Paramount's Mission: Impossible III stayed strongover its second weekend in the international marketplace with an estimatedgross of $40.5m, representing a relatively modest 42% drop from last weekend'simpressive $70.3m opening.

The weekend take - from the same 7,390 sites in 57territories at which the Tom Cruise sequel opened - brought M:I:III'srunning international total to $129.2m.

Distributor UIP attributed the hold to good word of mouthand more favourable cinema-going weather in Europe. But the film also benefitedfrom facing almost no new competition; the real test of its international legswill come next weekend, when Sony's The Da Vinci Code mounts a globalchallenge for audiences.

The highlights of M:I:III's second weekend includedan estimated Korean gross of $6.08m -- down only 27% -- for a running total inthe territory of $20.35m. In the UK, the gross dropped 42% to $5.03m, for atotal of $17.8m.

In France, M:I:III's gross fell 53% to $2.79m (for a$10.4m total), but in Germany the slide was only 19%, to $2.22m (and a $5.8mtotal). The take in Spain was off 48% to $1.9m ($6.3m total) and in Mexico itdeclined 40% to $1.73m ($5.92m total).

Few other films dared to enter the international marketplacein the brief window between the launches of M:I:III and The Da VinciCode.

Warner Bros Pictures International opened Poseidonday-and-date with the US in a few Asian territories and reported an estimated weekend gross of $4.4m (including about $86,000 from IMAX screens) from 1.7 admissions at 729 screens in six territories.

In Thailand, Wolfgang Petersen's disaster movie is expected to top the local chart, grossing $1.25m from 220 screens, 92% better than the opening for Petersen's The Perfect Storm and 152% ahead of Pearl Harbor.

In Singapore, Poseidon is expected to rank number one with a gross of $938,000 from 60 screens, 143% ahead of The Perfect Storm.

Ranking is expected to be number two in India, where the film grossed $793,000 from 175 screens. Malaysia produced a gross of $539,000 from 70 screens, the Philippines $589,000 from 145 screens, and Indonesia $264,000 from 69 screens.

Fox International launched Just My Luck day-and-date with the US in Singapore but no estimated gross was made available.

Sony Pictures Releasing International (SPRI) gave RevolutionStudios comedy The Benchwarmers its first international opening andgrossed $600,000 from 183 screens in Australia, good enough for number two spotin the territory.

SPRI launched When A Stranger Calls in the UK andcame in third with a gross of $840,000 from 250 screens. Overall, the filmgrossed $1.1m from 634 screens in 19 territories, for a running internationaltotal of $9.7m.

Among international holdovers competing with M:I:III,Fox International's Ice Age 2: The Meltdown was once again by far thebiggest earner. The animated comedy grossed an estimated $8.1m from 7,200locations in 61 territories, pushing its international total up to $421m.

Fox opened MGM's The Pink Panther in Japan, grossing$421,000 from 132 screens (to bring the film's international total to $75m),and The Sentinel in China, grossing $1.2m from 500 screens (for a $3.2minternational total).

Universal's Inside Man held up well in its eighthweek, sliding just 20% to gross $2.2m from 1,200 dates in 35 territories. Withsix territories (including Japan) still to open, the Spike Lee thriller,distributed by UIP, has grossed $83.8m in the international marketplace. Thefilm proved particularly resilient in Germany (off just 10% in its eighth weekfor an $80,000 weekend gross from 111 dates and a $8.4m total) and Spain (down18% to $445,000 from 236 dates for a $6.6m total).

Universal/UIP's American Dreamz grossed $275,000 from287 international dates for a $4.9m total.

Buena Vista International (BVI) reported a $2m gross from2,853 prints in 30 territories for Scary Movie 4. With an internationaltotal that has now passed $60m, BVI expects the horror sequel to out-gross atleast one of its franchise predecessors internationally. The film was rankedfifth in Germany in its fourth week, with $450,000 from 650 locations (for a$9.1m total), and third in Mexico after a month, with $255,000 from 357 screens(for a $5m total).

BVI's Eight Below pulled in $1.9m from 1,954 screensin 27 territories, bringing its international total to $33.5m. The adventurestory held up well in Spain (down 34% in its third week with $400,000 from 224screens and a $2.6m total) and Australia (down 28% in its fourth week with$275,000 from 246 screens for a $3.3m total.

With half of the world still to open, BVI's The Wildgrossed $1.2m from 2,315 screens in 35 territories this weekend, bringing theanimated tale's international total to $31m.

BVI opened The Shaggy Dog in Brazil and grossed$128,000 from 76 screens for fourth place in the territory.