UPDATE: The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug brought in $135.4m — some $4m higher than initial weekend estimates — from Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI) and select MGM markets as the global haul reached $209m on opening weekend.

The Warner Bros, New Line and MGM fantasy epic ranked number one everywhere according to WBPI executives, who added that the film exceeded by 3% the opening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey from the same markets in 2012.

3D represented 63% of the international tally from 16,405 screens in 49 markets, while IMAX contributed $5m to the international gross to produce the large screen format’s biggest opening weekend for a December release on 124 screens. The global IMAX haul stands at $14.3m.

Germany led the way on $19m from 1,400 screens to exceed the four-day launch of Journey by 20% excluding previews. The film claimed 64% market share of the top five and produced the biggest launch of the year-to-date, qualifying for a Bogey Award, a singular German honour, for drawing more than 1,000 admissions per site.

In the UK the film claimed 61% share of the top five and took $15.3m from 1,107 screens, on a par with the Friday-to-Sunday performance of its predecessor.

Smaug grossed approximately $15.6m across Scandinavia, where MGM licensed rights to AB Svensk Filmindustri. Sweden delivered the lion’s share on a confirmed $6.5m from 431 that finished 3% ahead of Journey.

The film grossed $14.9m in France from 909 screens to outpace the original by 16% and took $7.3m in South Korea from 924.

Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, India, Indonesia and Thailand combined for $13.2m to exceed the comparable opening of Journey in the same bucket of markets by 18%.

Smaug delivered the biggest weekend of the year-to-date in Spain on $7m from 859 screens for 60% share of the top five. The result was 85% of that of Journey.

The film arrived in Italy on $5.2m from 680 and scored more than double the opening of local title Un Fantastico Via Vai.

Brazil delivered $5.2m from 1,009 for 70% share of the top five to surpass the original by 23%, while Italy delivered $5.2m from 680. Holland generated the biggest debut of 2013 on an estimated $3m from 220 including previews, roughly on a par with the original.

Mexico produced $6m from 2,640 for 72% top five share and exceeded Journey’s debut by 9%. In director Peter Jackson’s native New Zealand, Smaug settled in on $1.9m over four days from 251, roughly 10% ahead of Journey’s record-breaking four-day debut in 2012.

While the territory count of 49 is seven shy of the 56-strong global launch of Journey in 2012, this is by design. Veronika Kwan-Vandenberg and her distribution team have moved the Japanese date to February 28 to take advantage of the traditional late February corridor that served the studio so well on The Lord Of The Rings.

Smaug is scheduled to open in Russia on December 18, Australia on December 26. Several Latin American markets have been shifted one week closer to the December 25 holiday. The exact Chinese release date is yet to be set.

Gravity opened at number two in Japan on $3.6m (¥373.3m) from 544 behind Lupin III. Overall the space survival tale brought in $8.7m from 40 markets to reach $390.1m internationally. China remains the top market on $66.9m, followed by France on $47.1m and the UK on $41.1m.

  • Disney’s animation Frozen brought in a further $31.5m through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International as the early tally climbed to $101.6m in what is shaping up to be a prosperous run through the holiday season. Marvel Studios’ Thor: The Dark World added $1.3m for $421.8m.
  • UPDATE: The Hunger Games Catching Fire brought in a further $20.9m through Lionsgate licensees in 83 markets as the running total climbed to $374m. Japan is the last market to debut on December 27. The UK ranks top on $46.6m, then Germany on $34.4m and Australia on $29.8m, China on $23.6m and Russia on $23.6m. The adventure tale has amassed $12m in Italy and India through Universal Pictures International (UPI).
  • The Andy Lau police action film Firestorm, which opened ScreenSingapore recently, added $15m to climb to $21m. Hong Kong’s Edko Films handled international sales.
  • UPDATE: Sony Pictures Releasing International executives reported that Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 grossed $3.7m from 29 markets to reach $107.8m. The family sequel added $1.5m in the second weekend in Australia for $4m and ranks number three. It opened top in Venezuela, which has delivered some mighty results in 2013, on $786,342 from 100 to deliver more in three days than the entire tally of the original.

Captain Phillips crossed $100m as $3.2m from 64 resulted in $101.8m. Carrie added $2.6m from 33 for $39.2m, rising to $42.7m including MGM markets.

  • UPDATE: 47 Ronin moved into its second weekend in Japan to rank number four on $485,000 from 331 sites for a 10-day total of $2.8m through UPI. Despicable Me 2 stands at $551m and About Time  $54.5m.

All Is Lost, which UPI handles in 35 territories, opened in France, Switzerland and the Czech Republic this weekend and took $435,000 from 216. The running total including South Korea is $526,000. Last Vegas, which UPI distributes in 13 territories, has taken $7.8m so far. Argentinian smash Foosball stands at $18.8m from four territries in Latin American and Spain.

  • Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa has reached $41.4m through Paramount Pictures International following a $1.2m weekend haul from 26 territories. Next weekend PPI launches Anchorman 2 in the UK, Australia and Sweden.