Shrek The Third stayed atop the overseas charts following its biggest weekend so far and combined with the international launch of Transformers to generate a $100m-plus weekend for Paramount/PPI.

The green ogre hoisted his international running total to $259m on the back of an estimated $69.6m haul from 6,489 sites in 52 territories that fully vindicates the decision not to open the animated saga day-and-date.

Weekend results were led by the UK, where Shrek The Third opened at number one on $31m from 537 sites including $12.7m in previews. Including previews PPI sources said this was 5% bigger than the launch of Shrek 2.

Poland broke the record for the highest opening for any film with $4.1m from 88 screens. Japan generated $2.8m from 542 locations, approximately 42% ahead of Shrek 2, while Hong Kong opened top on $1m from 53 screens.

South Africa produced $921,000 from 112 screens, which is the second biggest three-day opening for a film there, while Israel delivered $518,000 from 33 locations for the second biggest opening for an animated film.

In holdovers, France fell a mere 29% on $5.3m for $29.2m, Spain dropped 37% on $4.8m for $16.8m, and Brazil slipped 35% for $2.1m for $14.2m. Shrek The Third opens in Scandinavia, Italy and Greece in late August/early September.

Transformers got a head-start on the Jul 3 domestic release and generated $34.7m from 2,261 sites in 10 territories, an impressive haul for a non-sequel launch.

The action saga took $12.4m from 549 screens in South Korea for the fourth biggest industry opening and the biggest for director Michael Bay. It opened top in Australia on $6.7m from 240 venues to produce another record launch for Bay. Italy generated a $3.6m number one launch from 541 screens.

Elsewhere the film opened top in Taiwan on $3m from 65 screens, top in the Philippines on $2.1m from 269 for the eighth biggest opening ever, and produced the biggest opening day for a non-sequel in Thailand and $1.9m from 277 screens overall for the weekend. It also generated the biggest four-day launch in Singapore on $1.7m from 29 screens, and the third biggest launch in Malaysia on $1.4m from 95 screens. All these opening produced new records for a Michael Bay film.

New Zealand delivered a number one launch on $1.3m from 70 screens, and preliminary forecasts in Indonesia suggest a $565,000 launch from 126 sites. Transformers opens in 12 new territories next weekend including Russia and Spain.

The weekend wasn't all about PPI however, as Fox International's Die Hard 4.0 took an estimated $30.7m from 3,690 screens in 35 territories. The robust result was led by number one debuts in Germany and Japan on $7.6m from 873 screens and $7.2m from 735 respectively.

The action film grossed $3.9m from 562 in Russia and opens in a host of territories next weekend including the UK, Mexico, France and Belgium.

'These are fantastic numbers,' Fox International co-president Paul Hanneman said. 'Die Hard: With A Vengeance was huge in Japan last time and it looks like we've come close to 80% of that amount, and that's without the previews we had last weekend.

'Everyone associates Bruce with the character of John McClane and he worked hard for us, traveling in Japan and across Europe. Maggie Q and Justin Long also supported the film across Asia. The film will roll out in South Korea and Taiwan later this month, followed by Australia, Brazil and Argentina in August.

'The international release schedules are like three-dimensional chess this summer because of all the competition,' Hanneman said. 'In many ways it's more straightforward when films go out day-and-date, but PPI didn't do that with Shrek The Third and that set the pace: there are big films opening each weekend in major markets, so we have to pick and choose our dates carefully.'

Fantastic Four: Rise of The Silver Surfer is another case in point, and took off in Brazil this weekend. The superhero saga added $14.4m from 4,400 screens for $81m, fired up by $2.9m from Brazil on 638 screens. $3.3m in the second weekend in Mexico on 1,070 raised the tally there to $11.7m, while the UK delivered $2.4m for $19.9m after three.

Buena Vista International's Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End is the biggest international and global release of calendar year 2007, and the sixth biggest international film in history as $14.1m raised the total to $608.9m.

Fifth place in the overseas pantheon would appear to be within the film's grasp within a matter of days as it bears down on Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets' $614.7m mark. Harder to overtake will be the $642m fourth place score set by Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

The worldwide gross ranks ninth in the all-time roster on $905m. At this rate, Jurassic Park's $914.7m in eighth place and Shrek 2's $920.7m in seventh appear to be eminently beatable.

At World's End added $3.9m for $74.5m in the sixth weekend in Japan to rank second, $1.4m for $44.6m in France to rank fifth, and $1.4m for $77.7m in the UK to rank fifth. Germany has produced $54.9m after three and ranks sixth, while China generated a further $1.2m in the third weekend for more than $13m.

Ratatouille grossed $4.7m from 520 sites in six territories including Russia, where the Pixar title took $3.3m from 300 screens for Pixar's biggest opening. The film opens next weekend in Mexico and Brazil, followed by Japan on Jul 28, France and Spain on Aug 2, Australia and New Zealand in September, and the UK and German-speaking Europe in October.

Ocean's Thirteen grossed $14.5m for Warner Bros Pictures International (WBPI) from more than 5,700 prints in 51 markets for $124.1m.

The crime caper opened in third place in Mexico on $1.8m from 500 prints, and added $2.2m from 726 in France to rank second on $8.7m after two weekends, $1.9m from 435 in the UK for $22.7m after four, and $1.3m from 708 in Germany for $12.8m after the same amount of time.

Elsewhere the film stands at $8.3m in South Korea and $8m in Australia after three, $8.6m in Spain after four, and $2.5m in Brazil after two. Japan is set to open on Aug 11.

Zodiac added $1.2m from more than 1,400 prints in 43 markets for $43.8m. Highlights so far include $9.2m in France after six, and $7m in the UK, $4.8m in Spain, and $3.5m in Australia, all after seven. 300 has amassed $244m to date, and remains active in Japan where it added $546,000 in the fourth weekend for $11.4m.

Spider-man 3 now ranks as the 10th biggest international release as the Sony Pictures Releasing International title added $1m for $548.9m.

Hostel: Part II added $2.2m from 1,191 screens in 15 markets for an $8m international running total. The horror sequel opened in the UK in fourth place on $1.3m from 250 screens and opened in Belgium on $15,00 from 15. Germany has produced $1.7m to date.

Universal/UPI's comedy Evan Almighty grossed $900,000 from 399 sites in holdover business in Russia and the Ukraine and stands at $3.6m in the early stages of release. Russia added $800,000 from 323 sites for $3.1m while the Ukraine stands at $386,000. The film opens in the UK on Aug 9 and France on Aug 15.

Hot Fuzz, another UPI comedy, added $400,000 from 460 venues in 12 territories for $53.2m. Mr Bean's Holiday remains active in 555 locations in 25 territories in its 14th week of release and stands at $184.3m. It opens in China on Jul 27 and
South Korea on Aug 16.

Universal's domestic sleeper hit Knocked Up launches its international career in Australia on Jul 5.