Columbia Pictures' Panic Room kicked off its international release over the weekend, and took an impressive $5.3m in eight territories, nabbing top spot in seven.
The David Fincher-directed film starring Jodie Foster topped the box office in Spain, taking $2m on 275 screens and recording the biggest April opening of all time in that territory.
In Australia the picture enjoyed a $1.7m haul on 200 screens, making it the fourth biggest April opener of all time behind The Matrix, Stuart Little and Erin Brockovich. It also opened strongly in Scandinavia, taking $0.25m on 61 screens in Sweden, $0.15m on 40 screens in Denmark and $0.1m from 25 screens in Finland.
Elsewhere, Panic Room took $0.4m on 16 screens in Taiwan, $0.335m on 30 screens in Hong Kong and $0.365m on 92 screens in Holland, where it was edged into second place by the Warner Brothers comedy Showtime.
"We are off to a very exciting start," said Mark Zucker, senior executive vice president of Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International. "With domestic on its way to $100m there are hopes we can do $100m in both domestic and international markets."
Zucker attributed the film's success to the double F's: the reputations of the mercurial Fincher, whose credits include Seven and Fight Club, and Oscar-winner Foster. He added the current dearth of quality adult films provided a good opportunity to make money before the summer blockbuster season gets underway.
Panic Room will roll out this weekend (April 19-21) in German-speaking territories and Italy and Russia and is scheduled to open in the UK on May 3, by which time it will have screened in all the major European markets. The relatively compressed European release window demonstrates confidence in the title, which Zucker said screened so well for exhibitors that Columbia saw no reason to prolong its release.
The film is set to open in Latin America towards the end of May and is in Japan on May 18, where Fincher enjoys a considerable local following.
While Columbia TriStar executives toast the success of Panic Room, their eyes will already be looking ahead to May 3, when the studio releases Spider-man in the US. Sam Raimi's take on the hugely popular web-slinging super-hero is expected to kick off the summer blockbuster season and will open the same day in Korea, Taiwan and Japan (paid previews). Spider-man is scheduled to open in the UK on June 14.