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mainly gossip about Bruce Willis

Willis wows U.K., French audiences

Posted by Janett on July 8, 2007

LONDON — The Brits and the French agree on one thing: Bruce Willis still has what it takes.

The high-octane “Die Hard” action franchise might have been dormant for 12 years but Euro auds are embracing the return of reluctant hero John McClane in the fourth installment with open arms.

In the U.K., “Live Free or Die Hard” — known locally as “Die Hard 4.0” — goes into the weekend on a real high having banked $1.9 million in previews on Wednesday and $1.3 million Thursday. Bookers attribute the boffo previews to its wide appeal. Unlike “Rocky Balboa,” “Die Hard” is playing as well with female auds as with its core aud of red-blooded males, according to exhibs.

Fox is looking for an opening frame including the previews of $11 million.

Reviews have been roundly positive for the muscular actioner. “It’s utterly ridiculous and, I’m afraid, pretty enjoyable,” wrote Anthony Quinn in the Independent. “A more than acceptable bit of crash-bang summer escapism,” said Tim Robey in the Daily Telegraph.

Other U.K. releases are generating little buzz.

Persistently rainy weather, or “good cinemagoing weather” as Brit bookers prefer to call it, has been boosting box office for the past few weeks but sunnier weather is forecast for this weekend.

A weekend of high-profile sports events including the U.K. leg of the Tour de France, the closing matches of Wimbledon and the British Grand Prix Formula One race will likely eat into U.K. B.O. grosses.

The latest “Die Hard” is also proving a big hit across the English Channel where Gallic auds are traditionally sweet on Willis.

The actioner took $1.7 million at 749 on its opening day helped by positive reviews. “The quintessence of an American action film … Willis is at the summit of his droll anti-hero persona,” hyperventilated Paris Match.

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