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Jessica Simpson Rules the Box Office – in Ukraine

02/20/2008 at 06:50 PM EST

Jessica Simpson Rules the Box Office – in Ukraine
NEILL J. SCHUTZER/RAMEY
Is Jessica Simpson the David Hasselhoff of Ukraine?

The blond starlet seems to be the toast of the Eastern European nation. Her latest film, Blonde Ambition, hit No. 1 in Ukraine, grossing $253,008 for the weekend of Feb. 14-17, Box Office Mojo reports.

It's a huge reversal of fortune for the film, which bombed back home. In December, Blonde Ambition had a run in eight Texas theaters, grossing just $1,771 in its opening weekend.

How to explain the comedy's success abroad? One word: escapism.

"The former Soviet nations have a sweet tooth for straight-up comedies," Conor Bresnan, editor in chief of Box Office Mojo International, tells PEOPLE. "When these comedies have big name celebrities like Jessica Simpson's, that's all that's needed to sell the movie. Russian and Ukrainian audiences have an even bigger urge for escapism than Americans. So, films like Blonde Ambition will gross more than No Country for Old Men.

And this may only be the beginning for Blonde Ambition. Next stop: Bulgaria.

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