Fox International’s Avatar became only the fifth release in history to cross $1bn worldwide as it held on to the overseas crown thanks to an estimated $136.8m from 13,784 screens in 109 markets. It boosted the running total to $676.9m after three weeks.

Combined with the $352.1m North American tally the film stands at $1.29bn and ranks fourth in the all-time roster behind Fox and James Cameron’s Titanic on $1.842bn, New Line’s The Lord Of The Rings: TheReturnOf The Kingon $1.119bn, and Disney’s Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest on $1.066bn. Warner Bros’ The Dark Knight in fifth stands at $1.001bn. It opens in China on January 4.

Avatar will finish next weekend in second place, although it will require an extraordinary effort to overhaul Titanic. In the international pantheon it is the fourth biggest release in history behind Titanic on $1.242bn, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King on $752m, and Fox’sIce Age 3 on $690.8m.

Fox International reported $2.45bn in overseas grosses for 2009 to set a new industry record as previously reported here.

Avatar looks set to become the first film to gross more than $100m worldwide on IMAX screens and currently stands at an industry record $66.4m after 17 days. It added a further $12.4m worldwide this weekend, $4m of which came from international screens. “This movie is like a juggernaut that doesn’t want to stop,” IMAX Filmed Entertainment’s chairman and president Greg Foster said, “and it’s great to be a part of it.”

Territory highlights – which include the all-time highest gross for a release in Russia – are as follows:

  • France– $22.4m from 1,118 for $85.6m (confirmed).
    Second highest grossing US film ever behind Titanic
  • Germany– $11.2m from 1,143 for $56.1m (confirmed).
  • Spain– $9.9m for $46.9m (confirmed)
    Fourth highest release; set to become second highest behind Titanic this week
  • UK– $9.3m following 49% drop for $53m
  • Australia– $8.81m following 10% climb for $44.3m.
    Highest third weekend
    Fox’s second highest film behind Titanic
    Fourth highest industry release behind Titanic, Shrek 3 and The Lord Of The Rings 3
  • Russia– $8.5m for $55m.
    Highest industry release      
  • South Korea – $5.4m for $44.7m.
    Second highest Hollywood release behindTransformers 2
  • Japan has generated $36.2m
  • Mexico– $4.7m for $23.6m.
    Fox’s third highest release behind Ice Age 2 and Ice Age 3
  • Brazil– $4.5m for $21.3m.
    Highest third weekend
  • Hong Kong – $2.6m for $10.4m
  • India– $2.2m for $14.5m
  • Taiwan– $1.97m for $14.1m.
    Highest third weekend
    Fox’s second highest release behind Titanic
    Industry’s fifth highest release behind Titanic, Transformers 2, Cape No.7 and Jurassic Park.

Avatar scored Fox’s highest launch for a non-family film in Argentina on $1.36m from 232 and launched on $302,872 in Uruguay from 14. Elsewhere it has amassed: $9.6m in Holland; $6.5m in Austria; $6.9m in Belgium; $8.6m in Denmark; $8.9m in Sweden; $7.4m in Switzerland; $5.8m in Thailand; $5.6m in Norway; and $5.5m in Singapore, where it is Fox’s highest release and the industry’s third highest behind Transformers 2 and Spider-Man 3.

In further results, Avatar grossed: $4.7m in Malaysia, where it ranks as the fifth highest release; $4.17m in Chile, where it is Fox and the industry’s third highest release behind Ice Age 3 and Titanic; $4.663m in Colombia, where it is Fox and the industry’s third highest release behind Ice Age 3 and The Passion OfThe Christ;$4.1m in Venezuela, where it is Fox’s highest release; $4.48m in New Zealand; and $654,000 in Vietnam, where it is the highest Hollywood release of that country’s young film-going history.

Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel earned $31.8m according to confirmed figures from 6,095 screens in 54 markets for $99.8m after two weekends and will cross $100m on Monday.

Second weekend highlights include: $3.9m in the UK from 489 sites for third place and a $20.6m running total; $3.3m in France from 545 screens for second place and $9.7m; $3m in Australia from 365 screens for third place and $11.1m; $2.9m in Spain from 357 for second place and $8.7m; $2.1m in Germany from 616 for third place and $7.9m; $2m in Mexico from 894 for third place and $6.m.

The family sequel opened in South Korea on $2m from screens to rank fourth. In more holdovers it added: $992,550 in Russia from 574 for $2.6m; $996,804 in Belgium from 93 for second place and a $3.2m running total; and $917,804 in Holland from 119 for second place and $4.8m. Fantastic Mr Fox launched in eighth place in Australia on $684,000.

