Warner Bros Pictures International will unload its second majorrelease in three weeks when the eagerly anticipated Harry Potter And ThePrisoner Of Azkabanopens in 24 countries this weekend.

The third instalment in thelucrative franchise sets sail on the back of enthusiastic reviews and hasalready shown a taste of things to come with a record opening in the UK earlierthis week.

Prisoner Of Azkaban opened on May 31 and grossed $9.2m (£5.03m) from 535 venues, thebiggest opening day and single day gross in UK history and the first time apicture has ever taken more than £5m in one day.

It was due to open in France on Jun 2 and opens in Germany andArgentina on Jun 3, Italy, Russia, Brazil and director Alfonso Cuaron's hometurf of Mexico on Jun 4.

In total, the picture opens on an estimated 7,492 prints thisweekend.

Strong bows seem assured in all these markets, bearing in mind theperformance of franchise predecessor Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets.

That picture opened top in allthe aforementioned markets and grossed $16.4m excluding previews in Germany and$16.3m excluding previews in the UK, both in November 2002.

Elsewhere, Troy has grossed a superb $230.5m international running total andbased on last weekend's $40m haul can be expected to do some useful businessthis weekend.

Following last weekend's massive day-and-date release of TheDay After Tomorrow, FoxInternational will open the picture in South Korea on Jun 4 and Japan on Jun 5.

The picture has grossed $109min international markets so far and individual highlights include $17.9m in theUK, $12.3m in Germany, $7m in France, $6.8m in Mexico, $6.4m in Spain, $5.6m inAustralia, $5.1m in Italy, $4.5m in Russia, $2.5m in Hong Kong, $2.3m in Chinaand $2.1m in Brazil.

Marvel Comics adaptation The Punisher goes out in its first wave ofinternational releases through Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International(CTFDI) this weekend.

It was due to open in Spain on Jun 2 on 354 screens and inAustralia a day later on 150. There are also smaller bows for Portugal on Jun 3on 45, and New Zealand and Israel the same day on 32 and 18 respectively.

Latest cumulative scores issued by CTFDI put 50 First Dates on $60.1m, Big Fish on $50.5m, Secret Window on $33.2m and Gothika on $78.5m.

Universal's Van Helsing has no major bows through UIP and has amassed $132.5mindustry-wide to date.