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January 21st, 2004

The second round of openings for The Last Samurai in as many weeks helped push it to top spot on the international charts. It more than doubled the number of markets it's playing in while adding almost 70% more screens, but only managed to increase its box office by roughly 25%. The weekend figure of $40.6 million pushed its international total to $157.6 million and its worldwide total to over $250 million. But without many major openings left, its weekly numbers may have peaked.

After four weekends on top of the international charts, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King dropped to second spot with $23.1 million. Although that drop to second place may be temporary as Return of the King has two major openings this week in Italy and Russia. Its international total is now $496.7 million, ahead of Finding Nemo and into first for 2003 and eighth all-time. While its worldwide total of $825.7 million is still second for the year and ninth all-time. And while it may be one more weekend away from becoming the undisputed box office champ for 2003, it could take the Worldwide portion as early as mid-week.

Finding Nemo international run is slowing down, but that doesn't mean there are no more milestone left to cross. This week it earned another $7.5 million as it marches ever closer to the $500 million international milestone. Only eight films have made that much on the international scene and Finding Nemo has an excellent shot at it for next weekend, but Return of the King will beat it mid-week. With only $492.5 million international, the film has slipped to second for the year. Worldwide it is still number one for the year with $832.2 million and number eight all-time.

When Fox spent $135 million making Master and Commander: Far Side of the World I don't think they were expecting a domestic total of just $84 million after nine weeks. This weekend it added $6.0 million to its international totals, which surpassed the domestic total. Worldwide it could reach $200 million, but that's simply not enough to justify its expenses. Reaching that milestone will help save someone's job and a fantastic run at the home market should help the movie eventually show a profit. Eventually.

This is the 10th weekend in the international top five for Love Actually, so it's no surprise that it has done as well as it has. But with just $3.2 million this week and only one more major release come, it is unlikely to reach any more major milestones during its run. But its U.K. run alone covered most of the production costs, so the studio should be thrilled over this film's results. And Richard Curtis should have no trouble finding more work in the future.

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Filed under: International Box Office, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Finding Nemo, The Last Samurai, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Love Actually