Troy is the odds-on favourite to lay siege tothe global box office this weekend as the Warner Bros epic opens in 47countries on an undisclosed number of screens.

Wolfgang Petersen's picture is the second near day-and-daterelease of the international summer season following the impressive $50m-plusbow ofUniversal's Van Helsing through UIP last weekend.

Troy opened in France yesterday (12) and rollsout in Australia, Germany, Argentina and Switzerland today - as well as inCannes, where it is playing out of competition - and opens in Spain, Mexico andBrazil tomorrow.

After that it is set to open in the UK, Italy, Korea and Japan thefollowing weekend in what should be a heroic second session.

Warner Bros Pictures International's distribution and marketingchiefs are experts at massive synchronised global releases as they have provedwith Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, the two Matrixreleases last year and The Last Samurai.

The sheer glamour and scope of Troy's cast, allied to thegalvanising buzz of a global release and the enduring vogue for hugeproductions with a grand historical sweep bode well for Petersen's picture.

Predictably the other studios are lying low this weekend.Universal has no new openings for Van Helsing but executives are hopingfor strong follow-up business to add to the picture's $60.5m internationalrunning total, which rises to $64.3m including $3.8m from non-UIP markets.

The studio opens it horror remake Dawn Of The Dead in Koreaon 60 prints through UIP on Friday and executives will be hoping for a decentbow to augment the picture's $24m international running total.

Paramount's comedy DickieRoberts: Former Child Star opened inFrance and Belgium yesterday and the boxing drama Against The Ropes goesout in the UK tomorrow.