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A slew of U.S. and national crowd-pleasers maintained the fall B.O.'s momentum in Europe last week, but while Australian exhibs were celebrating "The Sixth Sense's" explosive launch, they said they're staring at a fairly bleak release sked until December.
French bookers were enthralled over the "Star Wars" prequel, which snared $2.5 million on a massive 793 screens Oct. 13, an all-time opening-day record in the territory, beating last February's "Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar." "Phanton Menace's' foreign score soared to $413.2 million through Oct. 14 after minting $10.8 million in 27 countries. The cume was just $10.4 million shy of the film's domestic tally and will probably surpass that mark by Oct. 18, powered by holdovers and debuts in France, Belgium, Greece, India, Egypt and Morocco. Europe alone has generated $200 million and Japan has anted up $105.7 million.
Gallic exhibs were relieved after a slow week ending Oct. 12, with ticket sales in Paris off 26% vs. the corresponding week last year, despite a respectable bow by Jim Jarmusch's critically admired "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai," and a solid soph session by "Rosetta," the Belgian drama that won the Palme D'Or at Cannes. "La Debandade," Claude Berri's comedy about an impotent guy who turns to Viagra, was far from a turn-on for auds.
"American Pie" notched UIP's third-best opening of the year in the U.K. behind "The Mummy" and "Star Trek: Insurrection," its six-day figure 29% better than "Antz" and double that of "In & Out." The coarse comedy has been a hot item in Spain ($3.8 million in four weeks) and Australia and fairly warm in Sweden, Taiwan and Israel; cume is about $22 million.
British bookers were not surprised that "Runaway Bride" came in second behind "Pie," noting the Julia Roberts-Richard Gere starrer appeals to mature femmes who don't rush to opening weekends. Garry Marshall's pic reigned in Spain with $3.9 million in six days on 223, the territory's seventh-highest debut ever and a BVI record, beating "Ransom." "Bride" slipped by just 18% after a monster launch in Germany, and its cume from 23 markets hit $57.5 million after a $19.3 million frame.
"The Sixth Sense" posted the seventh-highest opening week ever in Australia, a BVI high eclipsing "Armageddon" by 40%; and collected a spirited $1.1 million on 61 in Argentina, 30% below "Armageddon." The Bruce Willis starrer abated by a mere 18% in South Korea, holding pole position for the fourth straight weekend, tallying a formidable $4.7 million. Early in its foreign campaign, the cume is $19.3 million.
One Aussie booker is hoping for a long, lucrative run from "Sense" as he says there will be few new entries to sustain the biz until "The World is Not Enough" launches Nov. 25. Emma-Kate Croghan's romantic comedy "Strange Planet" …