On the weekend that Piratesof the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chestpassed the $1bn worldwide gross mark, The Walt Disney Company has revealed thatsequel Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End will be released day-and-date around the world nextsummer.

"We're going to open onthe weekend of May 25 in every country around the world," said Walt DisneyMotion Pictures Group president Mark Zoradi of the third installment of JerryBruckheimer's massively successful Pirates franchise.

"It will be our widestrelease ever," Zoradi added, "and it will be the first time that ourcompany has done a literal day-and-date release."

To avoid competing with thissummer's World Cup football tournament, Dead Man's Chest did not make its international debut until earlyJuly, opening in a few territories - among them France, the UK and Australia -on the same weekend as its July 7 domestic release. The film rolled out toother markets through July and August and is set for its final major-territoryopening, in Italy, next weekend. Until this weekend (when Disney's Cars took over) it had been the top-grossinginternational film for nine straight weekends.

However, with so much builtin awareness for the third film, Zoradi said, "all we need to do is getthe trailer out there, put together a good campaign and I think the audience isgoing to be with us."

At World's End will once again star Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom andKeira Knightley, with Gore Verbinski directing. Its international appeal may beboosted by the additions to the cast of Australia's Geoffrey Rush (who alsoappeared in the first film) and Asian star Chow Yun-Fat.

The third film - sections ofwhich are being shot in Asia - will conclude the initial Pirates trilogy,though it is unlikely to be the last Pirates sequel. "It's not aremake," Zoradi said. "It's going to feel different, it's going tohave a different colour palette and it's going to wrap up a lot of storypoints."

Dead Man's Chest has just become only the third film ever - after Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King- to gross more than $1bn worldwide.This weekend, the film's international total climbed to $592.4m and itsdomestic tally to $416.6m, producing a worldwide figure of $1,009,000,000.

International distributorBuena Vista International pointed out that Dead Man's Chest reached the $1bn benchmark far quicker - just 63 days- than the other two films, and did so without the help of awards seasonrecognition.

Next weekend, Dead Man'sChest will become Buena VistaInternational's widest ever release in Italy. A big gross in that territorycould improve the film's current standing as the sixth highest internationalgrosser ever.