The first major day-and-date global launch of the year takes place this weekend when Zack Snyder's ambitious Watchmen adaptation touches down in more than 45 territories.

Paramount Pictures International (PPI) president Andrew Cripps can
look forward to a dominant opening weekend in most markets when PPI
unleashes the postmodern superhero saga simultaneously with Warner
Bros' North American launch.

In fact any doubts stemming from the mixed critical reaction to
Snyder's adaptation of the award winning 1980s graphic novel will
surely be assuaged by widespread anticipation and the film-maker's
astonishing commercial success with 300, which soared past $450m
worldwide several years ago.

Highlights are expected to come from France, Switzerland and
French-speaking Switzerland on March 4, Russia, Germany, Australia,
South Korea and German-Speaking Switzerland on March 5, the UK, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, Spain and Austria on March 6, and Taiwan on March 7.

In light of all this, The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button will
relinquish its status as Hollywood's number one international release.
Warner Bros Pictures International's drama is enjoying an impressive
run after several weekends at the top and should take another stride
towards the $200m mark if it can inspire decent holdover business in
the next few days.

Warner Bros stablemate Gran Torino stands at an early $21.7m and opens in Argentina ahead of a big push next weekend. The Jim Carrey comedy Yes Man has reached $125.8m.

Fox International's family release Marley & Me has grossed $25.2m and
launches in approximately 20 territories this weekend, when the
biggest results are expected to come from France and Switzerland on
March 4, Germany on March 5 and Austria on March 6.

Wartime thriller Valkyrie stands at $95.1m and infiltrates Taiwan on
March 6. Meanwhile the Oscar-laden Slumdog Millionaire has crossed
$200m worldwide - an extraordinary accomplishment for a picture of
this size - although it will have a fight on its hands to retain the
UK number one slot when Watchmen launches there on March 6.

Fox's female-oriented drama The Secret Life Of Bees arrives in
Australia and New Zealand on March 5. Latest figures put Baz
Luhrmann's epic romance Australia on $153.1m and the comedy Bride Wars on $49.9m.

Like all the major Hollywood distributors this weekend, Walt Disney
Studios Motion Pictures International will be lying low as PPI
rampages across the globe. Adam Sandler comedy Bedtime Stories has
grossed $93m to date and should fare well when it debuts in Spain on
March 6.

Disney's animated family tale Bolt has amassed $167.7m and crossed
$280m worldwide, while the romantic comedy Confessions Of A Shopaholic stands at an early $18.5m ahead of next weekend's big push. Tween treat Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience goes on limited
release in Mexico.

Sony Pictures Releasing International launches The Pink Panther 2 in
Italy on March 6 and the comedy sequel currently stands at $22.3m.
Thriller The International has taken $10.9m so far, while Underworld:
Rise of The Lycans
has grossed $29.3m and the Will Smith drama Seven
stands at $92.3m.

The company may have taken a hit this week after unconfirmed reports
emerged that 300 jobs have been cut across Sony Pictures Entertainment, to the detriment in particular of international operations. A studio source would not comment on those reports.

Universal/UPI's drama First/Nixon has grossed $7.4m and lands in Hong
Kong and South Korea on March 5 followed by Brazil a day later. Milk
opens in Mexico on March 6.

The period mystery Changeling has grossed $60.9m, comedy Role Models stands at $22.1m, animated romp The Tale Of Despereaux has reached $30.6m and the musical smash Mamma Mia! has amassed $429.2m.

DreamWorks-Paramount's Hotel For Dogs has reached $29.4m through PPI and launches in Hong Kong on March 5. New Line International's
romantic comedy He's Just Not That Into You has reached $42.9m and
opens this weekend in Argentina on March 5.