Buena Vista International (BVI) has two major openings thisweekend, with the adventure picture Master And Commander: The Far Side OfThe World going out wide in Japan on Feb 28and Scary Movie 3 opening wide aday earlier in Germany.

Japan is a notoriously difficult market to predict. However,a strong bow seems assured given the film-going population's fondness forRussell Crowe.

When A Beautiful Mindopened there in March 2002 it ranked third on $1.8m - a credible bowconsidering it had to contend with the unbeatable top two of MonstersInc and The Lord Of The Rings:The Fellowship Of The Ring, which werestill dominant in their fifth weeks.

Scary Movie 3,meanwhile, looks good to replicate the success of Scary Movie 2, which opened in Germany on $5m in November 2001.

Cold Mountain hasseveral small markets at the weekend and executives will be looking to build onthe picture's $34.5m running total (BVI markets only).

Once Upon A Mexicoopened in Australia on Feb 26. In other updated running totals BrotherBear is on $80.4m and The HauntedMansion is on $44.2m.

Universal will open the romantic comedy Along Came Polly through UIP in the UK on Feb 27 on 370 prints, alarge opening that should boost the picture's $8.2m international runningtotal.

A good result is expected bearing in mind the popularity ofstars Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston and UK audiences' passion forromantic comedies. Maid In Manhattanopened top there on $3.9m in March 2003.

Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI)opens the drama Big Fish in Italy on Feb27 on 150 prints and in Mexico on the same day on 75. As of Feb 22 it hadgrossed $15.2m at the international box office.

The psychological thriller Gothika opened in Spain on Feb 27 on 257 prints and had taken$18.8m from all its markets as of Feb 22.

Fox International opened the drama In America in France onFeb 25 on 100 prints and opens it in Taiwan on Feb 28 on 18. The picture hastaken $8.4m from its international markets to date.

The comedy Stuck On Youopened in Korea on Feb 27 on 70 prints and has grossed $25.4m to date.

Last but by no means least, New Line Internationalexecutives will be relying on a strong third weekend in Japan and decentholdovers elsewhere to elevate The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King beyond its current $664.8m cumulative internationalgross.