New Line Cinema's The Lord Of The Rings: The TwoTowers has fully lived up to itsblockbuster expectations, reeling in $41.7m worldwide on its firstday on release.

The figure represents a staggering 45% leap above thefirst episode's $29m one-day opening gross last year.

Debuting in the US and 13 international territories - withanother 12 markets set to open by the weekend - the second leg of PeterJackson's trilogy adaptation of J R R Tolkien's fantasy trilogygrossed $26m domestically on Wednesdayand a further $16m internationally.

Theoverseas roll-out exceeded by 45% the $11m openingday international gross of The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring. In the process, The Two Towers smashed all single day records in Denmark with moreopening day records expected in a further nine territories.

In the US, the sequel outperformed its predecessor by 44% tobecome the second biggest domestic Wednesday opener of all time behind1999's Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace ($28.5m). The Fellowship took $18m on its Christmas opening lastyear.

"Seeing increases in major territories speaks to theemerging worldwide phenomenon built around this trilogy," New LineCinema's president and chief operating officer of worldwide distributionand marketing Rolf Mittweg said. "This powerful response also illustratesthe true universality of Tolkien's themes and the broad reach of[director Peter] Jackson's vision. We're astounded at thesenumbers. For a three-hour film that is central in a trilogy to open this way isenergising and tremendously exciting."

Opening day and date in its worldwide markets, The Two Towers broke all single day records in Denmarkas it grossed $831,359 on 115 screens in Denmark, up 66% against the openingbox office for The Fellowship Of The Ring last year.

Germany - $3.95m on 1,200 screens. 36% increase over Fellowship
United Kingdom - $3.93m on 1,170 screens. 28% increase.
France - $1.93m on 973 screens. 21% increase.
Spain - $1.08m on 471 screens. 40% increase
South Africa - $156,000 on 90 screens. 39% increase
Sweden - $948,337 on 151 screens. 38% increase.
Norway - $787,767 on 98 screens. 65% increase.
Finland - $238,929 on 58 screens. 38% increase.
Austria - $523,260 on 149 screens. 69% increase
Switzerland - $350,563 on 104 screens. 63% increase.
Belgium - $298,526 on 112 screens. 98% increase.
Holland - $350,040 on 150 screens. 85% increase.
Greece - $217,553 on 57 screens. 51% increase.

The picture was releasedin six more territories on Thursday - including New Zealand and SouthKorea - and a further six today (Dec 20), including Mexico.