Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time ruled the international box office this weekend with an estimated gross of $59m. And Sex and the City 2 made a strong international start with big openings in the UK and Germany.

Prince of Persia took its weekend haul from 47 markets, ranking top in 41 of them, said distributor Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International (WDSMPI). The $59m take pushed the fantasy adventure’s running international total to $87.5m, 39% ahead of National Treasure in the same group of markets and time frame, 1% behind Iron Man and 24% behind Clash of the Titans.

(On Monday WDSMPI revised Prince’s weekend total to $61m, for a total to date of $89.5m. The increase was caused by an opening in India that was $2m bigger than originally projected. The film’s $16.8m start in the territory turned out to be Disney’s biggest ever in the market and, the company said, the biggest for a Western production this year. Disney also projected a Monday international gross of $6m, pushing Prince’s international total to $95.5m.)

The performance took Disney past $1bn in aggregate international grosses for the year, the earliest the company - which has now passed that mark for an industry-record 16 consecutive years - has ever achieved the feat.

Prince of Persia opened in Russia with an estimated $9.7m, topping the opening of Iron Man 2 by more than 30%, said WDSMPI, and almost doubling the opening take of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

In China, Prince opened with $8.1m, the second biggest opening (after Alice in Wonderland) Disney has ever had in the territory.

Prince opened top in France with $5.5m, beating the openings of 300 and Troy by almost 10%, according to WDSMPI, and that of Prince Caspian by nearly 20%.

The film’s chart-topping $4.3m opening in Korea almost matched the debut of Alice in Wonderland and beat the openings of 300 and Troy by 15%.

Mexico produced a chart-dominating $3.7m opening, 20% ahead of Troy but 25% behind Prince Caspian, which was a major hit in the country.

Australia produced a number one opening of $2.9m, matching the start in that market, said Disney, of The Mummy 3.

Prince was down only 20% in its second weekend in Germany, taking $2.3m for a total to date in the country of $7m. And it was up 9% in its second weekend in the UK, taking $2.2m for a territory total of $5.6m.

Sex and the City 2 started its international rollout with an estimated $27.6m (representing 3.7m admissions) from 3,700 screens in 17 countries, the strong start contrasting with the film’s weaker than expected North American opening this weekend.

The romantic comedy sequel dominated the UK marketplace, taking an impressive $9.2m from 529 situations, estimated distributor Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI). That was 24% more than the opening take in the market for the original Sex and the City.

The sequel had the biggest opening of the year in Germany, grossing an estimated $7.3m (with preview grosses included) from 982 screens, 23% ahead of the original film.

The opening in Italy produced an estimated $2.4m from 499 screens, 4% ahead of the original.

Doubling the original’s take, Sex 2 opened in Sweden with an estimated $1.5m (including preview grosses) from 124 screens. The $1.4m (including previews) take from 123 screens in Holland was 42% up on the original while the $981,000 (160,000 admissions) from 202 screens in Brazil was on a par with the first film.

Sex 2 expands again next weekend, opening in markets including France, Australia, Russia, Spain and Mexico.

Shrek Forever After had another very strong weekend, grossing an estimated $18.5m from 1,685 locations across 15 territories, according to distributor Paramount/PPI. With openings in most key markets still to come the DreamWorks Animation offering has already grossed $53.5m internationally.

The 3D animated comedy opened in six smaller markets, including Turkey, where it topped the chart with $853,000 from 215 locations. That was a better start than the three previous Shrek films, said Paramount/PPI, a 53% bigger opening than Madagascar 2 and a 59% bigger debut than Alice in Wonderland.

Shrek held on to top spot for a second weekend in Russia, grossing $12.2m from 700 locations, down 37%. The territory total to date of $38.5m is the biggest ever for a Dreamworks Animation title.

It also held up well in Asia, falling off only 31% in Taiwan, 24% in Singapore, 32% in Malaysia and 20% in Thailand.

Universal/UPI’s Robin Hood, last weekend’s top international performer, grossed an estimated $17.6m from 7,095 dates in 56 holdover territories, for an international total so far of $154.6m.

The period action adventure was up 12% in the UK with an estimated $2.2m from 486 dates, for a 17-day total in the territory of $17m. It held at number three in Germany, declining 34% to $1.1m from 676 dates, for an 18-day total of $11m. In Australia it held at number two with $2.1m from 268 dates, for an 18-day total of $12.6m.

In France Robin stayed at number two with $1.6m, off 41%, from 600 dates, for a 19-day total of $13m. And in Spain it was number three with $1.2m, off 40%, from 494 dates, for a 17-day total of $9.2m.

Iron Man 2 grossed an estimated $6.8m internationally, of which $6.5m was generated in 7,848 locations across the 61 territories where Paramount is distributing. The action sequel has now amassed $281.5m internationally, with Paramount territories contributing $273 million.

The film’s biggest market was China, where the fourth-weekend take was $1.2m from 3,000 locations, for a local total of $23.9m.

WDSMPI’s Alice in Wonderland delivered another $4.8m over the weekend, pushing its international total to $672.9M and its global tally to $1.005bn, the fifth biggest global take of all time, said Disney.

Paramount/PPI’s How to Train Your Dragon grossed an estimated $4.7m from 4,319 locations across 62 locations, for an international total of $243 million.

In its second weekend in Korea, the DreamWorks Animation film grossed $2.6m from 582 locations, for a local total of $10.7mn.

Warner’s Clash of Titans took an estimated $3.8m (representing 561,000 admissions) from approximately 4,000 screens in 49 markets, for an international total to date of $320.3m.

The 3D fantasy was top for a second weekend in Brazil, grossing $2.7m (401,000 admissions) from 439, for a territory total of $8.6m.

Warner’s A Nightmare on Elm Street grossed an estimated $3.9m (680,000 admissions) from approximately 2,550 screens in 40 markets, for an international total of $34.1m.

Sony Pictures Releasing International (SPRI) reported a $1.2m opening from 297 screens in Spain for Legion, and a weekend total of $1.4m from 480 screens in 16 markets. The horror film has now accumulated $24.5m internationally.

The Back-Up Plan grossed an estimated $2.6m from 1,280 screens in 32 SPRI markets and $2.9m for the weekend overall.

The romantic action comedy was down a modest 26% over its second weekend in Australia, taking $835,000 from 205 screens, and down 35% over its second weekend in France, with $895,000 from 279.

The film’s international total is now $25.8m, with $23.1m coming from SPRI markets.

Fox International’s The Tooth Fairy opened in the UK with $1.3m from 402 locations, for an international total of $48.5m.

The studio’s Indian film My Name is Khan opened in France with $94,000 from 16 screens and in Spain with $56,000 from 47.

Date Night earned another $1m from 1,052 screens in 32 markets, said Fox, bringing its international total to $52.8m. And Avatar added $500,000 from 278 screens in 15 markets, for an international total of $1.985bn.

Universal/UPI reported estimated takes of $700,000 from 400 dates in 14 territories for Green Zone (for an international total of $59.4m) and $600,000 from 1,000 dates in 25 territories for Nanny McPhee And The Big Bang (international total $55.4m).

Heartbreaker (L’arnacoeur), UPI’s co-production with Quad, grossed an estimated $220,000 from 220 dates in France for a local total of $26.9m.