With Friday andthe weekend still to come, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King has already broken a slew ofinternational opening day records as the New Line International title grossedan estimated $23.5m in its first day in 17 territories and $34.1m in the US.

All in all thefinal episode of Peter Jackson's fantasy trilogy set new records in 15territories, including $5.2m from 1,299 screens in the UK, $5m from 1,337 inGermany and $1.7m from 512 in Spain.

Non-record bowsincluded $3m from 974 in France and $881,179 from 550 in Mexico.

The film was dueto roll out in a further seven territories on Dec 18 and four more on Dec 19.

"To break openingday records is always a surprise but I think we passed out expectations here,"Rolf Mittweg, New Line Cinema's president and chief operating officer ofworldwide distribution and marketing, told Screen. "We are extremely pleasedwith the result.

"We started thiswith a 26-minute trailer at Cannes in 2001 and unfortunately it is all comingto an end now. We have lived with this for a few years and it has been anamazing journey."

The Return OfThe King opening day:

UK: $5.2m from1,299 screens - biggest opening day

GERMANY: $5mfrom 1,337 - biggest opening day

SPAIN: $1.7mfrom 512 - biggest opening day

NORWAY: $1.1mfrom 105 - biggest opening day

SWEDEN: $1.4mfrom 169 - biggest opening day

SWITZERLAND:$600,504 from 126 - biggest opening day

DENMARK: $1.2mfrom 120 - biggest opening day

CHILE: $161,316from 59 - biggest opening day

AUSTRIA:$799,446 from 157 - biggest opening day

HOLLAND:$627,914 from 188 - biggest opening day

GREECE: $364,898from 77 - biggest opening day

PUERTO RICO:$138,802 from 61 - biggest opening day

FINLAND:$364,898 from 68 - biggest opening day

BELGIUM:$422,402 from 112 - biggest Wednesday

SOUTH AFRICA:$293,917 on 92 - biggest Wednesday

FRANCE: $3m from974

PORTUGAL:$139,823 from 107

MEXICO: $881,179from 550

PERU: $137,338from 98.

Some figures may includepreliminary figures from Dec 18 releases.