Clint Eastwood recorded the biggest opening day of his career in Italy as the war film launched through Warner Bros Pictures International on $1.6m (€1.34m) from 425 screens.
American Sniper, which stars Bradley Cooper as the late Navy SEAL ace Chris Kyle, ranked number two behind a local comedy.
The film’s international roll-out is staggered over the coming weeks and will open in the UK on January 16, France on February 18, Spain on February 20, Japan on February 21, Australia on February 22, Germany on February 26.
The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies added $11.7m on January 1 to boost the international running total to $457.8m.
Peter Jackson’s fantasy finale opened top in Argentina on $300,00 from 143 and added $1.3m from 603 in Australia for $15.7m, $1.3m in the UK for $52.3m and $1m in Germany for $62.6m.
France has generated $39.2m, Russia $26.3m, South Korea $20.1m, Brazil $16.9m Spain $15.1m, Mexico and Italy on $15m apiece and Japan $9.6m. Five Armies opens in China on January 23.