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Sony Pictures Releasing International's Casino Royale solidified its position as the hottest holiday attraction internationally during the weekend, snaring an estimated $66.2 million from 6,600 screens in 50 markets -- the sixth-biggest weekend boxoffice gross of the year -- and propelling the distributor to a new overseas boxoffice record.

The latest James Bond offering, starring British actor Daniel Craig as Agent 007, stormed Europe with No. 1 openings in 18 markets from Norway to Spain, yielding an estimated $40.4 million from these new territories.

That figure tops by 44% the comparable boxoffice total accumulated in the same 18 markets by 2002's Die Another Day, the Pierce Brosnan starrer that went on to gross $432 million worldwide, more than any previous Bond title.

In all, Casino finished No. 1 in at least 40 of the 50 markets it played for the weekend and moved its international boxoffice total to $128.2 million; the worldwide total stands at $222.4 million.

The biggest of the overseas markets was the U.K., where Casino grabbed an estimated $16.6 million in its second weekend -- a relatively benign 24% drop from the opening stanza -- from 991 screens. The U.K. market total to date is $53.6 million, just $3.7 million shy of Die Another Day's total over the course of its entire U.K. run.

The best result of the new markets came from Germany, where the weekend tally is an estimated $12 million from 1,180 screens. In France, Casino won an estimated $8.4 million from 823 screens. In Spain, the weekend estimate is $4 million from 500 prints.

The per-screen averages were especially impressive in Denmark ($25,000, or an estimated $2.5 million from 101 locations), Switzerland (nearly $19,000, or $3 million from 161 screens) and Sweden ($16,000, or $2.1 million from 133 prints).

Casino bows Friday in the key market of Japan, then Dec. 7 in Australia.

Thanks to a strong roster of international hits this year, including The Da Vinci Code, Open Season and Casino, Sony films have tallied an annual overseas gross of $1.385 billion, SPRI distribution president Mark Zucker said.


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