Shrek The Third continued to rule the international marketplace this weekend, opening well in Germany, Spain and half a dozen smaller countries and grossing an estimated $48.6m from 5,737 locations across 45 territories.
Among possible heirs to the throne, Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer debuted at number one in Mexico and Australia and Ocean's Thirteen opened second in France and Brazil.
Paramount/DreamWorks' Shrek The Third, distributed by Paramount Pictures International (PPI), saw its international total climb to $171.1m. The animated sequel opened in Germany with an estimated $8.2m from 834 locations, 13% ahead of Spider-Man 3 and in line with Shrek 2. In Spain, it debuted with $6.7m from 757 screens, 4% ahead of Ice Age 2.
In Belgium, PPI reported, Shrek The Third had the biggest opening ever for an animated film: $2.4m from 125 screens, 16% more than Ice Age 2 and 33% ahead of Shrek 2. The corresponding record fell in Portugal, with PPI reporting a gross of $1.1m from 67 screens, 14% ahead of Spider-Man 3 and 39% more than Shrek 2.
In the Netherlands, the ogre tale opened with $1.6m from 187 locations. And in Austria, it began with $862,000 from 108 locations.
Strong holdover markets included Argentina, where the film was off 42%, taking $1m, for a total of $3.4m. Brazil produced $3.1m, off 48%, for a total of $11m. And France was off only 20%, producing $7.5m (without previews), for a $21.5m total.
Fox International's Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer was a distant second internationally, though its rollout is still in the early stages. The comic book-based action sequel grossed an estimated $22.1m over the weekend, from 8,451 screens in 44 territories, bringing its international total so far to $57m.
The sequel became Fox's fourth-biggest opener ever in Mexico, with an estimated $5.7m from 1,070 screens. In Australia it opened with $2.4m from 343 screens.
In major second-weekend holdover territories, Silver Surfer grossed $4.1m from 479 screens in the UK (for a territory total of $15.2m); $1.5m from 651 screens in Italy (total $6.2m); and $709,000 from 480 screens in Russia (total $3.1m).
Ocean's Thirteen hit the $100m mark internationally this weekend, Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI) reported, taking an estimated $21.3m (from 2.9m admissions) from over 5,700 screens in 49 markets.
The caper sequel opened in France with an estimated $4.7m (631,000 admissions) from 766 prints, for second place in the market. In Brazil it began with an estimated $1.1m (212,000 admissions) from 271 prints, for the same ranking.
The film's top holdover territory was the UK, which produced a third-weekend take of $2.6m (down 41%) from 687 sites, for a total to date of $18.8m. In Germany, the third-weekend estimate was down only 24% to $2.1m (226,000 admissions) from 775 prints, for a total of $10.7m. The same weekend in Spain produced $1m (down 46%) from 454 prints, for a $7.6m total. And in Italy it produced $604,000 (down 51%) from 425 prints, for a $5.8m total.
In second-weekend markets. Ocean's stayed top in Korea with $1.9m (down 45%) from 190 prints, bringing the territory total to $6.6m. And it took an estimated $1.8m (down 47%) from 356 prints in Australia, for a total of $6.2m.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End moved up another place in the all-time ranking of international performers this weekend. In its fifth week, the Buena Vista International sequel took an estimated $20.4m (down 41%) from 10,538 screens in 104 territories. That pushed the film's international total to $584.6m, the seventh biggest ever. On a global basis, the film, with $871.6m in takings, has now passed Finding Nemo as Disney's second best performer (the second Pirates film is still the studio's biggest grossing title).
At World's End was down only 27% in Japan, taking $4.7m from 838 screens, remaining number one and bringing the running total for the territory to $68.3m. In China it was down 44% to $2.2m from 900 screens for an $11.1m total. In the UK it dipped 35% to $2.1m from 520 screens, for a $75.5m total. And in Germany it slipped 38% to $1.7m from 1,300 screens, for a $52.7m total.
France produced $1.5m (down 33%) from 460 screens (total $41.7m); Australia $747,000 (down 42%) from 258 (total $25.4m); Korea $635,000 (down 38%) from 627 (total $33.2m); Spain $492,000 (down 71%) from 320 (total $28.1m); Brazil $358,000 (down 53%) from 185 (total $14.8m); and Mexico $350,000 (down 56%) from 410 (total $23.5m).
With the big four accounting for the vast majority of the weekend's international takings, other releases produced much more modest figures.
New US chart-topper Evan Almighty had a limited international debut through Universal Pictures International (UPI), opening day-and-date with North America in Russia and Ukraine and taking an estimated $1.7m from 393 dates.
In Russia, the comedy sequel to Bruce Almighty (with Steve Carell starring instead of Bruce's Jim Carrey) grossed an estimated $1.5m from 329 dates, 10% better (excluding paid previews) than Bruce's debut in the territory. In Ukraine, Evan took an estimated $178,000 from 64 dates, 11% better than Bruce.
PPI's Blades of Glory grossed an estimated $2.3m from 571 locations across 26 territories, bringing its international total to $19.8m.
The Will Ferrell comedy opened in Australia with $1.9m from 186 screens (29% ahead of Ferrell's Talladega Nights) and in New Zealand with $261,000 from 45 screens (82% ahead of Talladega).
Warner's Zodiac grossed an estimated $1.87m (245,000 admissions) from 1,400 prints in 44 markets, for a total to date of $40.8m. In its second weekend in Japan the film grossed an estimated $421,000 (down 36%) from 236 prints, bringing the total for the market to $1.7m.
The thriller has reached $8.7m after five weekends in France; $6.7m after six in the UK; $4.6m after six in Spain; $3.5m after six in Australia; $3.4m after six in Italy; and $2.3m after four in Germany.
Sony Pictures Releasing International (SPRI) reported a weekend estimate of $1.46m from 2,850 screens in 73 territories for Spider-Man 3, bringing the film's running international total to $546.8m. Sony expects the film to become the tenth biggest international performer of all time by the middle of the week.
SPRI's Surf's Up took an estimated $850,000 from 355 prints in four territories, for a running total of $5.7m. It opened at number two in Singapore with $325,000 from 35 prints.
Hostel II , which SPRI is handling internationally, grossed an estimated $1.5m from 990 prints in 13 territories. It opened at number three in Italy with $470,000 and its international total reached $5m.
UPI's Hot Fuzz grossed an estimated $1m from 380 dates in 13 territories. It opened in Korea with an estimated $365,000 from 100 dates and was down only 30% in its second weekend in Germany, taking $470,000 from 292 dates, for an 11-day total of $1.4m.
Mr Bean's Holiday, another British comedy from UPI, grossed $300,000 from 690 dates in 25 territories in its thirteenth week of release. The film was down a modest 24% in Germany, grossing $100,000 from 312 dates, for a total of $23.8m. The film's international total (including France, where Studio Canal is distributing) has now reached $183.9m.Fox's The Hills Have Eyes II took an estimated $872,000 from 249 screens, for an international total of $15m. It opened in France with $831,000 from 227 screens.