Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix will surge past $400m this weekend in what will be a tightly contested bout with the global release of The Simpsons Movie.

Warner Bros Pictures International's (WBPI) fifth Potter episode has raced to $395m and should continue to make strong gains in its third weekend.

However it may not remain at the top for a third consecutive weekend now that fans of the franchise will be wading through the seventh and supposedly final book in the series, which went on worldwide release on Saturday.

Fox International's day-and-date launch of The Simpsons Movie will also provide a stern test. The eagerly awaited feature-length version of the 18-year TV series has impressed the critics and should prosper, given the property's longevity and global appeal.

The film launches on approximately 6,500 screens in 71 of its 94 territories this weekend. Eight of the top 15 territories are included in the first wave: the UK, France, Germany, Australia, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, and Argentina.

Homer and family arrive in Mexico on Aug 1, Italy in September, and Japan later in the year.

Die Hard 4.0 has no major releases scheduled this weekend and stands at $165m, while Fantastic Four; Rise Of The Silver Surfer opens in Holland and has grossed $108.8m to date.

The newly minted Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International (WDSMPI), formerly Buena Vista International, has crossed $1bn in overseas grosses for the 13th consecutive year.

The unprecedented feat was driven by the extraordinary success of Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End, which overtook its predecessor's $642.2m mark this week to become the fourth biggest international release in history.

'We're extremely proud and this reflects the fantastic management team we have in the international territories that has been in place in most cases since this record-setting streak began,' vice president of international theatrical sales and distribution David Kornblum said.

'We're particularly impressed that this result has been capped off by the performance of Pirates 3. It's a testament to our partners in exhibition and a dedicated marketing and sales team, and of course a great movie that has been embraced by audiences in such a big way.'

Currently standing at $642.4m, At World's End has broken four speed records so far, crossing $300m in nine days, $400m in 12, $500m in 20, and $600m in 38.

Only three films have amassed more money overseas. Titanic leads the pack with a seemingly unassailable $1.2bn, followed by The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King on $741m, and Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone on $651m.

WDSMPI's Ratatouille still has a long way to go but currently stands at $40.2m. The Pixar release opens in four Asian markets this weekend including South Korea on Jul 27 and Japan on Jul 28.

DreamWorks/Paramount's Transformers opens in six territories including France and Hong Kong on Jul 25 and the UK on Jul 27.

The action blockbuster has made a sizeable dent overseas and this weekend's launches should considerably raise the $206.3m international running total.

Latest figures put Shrek The Third on $390.1m and Blades Of Glory, which opens in Italy on Jul 27, on $25.7m.

Universal/UPI has four comedies in play. Evan Almighty opens in South Korea on Jul 26 and has grossed $4.7m from the early stages of release, while last weekend's number one North American film I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry opens in Taiwan on Jul 28.

Knocked Up has taken $9.9m so far and opens in Russia and Singapore on Jul 26, while Mr Bean's Holiday opens in China on Jul 27 and stands at $177.6m. Thriller White Noise 2: The Lights launches in Brazil on Jul 27.