It's all about the 80,000-lbgorilla this weekend as Universal embarks upon its biggest ever globalday-and-date release through UIP.

King Kong goes out in more than 6,500 locations in 55territories this weekend, and already grossed an estimated $8m on its openingday [Wednesday] in 4,695 theatres in 36 territories.

The dynamic start scorednumber one openings everywhere and broke various records along the way inMalaysia, the UAE, New Zealand and Singapore.

In a raft of strongnon-record first-day grosses, Universal executives reported $533,000 from 308Russian screens, $1.2m from 780 in France, and $6664,000 from 739 in Germany.

Beyond that, Peter Jackson'sthree-hour adventure remake launches in the UK on Dec 15 on 482, followed a daylater by Mexico and Italy on 450 each, Spain on 365, Brazil on 350, South Koreaon 326, and Japan on Dec 17 on 450.

Universal's head ofinternational distribution and marketing David Kosse hailed the opening dayresults as "very good news", adding that the launch generated "as much money asyou can expect to take."

However Kong will face a stern test from Buena VistaInternational's (BVI) The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And TheWardrobe and will also need to brushaside Warner Bros Pictures International's Harry Potter And The Goblet ofFire.

Narnia launched on $40m last weekend and currently standsat $52m. There are no new launches this weekend but BVI executives wereexpecting strong second weekend holds. Flightplan stands at $100.8m and Chicken Little has amassedjust under $60m so far.

Goblet Of Fire has ruled the international box office for the lastfour weekends. While its days of supremacy are over, it will continue to buildon the $427m international running total.

Fox International opensfamily drama The Family Stone in18 territories, kicking off with Russia, South Korea and Germany on Dec 15. Thepicture goes out a day later in the UK, Spain and Sweden, and opens in Taiwanon Dec 17.

Latest figures put theaction sequel Transporter 2 on$36.4m through all distributors and $20.6m through Fox International, andRussian fantasy hit Nightwatch on$31.6m through all distributors and $15.6m through Fox International.

Information from SonyPictures Releasing International was unavailable at time of writing.