By MICHAELA BOLAND
“The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” passed $400 million internationally and registered Italy’s biggest opening weekend ever while rapper Eminem found his voice with stellar debuts for “8 Mile” in the U.K., Oz, Mexico and smaller territories. The Italian preem for “Two Towers” returned $9.1 million in four days in an otherwise soft market where the Warners co-produced local comedy “Ma che colpe abbiamo noi” is the only other fresh title.
Helmer Curtis Hanson’s fictionalized biopic of Eminem took $15.5 million in 14 territories.
Down Under distrib UIP might have underestimated the twin forces of Eminem and summer holidays stretching into week five. Pic released on just 217 screens, half the number that launched “Harry Potter” and “Two Towers” and 60 screens fewer than last week’s chart topper “Catch Me if You Can.” As a result “8 Mile” returned a hefty $14,000 screen average to hit $2.9 million in four days. Other frame leaders “Two Towers” (in lap four) and “Catch Me” (in lap two) dropped 40% and 44%, respectively.
In Blighty, Eminem’s bigscreen debut returned $6.2 million in three days ($7 million including limited sneaks) to register Universal’s sixth biggest opening weekend there, ahead of studiomates “Gladiator” and “Jurassic Park II.” Miramax’s “Chicago” also made a splash, expanding to 276 screens after three weeks of sneaks; total B.O. is now $3.83 million.
In Germany and Austria “8 Mile” dropped 30% in lap two against a stellar debut of “Star Trek: Nemesis,” which took about $3.2 million from 742 in fours days in Germany and $280,000 from 63 in three days in Austria. Pic, in its third week in Blighty, has nabbed $10 million.
Miramax’s “The Quiet American” wowed auds Down Under in its second international outing after preeming in Blighty in November. Auds in helmer Phillip Noyce’s homeland spent about $476,000 at 61 locations in four days, a firm $7625 screen average.