With openings in 10territories blanketing much of Europe including key territories France, Italyand Spain, as well as a nationwide release in the UK following a single-weekLondon platform, The Incredibles shot to the top of the internationaltable with a stunning $44.3m gross last weekend. The film took top positions inmost territories for Buena Vista International (BVI).

Overall it was a strongweekend for animated films at the top of the chart. In Japan Hayao Miyazaki's Howl'sMoving Castle held well in its second weekend slipping just 14% and playingin third place internationally.

Meanwhile Warner Bros' ThePolar Express, which is doing great business on Imax in North America (seeseparate ScreenDaily.com story), saw openings in 11 new international territoriesincluding Germany, Japan and Mexico to steam into fourth place.

DreamWorks' Shark Tale,however, was hit hard by The Incredibles, slipping 61% week-on-week. Theanimated film should still pass the $150m international mark with the nextweek.

BVI's live action title NationalTreasure, which held the North American lead over the Thanksgiving weekend,got off to a rousing start internationally with a seven territory launchnetting $7.8m. This was led by Germany's $4.4m (Euros 3.3m) from 498,000 admissionsand Australia's $1.5m (A$1.9m), where the film took pole position in bothterritories. On the international table the Jerry Bruckheimer produced NicolasCage vehicle finished fifth, the highest new entry on the chart.

Cage's action titles usuallyplay marginally better internationally than in North America. His firstcollaboration with Bruckheimer, The Rock, grossed $201m frominternational markets representing 60% of worldwide grosses. A year later ConAir, also with Bruckheimer, took $122.9m (55% of the worldwide take). Alsoreleased in 1997 Face/Off may not have been with Bruckheimer but grossed$133.4m internationally, also 55% of worldwide grosses. In 2000 Cage re-teamedwith Bruckheimer for the third time on Gone In 60 Seconds which grossed$135.6m outside North America, 57% of worldwide grosses.

North American results mayhave proven disappointing but Oliver Stone's Alexander got off to astrong international start grossing $7.5m led by Russia's $3.7m gross on 345screens through Paradise and Taiwan's $1.1m on 110 through Fox. The film maynot have finished on top in all territories but proved a palpable hit inScandinavia through Nordisk Film taking pole positions in Sweden, Denmark andFinland.

French police thriller 36,Quai Des Orfevres got off to a superb start for Gaumont Sony Pictures Filmsin France with a $3.75m weekend at 549 screens. The film, which stars GerardDepardieu and Daniel Auteuil, beat Jean-Pierre Jeunet's A Very LongEngagement which had held the lead for four weeks in France butunfortunately opened against Pixar's The Incredibles so had to settlefor second place.

UIP's Bridget Jones: TheEdge Of Reason continued to match strong holdovers with new launches (thisweek led by Russia's $0.7m from 68 screens). Amongst the notables this weekwere New Zealand and the Netherlands where it held the top spot against newrelease competition from BVI's National Treasure and The Incredibles,respectively. In the Netherlands Bridget's third weekend finished over $100,000ahead of The Incredibles launch despite playing on 84 fewer screens.