  • Sherlock Holmes is closing in rapidly on $100m after it added $37.5m from 4,540 screens in 33 markets for $86.2m, according to confirmed figures from Warner Bros Pictures International

The action-adventure opened strongly in Mexico in second place behind Avatar, taking $3.3m. A string of second weekend climbs saw Sherlock Holmes stands at $19.3m in the UK, $17.6m in Italy, $11.4m in Australia, and $8.7m in South Korea.

Overall Warner Bros Pictures International releases for 2009 generated $1.87bn at the box office, led by HarryPotter And The Half-Blood Prince as previously reported on $623m. The biggest local language titles were Zweiohrkueken (Germany) on $39m, Coco Avant Chanel (France) on $33m, Summer Wars (Japan) on $17.3m, Chandni Chowk To China (India) on $13.5m, and Broken Embraces (Spain) on $13m.

  • Universal/UPI launched Black Lightning, the latest Russian production from Timur Bekmambetov, in Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania this weekend on an estimated $9.7m from 800 venues.

It opened in Russia in second place behind Avatar on $8.9m including $1.5m in previews from 698 for Universal’s fourth biggest launch behind The Mummy 3 on $13.3m, Wanted on $10.7m and Fast & Furious on $8.3m.

It’s Complicated added $5m from 1,053 sites in 13 territories for an early $13.8m international running total.  The film held strong in fifth place in France where $1.6m from 367 sites raised the tally after 12 days to $3.9m. Spain generated a further $1.5m from 318 for $4.3m after the same amount of time. There are 50 territories still to open over the next few months.

Couples Retreat added $1.5m from 600 venues in 32 territories for $52.9m and there are 11 territories still to release. 9 opened in Spain on $475,000 from 202 sites and Universal’s total from releases in seven territories stands at $7.1m. There are still Germany and Italy to go on February 25 and April 16, respectively. PublicEnemies has taken $7m in Japan after 23 days and internationally stands at $116.2m.

  • Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International’s releases grossed $1.7bn in 2009, marking the 15th consecutive year that it has crossed $1bn. The biggest overseas title for the company was Upon $418.6m in 2009 calendar year.

This weekend The Princess And The Frog added $9.5m from 2929 screens in 17 territories for a promising early $45m tally. The animation added $2.9m in Italy from 500 for $12.9m after three weekends and grossed $2.1m in Russia. It opened in Australia on $1m from 250 and added $531,000 from 625 in Mexico for $5.1m after one month.

A Christmas Carol added $3.5m from 2,952 screens in 42 territories for $181m, grossing $2.2m in Italy for $24.6m and $500,000 in its second weekend in Greece.

Old Dogs raised its tally by $3m from 1,264 in 20 territories for $25m, taking a further $1.6m in Australia from 294 for $4m. Upclimbed 22% in its fifth weekend in Japan as $3.1m from 618 screens raised the running total to $41.2m and the overall international tally to $422m.

  • Hot off its biggest ever year overseas that saw ticket sales generate $2.142bn, Sony Pictures Releasing International (SPRI) enjoyed further good news as 2012 continued to play well. The disaster film will cross $600m within a week or so and added $4.9m from 3,265 screens in 72 markets for $595.2m.

Territory highlights include an extraordinary result in China, where $69.1m makes it the biggest release of all time. France generated $44.4m, Japan $38.9m, Germany $37.2m, Brazil $24.8m, Mexico $19.2m, and Australia $18.3m.

Did You Hear About The Morgans? added $3.6m from 575 in seven markets for an early $6m running total. The romantic comedy stands at $3.7m in Australia and $2.1m in the UK. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs added $2.8m from 910 in 21 for $83.6m, while Zombieland stands at $23.1m.

  • In its second weekend in Australia and New Zealand, PPI’s The Lovely Bones grossed $1.7m from 243 locations for $3.1m. The film went on wide release in Australia from January 1, screening at 180 locations and grossing $1.4m, more than double its opening total. The two-week tally stands at $2.1m. In New Zealand the film held on to third place as $329,000 from 63 locations raised the running total to $971,000.

Cell 221 (Celda 221) continued its strong run in Spain, grossing $686,000 from 201 locations in its ninth weekend of release to stand at $13.7m.

  • Summit International’s New Moon is approaching the $400m mark following a $3m weekend haul from 5,400 screens in 66 markets that raised the running total to $394.3m.