DreamWorks' animated family title Madagascar was the number one international titleover the weekend as it grossed an estimated $31m through UIP, beatingParamount's War Of The Worlds by a whisker.

The picture opened in six territories and currently stands at$143m from more than 5,100 sites in 40 territories so far.

The chief highlight was the UK, where Madagascar defied the heatwave to open on $9.7m includingpreviews in 506 venues.

In Germany the picture opened on $8.2m in 831 theatres, whileAustria opened top on $1.1m in 114 theatres, Taiwan generated $1.4m in 80, andHong Kong produced $1m in 49 for a contested number one spot with FoxInternational's Fantastic Four.

In holdovers, Australia ranked fifth and added $800,000 in 258 for$18.4m, and New Zealand returned to the top in its fourth weekend on $475,000in 64 for a $2.7m running total. France added $1.9m in 795 for $16.2m.

The picture added $760,000 in 307 in its fourth weekend for secondplace and $8.6m, and $410,000 in its fifth weekend in Mexico for $17.1m.

War Of The Worlds added $30m through UIP from approximately 6,000 venues for a$256.5m international running total.

France added $4.8m for $17m,the UK added $4.3m for $40m, and Japan added $3.5m for $34m.

In its first international openings, Universal's Land OfThe Dead opened throughUIP in second place in Italy on $400,000 in 165 venues, and in sixth place inMexico on $140,000 in 75.

The zombie horror picture will roll out during the remainder ofthe summer, and goes out in Brazil next weekend.

The Interpreter is still active in 15 territories and has grossed $73.5m throughUIP and $79m including France. It opens in Russia next weekend.

Fox International's Fantastic Four maintained its impressive early run,adding $20.1m on 4,228 screens for a $44.7m international running total.

The Marvel Comics adaptation opened number one in a string ofterritories, led by Spain on $4.3m on 427 screens, and Russia on $1.1m on 306.

The picture grossed $1m on 57 in Hong Kong for a contested numberone spot with UIP's Madagascar. This was Fox's ninth biggest opening day and its thirdbiggest non-holiday opening day ever.

It opened on $561,000 on 83 in Malaysia for Fox's fourthbiggest opening weekend, and grossed $368,000 on 70 in Venezuela for thedistributor's biggest ever opening weekend and the industry's secondbiggest ever behind War Of The Worlds. Sweden produced $510,000 on 82 screens.

Strong second weekend holdovers accounted for much of the weekendtotal, as Fantastic Four stayed top in many places. It added $3.5m in Mexico on 929 for$13m, $1.6m in Australia on 303 for $5.7m, and $1.1m in Brazil on 382 for$4.2m.

It added $450,000 in both Thailand and the Philippines for $1.8mand $1.5m respectively.

Star Wars: Episode III maintained its sensational pace in its second weekend inJapan, adding $7m on 750 screens and falling only 26% for a $31.1m cumulativetotal. Fox's biggest ever second weekend powered the picture to more than$408m internationally.

In its second weekend in China, Mr And Mrs Smith stayed top on $1.1m on 450 for $4.6m andhas taken $125.4m through all of Fox International's territories.

Warner Bros Pictures International's Charlie And TheChocolate Factory battledEurope-wide heatwaves as it opened in a handful of territories in its firstinternational weekend.

The picture went out in France on $3.8m on 670 screens and wasexpected to rank number one in Paris where 52 screens produced 138,351 admissions.

Belgium produced $247,396 and the French-speaking parts ofSwitzerland generated $189,060 and rewarded Warner Bros Pictures Internationalwith a number one ranking. The picture is scheduled to open in Brazil and SouthAfrica next weekend, among others.

Batman Begins added $5.6m with 966,200 admissions from 4,900 screens in 93 territories for a $142.9m international cumulative total. Key drivers were two Scandinavian number one debuts in Norway and Finland that produced $604,256 including previewson 73 and $262,400 including previews on 45 respectively. House Of Wax stands at $30.8m.

New Line International launched The Wedding Crashers in four territories, where the highlight was a UK debut of $3.8m on 580 screens.

Germany produced $644,607 on 364, Austria opened on $170,245 on 52, and the German-speaking regions of Switzerland produced $89,378 on 47. Overall the comedy grossed $4.7m.

Monster In Law stands at $31.8m and Son Of The Mask has amassed $38.4m to date.

Buena Vista International (BVI) opened Herbie: Fully Loaded in fourth place in Brazil on $465,000 on158 screens, which executives said was 36% better than The Pacifier.

The picture added $1.9m for the weekend to raise the running totalto more than $9.5m from six territories. Australia added $605,000 for $6.5mafter four weekends, while Argentina stands at $700,000 after two, and New Zealandis on $560,000 after three.

Sin City openedfourth in Australia on $1.4m on 240 screens; it has grossed more than $21.2m inBVI territories.

SonyPictures Releasing International reported a very quiet weekend as it preparesthe global release of Stealth forthe weekend of Jul 29.

It opened The Adventures Of Sharkboy And Lavagirl in 3-D in third place in Mexico on $700,000, wheremonth-long school holidays offer an opportunity for consolidation.