Spider-man 3 ignited the global summer blockbuster season with the most auspicious of starts, triggering a gargantuan $375m worldwide gross from 107 countries and a $227m international tally on 16,700 screens in the first six days.

The results far exceed the boldest predictions of analysts and pave the way for the most intensive and - in the eyes of many - highest grossing season in history. Heading into the week and with the prospect of a second uncontested weekend lying in wait, Spider-man 3 could cross $600m worldwide by the time Shrek The Third opens on May 18 in North America and select territories.

Sony Pictures Entertainment's worldwide result annihilated the previous $254m opening mark set by Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith in May 2005.

Spider-man 3 opened number one through Sony Pictures Releasing International in every territory, demolishing industry opening records in Japan, South Korea, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, China, and Russia and the Ukraine combined, among many others.

The $164.9m Friday-Sunday overseas gross shattered the previous international (five-day) opening weekend record of $154.7m held by Sony Pictures' The Da Vinci Code, providing a suitably impressive companion result to the weekend's $148m record three-day domestic haul.

Spidey crossed $100m on its fourth day overseas [May 4] and $200m on its sixth [May 6], and should fall comfortably in the $300m range by the end of next weekend.

'It looks like Spider-Man 3 had about 80% of the worldwide box office this weekend,' Jeff Blake, chairman of worldwide marketing and distribution for the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group and vice chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said.

'Spider-Man really is a worldwide franchise: it's a perfect combination of story, special effects like you've never seen before, and characters people care about. And it translates everywhere in the world.'

The latest episode in the web-slinger's adventures opened to a record $26.5m in Japan on 822 screens, as the 3.13bn Yen haul smashed the 2.22bn old mark held by The Matrix Reloaded.

The UK generated $22.9m on 1,357 screens for the third biggest three-day opening, while France produced $21.8m on 967 screens in the fifth biggest opening.

Spider-man 3 took $18.3m on 683 screens in South Korea, a stunning performance that delivered the industry's biggest opening. The 16.6bn Won gross humbled the 5bn Won record set last year by The Host, and destroyed The Matrix Reloaded's 3.5bn local currency mark for a Hollywood release.

Italy produced $15.1m on 907 screens for the biggest opening ever, overtaking $9.8m set by Pirates Of The Caribbean 2. Spider-man 3 grossed $15.1m from 1.148 screens in Germany, $11.1m from 1,260 screens in Mexico for the biggest opening ever, and $11.1m from 875 in Spain for the fifth biggest opening of all time. Australia generated $7.9m from 499 screens.

Sony reported the biggest opening ever in China on a massive $7.9m from a super-wide 1,605-screen release, as well as a new all-time mark in Russia and the Ukraine on $7.4m from 671 screens. Both new marks overtook the previous best set by The Da Vinci Code.

The film scored an all-time debut in Brazil, where it took $6.9m from 816 screens and in local currency terms produced 14m Reais to outstrip the previous 9.9m Reais mark set by The Da Vinci Code.

Spider-Man 3 also set new opening records in India on $4.7m from 588 screens, the Philippines on $3.8m from 288, Hong Kong on $3.6m from 88, Thailand on $3.5m on 318, and Singapore on $2.7m from 88, overturning a ten-year record held by Jurassic Park - The Lost World.

In other new industry marks, the film scored $2.4m from 165 in Malaysia, $2.1m from Taiwan (Taipei only), $1.5m from 227 in Argentina, $1.3m from 170 screens in Colombia, $1.1m from 37 in the UAE, $1.1m from 200 in Indonesia, and $1m from 120 in Peru.

Elsewhere the action sequel generated $2.3m from 145 in Sweden, $2.2m from 145 in Austria, $2.1m from 149 in Switzerland, $1.8m from 110 in Holland, $1.7m from 93 in Belgium, $1.6m from 115 in Denmark, $1.5m from 115 in Norway, and $1.3m from 278 in Turkey.

The film scored the seventh biggest debut ever in Greece on $1.5m from 160, and the third biggest ever in Chile on $1.1m from 95. Central America produced $1.1m from 177, and New Zealand generated $1m from 99.

There were other films in release this weekend. Buena Vista International executives claimed the number two international spot on the back of Wild Hogs' $4.6m weekend, although Universal/UPI might have something to say about that after declaring a $4.5m weekend for Mr Bean's Holiday.

Wild Hogs dropped 40% from last weekend and now stands at $64.5m following the weekend haul from 3,200 screens in 38 countries. The comedy ranked second in Germany on $1.5m for $7.7m after three weekends, fourth in the UK on $605,000 for $9.4m after four, second in Austria where it has taken $1.5m after three, and stands at $3.6m in Italy after three.

Meet The Robinsons added $1m from 2,800 screens in 39 countries and stands at $48.3m with France and Japan yet to open.

Mr Bean's Holiday remains active in 3,400 sites in 50 territories and has amassed $166m including France's $6m through StudioCanal. The comedy sequel ranks sixth in the UK on $41.1m after six weekends, and fourth in Germany on $21m after the same amount of time. There are seven territories to open including Japan and South Korea.

Chinese potboiler Curse Of The Golden Flower, which the distributor acquired for the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, grossed $180,000 from 111 venues in three territories for $2.8m. The comedy Hot Fuzz stands at $49.3m, while the CIA origins drama The Good Shepherd has amassed $19m

Warner Bros Pictures International reported that the effects-laden action epic 300 added $1.8m from 2,200 prints in 56 markets for $228.4m. Career highlights include $27.5m in the UK and $19.7m in Spain after seven weekends, $18.5m in South Korea after eight, and $11.3m in Greece after nine. 300 is set to open in Japan on Jun 9.

The supernatural saga The Reaping took $1.9m from 1,372 prints in 43 markets for $31.8m. It is set to open in Japan on May 19.

Paramount/PPI's assassination thriller Shooter grossed $3.2m from 1,762 sites in 56 territories for $35m. The release held well in its second weekend.

Fox International did not report this weekend.