Buena Vista International had a lot to celebrate thisweekend, as Cars took over pole position at the international box officeand previous leader Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest passedthe $1bn worldwide gross milestone.
A powerful opening in Germany helped Cars gross anestimated $9m from 3,900 screens in 34 countries over the weekend, bringing thefilm's running international total to $183.3m.
Dead Man's Chest, which had been the internationalleader for nine straight weekends, took $7.7m from 5,426 locations in 47territories, pushing its international total to $592.4m. Combined with adomestic total to date of $416.6m, that gave the film a worldwide gross of justover $1bn.
Cars zoomed straight to number one in Germany,opening (against competition from a visit by the new German Pope) with $3.3mfrom 950 locations. The animated family outing also opened in Austria, with$915,000 from 125 screens, and German-speaking Switzerland, with $365,000 from80 screens.
It held on well in Italy - down 43% in week three to $1.3m -and Scandinavia, where it slipped just 23% to $2.1m. Openings in Greece andTurkey are still to come.
Dead Man's Chest was helped by another strong showingin the UK: $460,000 from 334 locations in the film's tenth weekend, for arunning total in the market of $94.7m. With a school holiday coming up soon,BVI is hoping the film will eventually top $100m in the territory.
Other good results came from France, where the film was downonly 40% in its sixth week to $1.4m (for a territory total of $48.6m); Japan,where it slid 40% to $1m (total - $81m); and Germany, where it was number threein its sixth week with $900,000 (total - $59.1m).
Universal's Miami Vice was the closest competitor forthe BVI duo, grossing $6.1m through UIP from 2,600 dates in 44 territories, fora running international total of $74m.
The crime thriller opened at number two in Spain, with $1.5mfrom 289 dates. And it opened top in Argentina, with $120,000 from 46 dates.
Vice grossed $1m from 350 dates in Japan (for anine-day territory total of $4.3m) and $1m from 420 dates in Germany (for an18-day total of $8.1m).
Monster House, from Sony Pictures ReleasingInternational (SPRI), added another $3.8m from 2,800 screens in 43 markets tobring its international total to $38.3m. The animated romp opened in SouthAfrica, with $200,000 from 40 screens, and the Philippines, with $150,000 from50.
Fox International's X-Men: The Last Stand opened inits last two major territories. The superhero sequel was the top film in Japan,with $2.5m from 569 screens, and was expected to be number one in China, with$1m from 600 screens. The openings brought Last Stand's internationaltotal to $210.9m.
Fox had another big weekend in Spain, where Alatriste(acquired by the studio for Spain and Latin America) kept top spot in itssecond weekend with $3.5m from 450 screens, for a one-territory total of$12.1m.
SPRI's Click took $3.2m from 1,175 screens in 36markets, bringing its international running total to $40.6m. The Adam Sandlercomedy opened at number one in Thailand (with $325,000 from 55 screens) and atnumber two in both Sweden ($330,000 from 56 screens) and Hong Kong ($200,000from 29). And it held onto the top spot in Brazil for a fifth straight weekend.
Another sturdy SPRI comedy, Little Man, grossed $2.3mfrom 800 screens in 24 markets, for a total of $15.6m. In the UK, the film wasoff a modest 37% in its second weekend, with $1.3m from 316 screens.
Fox International's The Sentinel opened in Korea with$644,000 from 107 screens, giving the thriller a weekend total of $3.2m from1,600 screens in 22 territories and a running international total of $28.2m.
The studio's Garfield: A Tale Of Two Kitties clawedanother $2.9m from 38 screens in 22 territories, bringing its internationaltotal to an impressive $95.2m. The comic blend of animation and live actionopened in Australia with, according to preliminary estimates, $166,000 from 56screens.
Fox's John Tucker Must Die opened in Mexico, with$201,000 from 152 screens, and Australia, with a chart-topping $824,000 from177 screens. International total to date is $8.9m.
Sundance hit Little Miss Sunshine, a Fox acquisition,made its international debut with openings in the UK, where it did $667,000from 114 screens, and France, where $583,000 from 72 screens put the adultcomedy (just awarded the Grand Prize at Deauville) at number one for Paris andits suburbs.
Universal and UIP saw You, Me And Dupree take $3.1mfrom 1,200 dates in 44 territories, for an early international total of $26m.The comedy was top in the UK for a third weekend, bringing its total for thatmarket to $11.1m.
Universal's United 93 grossed $2.2m from 850 dates in45 territories for an international total of $36.3m ($32.3m from UIPterritories). And the studio's The Break-Up took $1.2m from 1,100 datesin 35 territories, for a $72.4m total.
Other new Universal/UIP openers were The Fast And TheFurious: Tokyo Drift in Hong Kong, with an estimated $250,000 from 30dates, for an international total of $85.5m; DOA: Dead Or Alive inAustralia, New Zealand and Italy, with a weekend total of $600,000 from 265dates; and Fearless in France, with an estimated $500,000 from 134dates.
Warner Bros International's Superman Returns grossedan estimated $2.6m from 2,400 prints in30 markets,for an international total to date of $186m. It picked up $525,600 from itsopening in Greece and $1.2m from its second weekend in Italy. The actiondrama's top individual market totals include $29.5m from the UK and $15.2m fromMexico.
Warner's Lady In The Water grossed an estimated $2.5m from 1,700 prints in 36 markets. Withan international total to date of $19m, the fantasy thriller opened with anestimated $462,300 from 232 prints in Australia and an estimated $109,000 from41 prints in Holland.
The studio's Lake House grossed an estimated $1.25m from 1,200 prints in 45 markets, for a runninginternational total of $49m. The film opened with an estimated $187,000 from 17prints in Hong Kong.