In its third week Warner Bros.’ Inception leapfrogged Disney’s Toy Story 3 to claim the top spot overseas.

Christopher Nolan’s thriller took $54.6m from 6824 screens in 51 territories. The film scored a screen average of $8,008 and has now grossed $174m internationally.

The surge in box office was largely a result of 15 new openings. The highlights were a strong debut in Germany ($6.9m from 567 screens) and impressive holdover performances in Australia ($5.5m from 628 screens), UK ($5.1m from 459 screens), South Korea ($5.1m from 564 screens at an average of $22,717) and France ($4.9m from 628 screens).

Inception opens in Brazil and Spain this weekend.

Disney tentpole Toy Story 3 relinquished first place but is still blazing a trail. The film remained top in Spain and Italy, taking $3.6m and $839,103 respectively.

The impressive family-comedy is the second most successful overseas release of 2010 and, while still some $230m off top 2010 opener Alice In Wonderland’s overseas total of $690.1m, is now the 35th all time international performer.

Salt delivered an impressive weekend through Sony Pictures Releasing International, adding $24.5m from 2,850 screens in 26 territories to raise its tally to $32.8m after less than two weeks. Salt debuted at number one in Russia and South Korea, taking $5.3m from 7,466 screens and $5.6m respectively. The film’s screen average of $8,594 was the highest in the top ten international films. The action-drama opened in Belgium yesterday, will hit Netherlands and Singapore today and Mexico tomorrow.

Huayi Bros.’ Aftershock continued to perform well in only 5 territories, taking $16.4m from 2299 screens for $60m. Feng Xiaogang’s disaster drama is the only non-US film in the top 12 international performers.

The week’s highest new entry was Balaji Telefilm’s Once Upon A time in Mumbai, which took $6.6m from 923 screens in 11 territories. Ajay Devgan and Emraan Hashmi star in Milan Luthria’s crime-drama about two gangsters whose paths converge in Bombay’s criminal underworld.

With no openers in the top 12 international performances, screen averages were low last week. The only film to make it above $10,000 per print was Toho’s Karigurashi No Arrietty, which continued to do good business in Japan, taking $6.3m on 447 screens for a print average of $14,193 and a cumulative total of $46m.

Warner Bros’ Cats and Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore entered the chart in 18th position after taking $2.7m from 4 territories. The 3D share of the box office was 74% from 61% of the screens. The family-comedy opens in UK this week (the original Cats & Dogs film grossed $35.7m in three months at the UK box office in 2001) and rolls out throughout August.