The latest Jet Li martial arts thriller Kiss Of The Dragon high-kicked its way into the French charts this week. Released by Europa Distribution, the film, which also stars Bridget Fonda and Tcheky Karyo, achieved 506,000 admissions in its first seven days from 612 screens. Dethroning last week's top spot winner Scary Movie 2, Dragon faces hot competition over the next week from monster hit Jurassic Park III. Boasting Luc Besson as both a writer and producer, France was the first international territory to receive the film on August 1. Dragon has taken a domestic gross of $34.7m so far and remains in the top 15 after 5 weeks. The film fared less well in Switzerland where it opened at number 10, one day after France. However playing on just 11 screens, the actioner's $45,102 scored a strong screen average of $4,100.
In Australia audiences flocked to Brit hit Bridget Jones's Diary. Bridget, which has already taken nearly $59m in the UK alone and more than $150m worldwide, claimed the top spot with $2.8m (A$5.4m) from 323 screens. With a massive screen average of $8,629 Bridget beat out computer animated film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within which took $1.4m (A$2.7m) from 203 screens for second place.
Final Fantasy has taken just $31.5m in four weeks in the US but looks hopeful to perform better in the international marketplace. As well as Australia the ground-breaking animation also saw a massive opening in the UK where it opened last weekend on just one screen, London's Odeon Leicester Square, with $62,209 (£43,546), before opening wide across the country this Friday. Columbia TriStar, which has recently been enjoyinh success with its international release of Ivan Reitman's Evolution, another poor performer domestically, has also recorded at $742,000 from 13 screens in nine-days in Seoul and $864,685 in Hong Kong. The film reaches most other territories this month.
20th Century Fox found cause to celebrate over the weekend as their European debut of Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge danced off with the box office in Russia. Released on August 2 the musical scored a massive one-day take of $46,791 (Rbls 1.37m) from just 18 prints, an opening day record for a Fox film in the territory. Over the four-day weekend the film, which stars Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, continued to live up to its opening day promise grossing $320,997 (Rbls 9.4m) from an expanded 46 prints, a screen average of $6,978. This gives Moulin Rouge Fox's biggest weekend ever in Russia and the third of all time after The Mummy Returns ($545,000) and Pearl Harbor ($422,000). The next European territory to receive the picture is the UK on September 7. Other major European territory openings include Italy on September 28, France on October 3 and Germany on October 18.
While most of the charts are still ruled by Jurassic Park III, which opened in The Netherlands this week with a seven-day gross of $885,406 from 83 screens, and the other summer blockbusters, more territories are providing local hits to answer them. Japan, Hong Kong and Seoul are all showing strong contenders holding number one positions. In Hong Kong a timely edition of extra footage to Shaolin Soccer drew back audiences in the week that 20th Century Fox's Planet Of The Apes opened. Seoul witnessed A Wild Beauty hold the top spot against Apes, but only thanks to more screens. Apes took a resounding $16,740 screen average over the two-day weekend, higher than Beauty's $14,980. In Japan Spirited Away continued apace in its third week.
As well as Kiss Of The Dragon in France, Germany continued to see success with local success story Der Schuh Des Manitu, which has grossed $16.4m in three weeks. Spain is also putting up competition with three Spanish films amongst the top ten: Gente Pez, Bosque Animado and Tuno Negro.