With 2003's sequel-saturated summer showing that, in some cases, sequels are not proving as successful as hoped, another staple of production schedules, the remake, is witnessing a Hollywood-style makeover.

Increasingly branded as re-imaginings rather than remakes - a phrase used extensively in the marketing of Tim Burton's 2001 Planet Of The Apes - such concepts are back again with Paramount and Herald in Japan currently enjoying success with The Italian Job.

UIP, which handles the film in most international territories, started its roll out last week in Italy where it raced straight into the top spot with $435,044 (Euros 385,014) from 236 screens over its three-day launch (July 11-13). The F. Gary Gray film had taken $557,916 as of the end of play on July 15.

The Italian Job stars Mark Whalberg (who also took the lead in Burton's Apes - which grossed $359m worldwide with an almost 50%-50% split between domestic and international gross) alongside Charlize Theron and Edward Norton.

The only other international territory to receive the film thus far has been Japan where local distributor Herald have taken a healthy $4.2m (Y490m) from 215 after four weeks and the film continues to see solid returns.

Such an international start suggests The Italian Job could become the same sleeper hit internationally that it has been in North America - where it has grossed $88.8m for Paramount after seven weeks - following strong positive reviews.

The Italian Job launches for UIP in New Zealand on Aug 14, followed by Australia on Aug 21. Further major European dates include France and Belgium (Sept 17), The UK (Sept 19) and Spain (Sept 26).

Next up on the re-imaginging list is Artisan Entertainment and Miramax Films' Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights a retelling with a new setting of the 1987 hit.