Scare tactics work at o’seas wickets

'Grudge' grabs auds; France, Germany go for local fare

In some intriguing shootouts over the weekend, “The Grudge” terrorized “Bad Santa” in the U.K., “Hero” skewered “The Forgotten” in Australia and “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” outperformed “Shall We Dance” in Spain.

Meanwhile, local heroes “A Very Long Engagement” and “Seven Dwarfs” ruled in their soph sessions in France and Germany, respectively.

Based on Sunday projections, it was a close race between “Shark Tale” and “Shall We Dance” for weekend pole position.

DreamWorks’ fish tale hauled in an estimated $11.3 million in 31 territories, propelling cume to $130 million. Toon grabbed approximately $700,000 in Singapore, including previews (sans sneaks, 25% bigger than the first “Shrek’s” bow) and $260,000 in Malaysia — No. 1 in both.

“Shall We Dance” drummed up $11 million-plus in 10 markets, driven by Germany’s $2.3 million (10% bigger than “As Good as It Gets”), Spain’s $1.8 million (on par with the opening of “Something’s Gotta Give”), Austria’s $450,000 and Hong Kong’s $210,000; no figure was available for its preem in France.

Remake of the poignant Japanese pic was No. 1 again in its second turn in Italy, ringing up an estimated $3 million, and dropped by a minuscule 15% in its third in Oz, where it’s wooed an impressive $5.3 million.

‘Grudge’ match wins

After tepid preems in Southeast Asia, “The Grudge” came out fighting in Blighty, grabbing around $4.1 million, including sneaks. Belatedly beginning its offshore journey, “Bad Santa” (a Sony acquisition in a bunch of major Euro markets) picked up a miserly $840,000 on 277 in the U.K.

“Hero” captured $1.7 million on just 163 screens in Australia, comparable to the entry of “Kill Bill Vol. 1,” boosting its estimated cume to $116 million, with Brazil and Mexico ahead.

“The Forgotten” drew a mild $1 million on 205 in Oz and a top-ranked $700,000 on 145 in Brazil. Thriller has grossed $11.5 million in 18 territories, mostly small fry.

The “Resident Evil” sequel devoured $2.5 million in Spain (40% up on the original) and $1.6 million in Italy (65% to the good). Zombie pic has racked up $61.7 million, eclipsing domestic’s $51 million.

Coming off a massive debut, helmer Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s WWI romance “A Very Long Engagement” commanded a projected $5.8 million in France, down 40%, bringing the market cume to $18.9 million.

Teutonic spoof “Seven Dwarfs” whistled up $10 million in Germany, slipping just 12% and repping a 41% market share, raising cume to a stellar $25.7 million. Laffer has yocked up $3.1 million after 10 days in Austria and $1 million in 11 in German-speaking Switzerland.

‘Predator’ stalks B.O.

“Alien vs. Predator” snatched a beefy $3.9 million on 561 in Germany, $606,000 in Belgium, $445,000 in Austria and $376,000 in Sweden. Fox’s creature feature plummeted by 66% in France, where it’s banked $5.4 million in 12 days; international cume is $52 million.

“DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story” didn’t bounce in Italy, generating $602,000 on 176. Cume is $49 million, with Japan ahead.

“Collateral” snared an estimated $2 million in its second assignment in Japan (abating by a reasonable 35%), driving the territory total to $9.5 million and the overseas cume to $95 million.

“The Village” conjured up $1.9 million in its second outing in Italy, sliding by 39%, scoring $7.5 million so far, hoisting its cume to $138.1 million.

Johnny Depp starrer “Finding Neverland” uncovered $1.1 million in its soph sesh in the U.K., easing by 30%, earning a pleasing $3.4 million to date.

Woody Allen’s “Melinda and Melinda” mustered $765,000 in its second in Spain, off 21%, advancing to a spry $2.3 million.

“The Bourne Supremacy” ascended to $93.4 million, surpassing “Bourne Identity’s” $92.4 million, and has plenty of upside as it’s slated to open in Japan in February.

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