New Line International's fantasy trilogy has begun its final global assault this weekend as The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King opens in 28 territories.

The third and final instalment in Peter Jackson's acclaimed J R R Tolkien adaptation went out on a total of 5,475 screens in 17 territories on including the UK., Germany, France and Spain on Dec 17.

It was due to open in seven territories including South Korea, New Zealand and Hong Kong on a combined 763 screens on Dec 18, followed by four territories including Mexico on a total of 957 on Dec 19.

The biggest question will be whether The Return Of The King can surpass The Matrix Revolutions to reclaim the worldwide opening record for The Lord Of The Rings.

All openings are expected to do well, considering some mighty opening grosses in each of these territories by The Two Towers in December 2002.

That film grossed $87.9m internationally in its first five days one year ago, including a $20.9m opening weekend in the UK, $19.4m over five days in Germany, $9.8m in France, $5.8m in South Korea and $3.1m in Mexico.

The Return Of The King opens in Brazil on Christmas Day, followed by Italy in January and Japan in February.

Elsewhere, Universal's family adventure Peter Pan gets its first international release through UIP in Australia on Dec 18 on 275 prints.

The distributor opens Daddy Day Care in Japan, its only territory, on Dec 20 on 150 prints.

Buena Vista International (BVI) opens Brother Bear in Mexico on Dec 19. The family animation has grossed $6m at the international box office to date.

Freaky Friday opens in the UK on Dec 19 and has amassed a $16.2m international running total.

Master And Commander opens in Italy on Dec 19 and is one of BVI's few pick-ups for the naval adventure.

Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International has no significant openings this weekend. Latest cumulative scores released by the distributor include the police thriller S.W.A.T. on $68.3m and the action sequel Bad Boys 2 on $129.3.