga drummed up $401,000 on 96 screens in Thailand and $293,000 on 50 in New Zealand. Its estimated cume hit $71.6 million, including Italy’s $10 million.

Fox’s laffer “Cheaper by the Dozen” rustled up $1.6 million on 308 in kid-friendly Mexico, its first major market.

“Peter Pan” is performing pretty well thus far without reaching great heights, conjuring up $8.5 million in 10 days in the U.K. (up 23%) and $4.1 million in 19 days in Oz (off 16%). P.J. Hogan-directed fantasy charmed Malaysia to the tune of $325,000 on 27, including sneaks, 20% bigger than “Stuart Little.”

Julia Roberts’ presence ensured reasonable debuts for “Mona Lisa Smile” in Singapore ($225,000 on 27) and Taiwan ($175,000 on 16). Pic eased by 25% in Mexico, where it has pocketed a dandy $2.1 million in 10 days.

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