Sweeping into 97 territories day-and-date with its NorthAmerican launch, Kingdom of Heaven produced an impressive $56m estimated grossthis weekend, putting it firmly at the top of the international chart andslightly exceeding the expectations that distributor Fox International had forthe historical epic with obvious global potential.

The big budget Ridley Scott adventure, with Orlando Bloomstarring as a 12th century Crusader, knocked rivals - namely XXX:The Next Level and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- off the top chartspot in nearly every market. The only other international opener was WarnerBros Pictures International/Village Roadshow's House of Wax, which was launchedin two Asian territories and grossed an estimated $1.1m.

Fox International reported the $56m Kingdom figure formarkets including France and Italy, where the US major is not distributing. Forits own territories, Fox put the film's total at $47.5m from 6,562 screens.

Kingdom's biggest takes included an estimated $7.1m(including previews) from 842 screens in Germany, $5m from 435 screens inSpain, $4.8m from 443 screens in the UK and $4m (including previews) from 333screens in Korea. The film opens in Japan, its only remaining major territory,next week.

Other notable performances came in Mexico ($2.8m, includingpreviews, from 540 screens); Russia ($2.2m, including previews, from 363screens); Brazil ($1.5m from 483 screens, the biggest opening of the year sofar in the territory); and Greece ($1.4m from 91 screens).

Comparing Kingdom with other historical spectacles, the UKopening, for example, was twice as big as that for Alexander though smallerthan that for Scott's own Gladiator.

Kingdom's launch helped cause a 46% drop in the weekendgross of last week's (less wide) day-and-date global release, Sony PicturesReleasing International's XXX: The Next Level. The action sequel grossed anestimated $8.1m from 4,615 screens in 64 territories, bringing itsinternational cumulative total to $30.2m.

The film's drop-offs were fairly modest in Germany (down 13%to $1m from 595 for fourth place); the UK (down 28% to $1.25m from 482 screensfor third place); and France (down 33% to $900,000). But XXX 2 was hit harderin Australia (down 51% to $455,000 from 240 screens); Spain (down 56% to$475,000); and Korea (down 61% to $530,000).

Buena Vista International's (BVI) The Hitchhiker's Guide tothe Galaxy held on relatively well in the three territories where it openedlast week, grossing an estimated total of $5m (for a cumulative total of$18.1m) and coming in second to Kingdom in each country. In the UK, Hitchhiker'sfell 32% to gross an estimated $3.6m; in Australia it was down 42% to $1.2m;and in New Zealand it lost 45% for $200,000. BVI is hoping the film's rolloutin other territories next month will benefit from the attachment of trailers toanother big sci-fi property, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.

BVI's surprisingly strong international performer, ThePacifier, grossed an estimated $4m from 2,400 screens in 27 territories (for acumulative total of $48m). The family comedy was robust in Mexico and Germany,where it increased its take by 32% to $951,000 from 525 locations.

Universal's The Interpreter, released through UIP, also maintained itsinternational legs, dropping off just 23% for a $5.4m estimated gross from2,177 dates in 31 countries. The cumulative international total now stands at$48.2m with 19 territories, including Japan, still to launch.

The film was another beneficiary of a national holiday and abreak from warm weather in Germany: it was up 48% to an estimated $1.7m from385 dates, good enough to claim second place behind Kingdom and bring its totalfor the territory to $6.1m after 18 days. The thriller also held on to secondplace in Spain (dropping 33% to $544,000, for a total of $5.8m after 24 days)and only dropped by 27% in the UK (to $1m from 360 dates, for an $11.4m totalafter 24 days).

The Interpreter also held well in Mexico (off just 29% with$340,000 at 187 dates) and Australia (off 33% in its fourth weekend with$394,000 from 199 dates). It took its biggest hit in Brazil, where it was off53% to an estimated $155,000 at 118 dates.

The initial international openings for House of Wax, DarkCastle's remake of the Vincent Price horror classic with Paris Hilton starring,were in Taiwan (an estimated $836,700 from 80 screens) and Singapore ($248,900from 28 prints). The Taiwan result is the best opening for a horror film in theterritory so far this year and Wax took second place in bothcountries.

Well into its overseas run, Warner Bros' Constantine grossedan estimated $1.5m, bringing itsinternational total to an impressive $149.1m. And the studio's MissCongeniality 2 grossed an estimated $998,700, pushing its international total to $48.9m.

Sahara, released by Paramount through UIP in selected territories, grossed an additional $1.1m from 774 locations in five countries, bringing its international total to $19.3m.

Beyond its Kingdom of Heaven results, meanwhile, Foxreported that animated family film Robots had reached $105.9 internationally,with Japan still to open. The studio's Hide and Seek edged up to $67.5minternationally, Be Cool reached $36m, and Guess Who went to $10.5m.