Sony's comic book adaptation Ghost Rider rode straight to the head of the international pack this weekend with an estimated gross of $15.5m from 24 territories. But Universal's British comedy Hot Fuzz made the biggest single-territory mark, opening with an impressive $11.6m in the UK.

Ghost Rider, produced by Columbia Pictures, Crystal Sky Pictures and Marvel Studios, with Sony Pictures Releasing International (SPRI) distributing, opened day-and-date with its chart-topping domestic launch on around 1,870 screens in a handful of major markets and a number of smaller territories. With Nicolas Cage starring for writer-director Mark Steven Johnson, the action-horror outing ranked number one in at least 21 of its markets.

According to preliminary SPRI figures, the biggest grosses came from Russia, with an estimated $3.4m; Spain, with $3m; Mexico, with $2m; Australia, with $1.9m; and Taiwan, with $1.5m.

In second place on the box office chart, Fox International's Night At The Museum held up well with an estimated $13.8m from 5,000 screens in 46 markets, bringing the comedy blockbuster's international total to $250m.

The film opened in China, taking $1m from 600 screens; Hong Kong, grossing a strong $1.6m from 46 screens; Belgium, with $900,000 from 85 screens; and Holland, with $544,000 from 100 screens.

Among holdover territories, Germany produced $336,000 from 528 screens, only 26% down in the film's eighth week, for a running total of $22.1m.

In the UK - where the film is still running mostly on independent screens because of a DVD window protest by major exhibitors - the gross was about $100,000, for a territory total of $40.5m.

The film's second-weekend French gross dropped by only 22% to $3.5m from 676 screens, for an $8.8m total.

Hot Fuzz made its global debut in its home territory through Universal Pictures International (UPI). Directed by Edgar Wright for Working Title Films, the cop spoof had its first screenings on Wednesday, to tie in with Valentine's Day. With the Wednesday and Thursday previews included, the film grossed $11.6m (£6m) from 422 locations for the weekend.

According to UPI, that was the fourth biggest UK opening weekend ever for a British film (the biggest being the £10.4m grossed by Universal/Working Title's 2004 sequel Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason). It was Universal's fifth biggest UK opening weekend ever, and Working Title's third.

Blood Diamond, from Warner Bros Pictures International (WBIP), grossed an estimated $8.6m (with approximately 1.3m admissions) from more than 3,500 prints in 59 markets. The action-drama held up well over its second weekend in Spain, its third in France and its fourth in the UK, bringing its international total to $78.1m.

The international total for SPRI's The Pursuit of Happyness crossed the century mark and reached $104m thanks to a an estimated weekend take of $7.7m from 2,900 screens in 50 territories. A preliminary report from SPRI had the Will Smith drama opening at number one in South Africa and holding onto top spot for a third weekend in Brazil.

WBPI's Music & Lyrics grossed an estimated $6.8m this weekend, with approximately 908,000 admissions from more than 1,000 prints in eight markets (including estimated results for non-WBPI markets). That brought the international total to $14.2m.

The romantic comedy opened on Valentine's Day in Australia and grossed $2.4m from 275 prints for the Wednesday-Sunday period. Its three-day weekend figure of $1.8m ranked it second in the territory.

In Taiwan it opened with $388,000 from 62 prints, also good enough for second place.

In the UK, it dropped only 17% in its second weekend to $3.1m, for a market total of $10.5m. The film's international total now stands at $14.2m.

Charlotte's Web, from Paramount Pictures International (PPI), also held on well in the UK, grossing $3.9m (up 4%) from 492 locations, for a territory total of $12.3m. Overall, the children's film took an estimated $6m from 2,075 locations across 45 territories, bringing its international total to $44m.

Fox International's Rocky Balboa took another $4.9m this weekend, from 2,300 screens in 29 markets, for a $65m total. The sequel opened with $752,000 from 203 screens in Korea, becoming the market's top non-local title.

PPI's Dreamgirls opened in Japan, Brazil and eight smaller markets and grossed an estimated $3.7m from 1,331 screens across 26 territories, bringing its international total to $19.2m.

In Japan, the musical is expected to top the chart with $1.7m from 288 locations. In Brazil, it grossed $127,000 from 51 screens.

Fox International's Epic Movie grossed $2.5m from 700 screens for an international total of $14.1m. And the studio's Notes on a Scandal took $2.4m from 450 screens in 10 markets, for an $8.8m total. The drama opened third in Australia with $1.1m from 100 screens.

UPI's The Holiday grossed $2m at 950 locations in 35 territories and raised its international total to $124.3m. The romantic comedy has yet to open in four territories, including Japan.

UPI's The Good Shepherd, winner of the Berlin Film Festival's Silver Bear, started its international run with a gross of $1.8m from 396 locations in four territories. The spy drama opened in Germany with $750,000 from 134 dates and in Australia with $800,000 from 175 dates.

Fox International's The Last King of Scotland arrived in two new countries and grossed $1.8m from 600 screens in 36 markets, for a $12.8m international total to date. France produced $579,000 from 103 screens and Italy $174,000 from 50.

PPI's Norbit, the Eddie Murphy comedy that topped the US box office chart last weekend, made a good start to its international run with Chinese New Year openings in Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore. Taiwan produced an estimated $157,000 from 44 locations, for second place in the top ten.

Also in the international marketplace this weekend, PPI's Babel took another $1.3m, for a $34.6m total; Lionsgate's Saw III brought in $1.1m from 29 territories, for a $74.7m total; and UPI's Smokin' Aces grossed $500,000 from 400 dates in 10 territories, for an $11.8m total.