New Line International's The Lord Of The Rings: The Return OfThe King shouldcapitalise on its 11 Academy Award nominations in all its markets and nowherewill this be felt more acutely than in Italy, where the film scored a record$12.2m opening last weekend.
The fantasy finale has grossed $548.5m at the international boxoffice to date and tracks 25% ahead of The Two Towers. It has outgrossed its trilogypredecessor in 42 of its 54 active territories, including most of the majormarkets.
With The Last Samurai also performing well in second place in Italy, two new releasesshould ensure plenty of activity there this weekend.
Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (CTFDI) opens itssupernatural thriller Underworld on Jan 30 on 152 prints, and Fox International opens the thrillerRunaway Jury on thesame day on 183 prints.
Runaway Jury also goes out in South Korea on Jan 30 on 55 and is expected tobuild steadily on its $9.6m international running total.
Hoping to make some serious revenues out of a best animatedfeature film Academy Award nomination for Brother Bear, Buena Vista International (BVI) openedthe film in France on Jan 28 and executives are confident it will produceimpressive figures.
Brother Bear has amassed $42m at the international box office to date.
Elsewhere BVI opens its family comedy The Haunted Mansion in Mexico and Spain on Jan 30, whichshould boost its $9m international running total.
Byway of comparison, the Eddie Murphy comedy Daddy Day Care opened second in Mexico on $1.8m in 404 theatres inJune last year and it opened third in Spain on $2.1m in 305 theatres inSeptember.
Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World picked up 10 nominations earlier in theweek, which should stand it in good stead when BVI opens it in Brazil on Jan30.
The period naval adventure has grossed $12m from BVI markets so far.
Focus Features will open 21 Grams through UIP in Spain on Jan 30 on 152 prints. A strong bow is expected bearing in mind the drama's two Academy Award nominations for Naomi Watts and Benicio Del Toro and the groundswell of local support for director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.
Warner Bros Pictures International's epic adventure The LastSamurai still has plentyto offer in many of its territories and with no major openings this weekendexecutives will look to strong holdovers to build on its $206.1m cumulativescore.
The distributor releases the romantic comedy Something's GottaGive in Mexico on Jan30, where a best actress Oscar nomination for Diane Keaton should ensure adecent bow. The film is in the early stages of its international roll-out andhas taken $7.1m to date.
It begins its European campaign in earnest next week on the backof an out-of-competition screening at the Berlinale, where stars Keaton andJack Nicholson will be in attendance.
Mystic River has no further major releases planned and has taken $46.3m to date.
Fox International releases Out Of Time in its first major markets this weekend.The thriller went out in France on Jan 28 and opens in Australia on Jan 29 -both on 160 prints. It also opens in South Africa on Jan 30 on 50.
The action thriller 28 Days Later, which has taken $37.1m from all itsinternational markets so far, opens in Russia on Jan 29 on 46 and.
The comedy Stuck On You has no major business this weekend; latest figures from FoxInternational executives put it on a $17.5m international running total.
CTFDI will expand the drama Big Fish in the UK on Jan 30 to 362 nationwideprints following its platform release in London's West End last week.
Gothikahas Latin American roll-outs in Argentina and Peru and the horror thriller alsoopens in Russia on Jan 29 on 108 prints. It has amassed $7.6m to date.
The Julia Roberts-starrer Mona Lisa Smile has a number of smaller European bowsand will be looking to build on its $17.1m running total, while Peter Pan has taken $6.5m from CTFDI markets todate.
S.W.A.T.is approaching the end of its international run, with latest figures from CTFDIexecutives putting it on $88.7m.