Kingdom of Heaven, last week's big day-and-dateopener and international box office leader, held on to its position thisweekend with moderate drop-offs in many territories and a solid opening inJapan. The results owed something, however, to the scarcity of competition inthe last weekend before Star Wars: Episode III invades the globalmarketplace.

According to distributor Fox International, Kingdomgrossed an estimated $27.5m from around 6,700 screens in 98 territories overthe weekend, down 40% from the film's first weekend final tally of $45.9m. Withrough estimates from France and Italy (where the film is being handled by otherdistributors) added in, the weekend total was $31.4m, down 42% from lastweekend's $53.8m.

Opening in Japan, its only remaining major territory, Kingdomgrossed an estimated $2.4m from 492 screens over Saturday and Sunday. TheRidley Scott Crusades epic was kept out of top place in the country by local hit Negotiator, but, according to Fox, the debut compared reasonably well with somesimilar US films: it was more than 20% bigger than the Japanese openings of Alexanderand Gladiator (though those films opened on almost half as many screens)and 11% bigger than King Arthur's. However, it was less than half as bigas the first weekend of Troy, which opened on 417 Japanese screens.

Kingdom remained number one in most Latin Americanmarkets and in some of its major territories elsewhere. It dropped just 3% inKorea (with an estimated $1.5m from 289 screens, for a $6.4m running total); 28%in Brazil (with $1m from 466 for a $3.1m total); 30% in Mexico ($1.5m from 602and $5.3m in total); 32% in Australia ($1.4m from 361 for a $4.1m total); 33%in Spain ($3.3m from 435 for a $9.5m total); and 40% in the UK ($2.9m from 446for a $9.9m total).

In the soft German market the film fell 45% to $3.4m from 848 screens (running total $11.3m) but still kept top spot. And in Russia, it dropped 57% to $1.1m from 341 screens (running total $4.9m).

(Fox did not have estimates for the opening of Flight ofthe Phoenix in France or of I Heart Huckabees in Germany.)

The only studio-distributed film making its internationaldebut this weekend was action thriller Unleashed, acquired for a numberof territories by Universal's Focus Features from producing partnersEuropaCorp, TF1 Films and Canal Plus. UIP opened the film, which stars Jet Li,Morgan Freeman and Bob Hoskins, in Germany on the same day as Focus' RoguePictures launched it in the US. The result was an estimated gross of $1.1m from341 dates, good enough for the number two position in the German chart.

Among other international holdovers, Sony Pictures ReleasingInternational's XXX2: The Next Level grossed an estimated $3.5m from3,650 screens in 64 markets (including markets where the film was licensed byproducer Revolution Studios). That was down 57% from last week's estimated$8.1m.

In its third week on the international circuit, XXX2dropped by only 27% in Australia (to $325,000 from 212 screens for a runningtotal of $2.1m) and 35% in Spain (to $305,000 from 315 for a $2.5m total). Butit dived 51% in the UK (to $515,000 from 355 screens, $4.6m total) and 67% inGermany (to $340,000 from 594, $3.1m total).

Buena Vista International's (BVI) The Hitchhiker's Guideto the Galaxy held up impressively after four weeks on internationalrelease. It was down only 20% in New Zealand, 31% in Australia, and 37% in theUK. With the gross from the film's opening in Israel added in, theinternational weekend estimate was $3.1m, for a cumulative international totalof $22m.

BVI's The Pacifier continued its strong internationalrun, grossing an estimated $3.3m to reach a total of $54m. The film, which hasyet to be launched in a number of territories, including the UK, opened with anestimated $260,000 from 150 screens in Brazil. In Mexico, it held on to numbertwo spot in its fourth week with an estimated $700,000, bringing the total forthe territory to $6.8m.

Also in Mexico, BVI launched Beacon Pictures' romanticcomedy A Lot Like Love this weekend and grossed an estimated $230,000.With most territories still to open, the film, starring Ashton Kutcher andAmanda Peet, has an international running total of $1.1m.

(Figures were not available for BVI's launch of IcePrincess in Spain.)

Universal's The Interpreter was another holdover withstrong legs. Released by UIP, it grossed an estimated $3m from 1,950 dates in30 territories over the weekend, pushing its international total to $54.5m.

In Mexico, The Interpreter fell off just 18% in itsfourth weekend (for an estimated $263,000 from 188 dates and a $2.6m total); inSpain it was down only 23% in its fifth (for $370,000 from 193 dates and a$6.3m total); in Australia the drop was 26% in the fourth weekend (to $300,000from 178 dates and a $4.9m total); in Brazil the gross was down 32% (to$102,000 from 111 dates and a $1.5m total); and in the UK takings were off 37%in the fifth week (to $600,000 from 300 dates and a $12.4m total).

The drop was bigger in Germany, where the film fell 48% inits fourth week (with $852,000 from 378 dates for a $7.3m total).

The Interpreter is also having an excellent run inChina, said Universal, having grossed $3m in four weeks, 50% more than both TheBourne Identity and its sequel.

UIP also opened Paramount's Coach Carter in Korea, grossing $113,362 from 26 locations (and bringing the film's running international total to $4.8m); Universal's Friday Night Lights in Japan and the UK, grossing a combined $76,081 from 62 locations (for a running international total of $506,700); and Universal/UPI's Taegukgi - Brotherhood in France, grossing $136,826 from 108 locations (running total $10.1m).

Warner Bros International's House of Wax opened in India after making its international debut last week in Taiwan and Singapore. The film took an estimated $766,080 from 133 screens in the three territories.

Meanwhile, Warner's Constantine added an estimated $906,800 from 31 territories to bring its international gross to date to $151.3m, and Miss Congeniality 2 added an estimated $489,040 from 48 territories, for a total to date of $49.8m.