Paramount's latest Jack Ryan title The Sum Of All Fears received a promising, if somewhat subdued, European launch at the weekend in France and Belgium.

In Belgium the action thriller exploded into first place over its five-day opening with a strong $187,931 (Euros 189,998) from 54 screens for a healthy average of $3,480 per screen. It had grossed $253,457 by the end of its first week.

Distributed by UIP, which handles the film in all international territories except Japan, Ben Affleck's debut as Jack Ryan will have to find some legs to match the $1.8m and $1.9m total grosses of the Harrison Ford Ryan-pictures, Patriot Games and Clear And Present Danger, respectively.

France saw the film open in second place in the nationwide chart. However, Sum Of All Fears' first week admissions of 272,609 ($1.4m) from 449 screens scored a much stronger average than that of first-placed Scooby-Doo, which sold 308,262 tickets at 580 screens. Fears started well with 62,458 admissions ($324,782) recorded on its first day.

It also claimed the top spot in the French capital, Paris, with 85,375 tickets sold ($443,950) from just 46 screens for a massive average of $9,651. This put it way ahead of second-placed 40 Days And 40 Nights (44,081 admissions from 37 sites) and Scooby-Doo in third with 41,901 admissions at 43 screens.

Previously, Patriot Games grossed $11.25m in France in 1992 while Clear And Present Danger fared less well with $7.2m in 1994.

This is consistent with the overall international performance of the prior Ryan titles. Of the four to date, the other being 1990's The Hunt For Red October which featured Alec Baldwin in the role, the best international performer was Patriot Games with $94.7m followed by Danger ($85.5m) and October ($78.5m). Sum Of All Fears has taken $13.4m to date from 15 territories and is yet to open in most major international territories.

Interestingly Patriot Games was the weakest performer in the US taking just $83.4m compared to Danger's $122m, October's $120.7m and Fears' $117.6m to date. As a result Patriot Games was the only one of the first three titles, which are all based on Tom Clancy novels, which saw its international tally surpass its domestic, a feat which Sum Of All Fears will aim for but may find hard to achieve.

The Sum Of All Fears is the first theatrical outing since 1992's Sneakers for director Phil Alden Robinson and co-stars Morgan Freeman, Bridget Moynahan, Liev Schreiber, James Cromwell and Alan Bates. Last weekend's European debut coincided with the launch in Thailand, where the film took a resounding $323,629 from 61 screens for an impressive average of $5,305, and Panama, where it managed $36,653 on 18 screens.

It opens next weekend in Korea and Norway and then reaches Germany, Hungary and Malaysia on Aug 8 followed on the Aug 9 by Austria and Spain. The UK receives the film on Aug 16 and Australia on Aug 29.

Of the international territories to receive Fears so far, Mexico has seen the most impressive performance with $4.14m. This is followed by Taiwan's $1.4m, Brazil's $1.13m and Hong Kong's $1.08m.