Shrek 2 canalready proclaim itself the biggest film of the year and biggest animated filmof all time in North America ($379m). However, the original 2001 film performedbetter in North America than internationally, a rarity for animated hits - andsomething which may not be repeated by the sequel.

As the sequel starts to gain momentum in its internationalroll-out distributor UIP (which handles all territories with the exception ofHong Kong and Korea) will be looking to make an even bigger impact and lastweekend's results suggest Shrek 2could leave Shrek's box officeperformance in the fairy-dust.

Ten new territories saw Shrek2 leap into pole position, claiming records for biggest animated-filmopening in almost all of them.

In Mexico, which recorded the film's highest weekend grossof $9.5m, the new adventure claimed multiplerecords - biggest animated opening, biggest UIP launch, best of 2004 andhighest Saturday gross ever. It recorded the second highest Friday gross ever,after Spider-Man. The opening was 95%better than the worldwide box-office's most successful animated film, Finding Nemo, in the territory and 288%higher than Shrek.

South and Central American countries also returnedimpressive results. Brazil's $1.7m beat Nemoby 6% to take the animated opening crown. Chile saw a market best for any film.Argentina's $0.85m claimed the UIP best/biggest animated debut records. Panamatook $1.07m for the biggest ever opening in the territory, ahead of Spider-Man.

As befits its size Australia was the second highest grossingterritory with $9.4m from 269 locations, 100 fewer than Mexico. Here Shrek 2's launch was four times betterthe original film's launch and 76% higher than Finding Nemo.

Claiming records for animated film, non-holiday opener, UIPrelease, biggest Saturday gross and biggest Sunday gross, the film missed outon the all-time opening gross which was claimed by Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban the previous (holiday)weekend.

Significantly HarryPotter had an extra day and more screens to achieve its gross, while Shrek 2 had a massive impact on theWarner Bros title, which was 72% down in its second weekend.

Neighbouring New Zealand had a similar (four times Shrek; biggest non-holiday, biggestanimated; biggest UIP) opening, adding the four-day weekend crown to itsachievements. It also bettered Potter'sprevious week opening of $1.1m with a $1.3m result.

The early international success is significant. At the timeof its release the original Shrek wasthe second highest grossing animated film ever in North America with a $267.7mgross, behind The Lion King's$328.5m. The same year's Disney/Pixar offering Monsters, Inc. fell in just behind with $255.9m.

Internationally, however, Shrek placed ninth in the list of all-time animated grossers withthe same year's Monsters, Inc. andJapanese smash Spirited Away takingfifth and sixth respectively.

In is notable that of the current international top tenanimated titles all but two outperformed the North American release - Toy Story 2 (which had an almost 50-50split) and Shrek.

Finding Nemo'sworldwide gross was made up of 39% North American gross and 61% international.Similarly the second biggest worldwide animated film, The Lion King, took 42% of its earnings in North America compared to58% internationally.

The rapid rise of Shrek2 to animated champ in North America has set a high bar for theinternational market to reach, but with $32.5m taken so far from UIP'sterritories plus Hong Kong and Korea and most major territories still to come Shrek 2 is off to a flying start.

A slew of European territories follow this week includingFrance, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands while the UK will see two days ofpreviews ahead of launch the following week.