All eyes will beon Russia this weekend as various distributors inundate the lucrative marketwith Shark Tale, Home On The Range, Princess Diaries 2 and Anacondas.
Shark Tale, the number one international pictureand a key factor in this week's IPO in the US of DreamWorks' animation unit,opens in Russia through UIP on Oct 28. As of Oct 24 it had amassed a $77.3minternational running total.
Another animatedtitle, Home On The Range opens on Oct 29 through Buena Vista International (BVI).
Executives willlook for a respectable debut despite the daunting head-to-head with SharkTale - as well as decentholds elsewhere - to push it past $50m. The picture has grossed $49.7m from itsinternational run so far.
BVI also opensfamily sequel The Princess Diaries 2, currently on $14.8m, in Russia on the same day.
The action sequel Anacondas is the only prominent release for Columbia TriStar Film DistributorsInternational (CTFDI) this weekend, and goes out in the territory on Oct 28. Anacondas has grossed $20.8m to date.
Warner BrosPictures International opens Exorcist: The Beginning in the UK, Mexico and Spain on Oct 29.To date it has grossed $4.3m in Warner territories.
Warnerexecutives were anticipating continued strong weekend business for A VeryLong Engagement inFrance after it scored the fifth biggest opening day of the year on Oct 27 andthe biggest debut by a French picture in 2004.
The wartime epicsold 220,821 tickets on 707 nationwide screens, and is on course to pass thegold standard one million admissions within a week if daily ticket sales keepup the pace.
FoxInternational's action horror title Alien Vs Predator opened in France on Oct 27 on 615screens. The picture has grossed $33.8m to date and also opens wide in Turkeyon Oct 29 on 95.
Woody Allen'slatest release Melinda & Melinda, which is due to open in the US in March 2005 through FoxSearchlight, goes out in its first international territory of Spain on Oct 29on 155.
Allen's two previousreleases there were stymied by massive competition. Anything Else opened on just over $800,000 on 113screens in December 2003 at the same time as Finding Nemo, while Hollywood Ending opened on morethan $530,000 in October 2002 in the same weekend as XXX.
Latest runningtotals reported by Fox International executives put comedies Garfield and Dodgeball on $116.2m and $47.3m respectively.
Miramax's drama FindingNeverland gets its firstinternational release with a UK debut on Oct 29 through BVI.
Like A VeryLong Engagement, thepicture is a heavyweight awards season contender and will benefit from the highUK profile of local star Kate Winslet and Johnny Depp.
BVI also opensthe M Night Shyamalan mystery The Village in Italy on Oct 29, where the director enjoys a strongfollowing.
When Signs opened there in October 2002 it grossed$5.3m in its first two weekends (including previews), ranking second after itsfirst wide weekend behind Roberto Benigni's local hit Pinnochio. The Village has amassed $128.4m to date.
Elsewhere,Universal's Wimbledonopens in Mexico through UIP on Oct 29, while Paramount's The ManchurianCandidate opened inAustralia on Oct 28 and Collateral is set to open in Japan on Oct 30.
Star Tom Cruiseenjoys a massive following in Japan - The Last Samurai took more than $100m - but what willfans there make of his decision to play an assassin with no discerniblyredeeming features'
UIP alsoreleases the local German pick-up the family comedy Seven Dwarfs in Germany on 800 prints.