This week the first animated film directed by Steven Spielberg, The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, is being released across Europe -- two months ahead of hitting US theaters.
After premieres in Brussels, London and Paris, the much-anticipated 3D adaptation of Hergé's beloved cartoon series is expected to have a big opening week over the school holidays. Paranormal Activity 3, which took first place at the box office last week, will likely slip in the race with Tintin.
This family-friendly story follows a fearless young reporter, Tintin, voiced by Jamie Bell (Billy Elliot), with his dog Snowy on a search for hidden treasure with a drunken sailor played by Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings). Daniel Craig also stars.
With the use of motion-capture technology, similar to Avatar, the look of the computer-generated animated film in 3D engages the viewer in the action-packed adventure.
The film's website explores Tintin's journeys around the world, offers merchandise such as a stuffed toy Snowy, and tells the 82-year history of the comic.
Next weekend, Tintin expands to Russia, the Middle East and other markets, rolling out globally through November and December to reach North America on December 21.
The international success should set the stage for a strong showing at Christmas in the US, where the comic is not well-known.
"We expect Tintin to gross two or three times as much internationally as domestically," said Vice Chairman of Paramount Pictures Rob Moore to the Los Angeles Times -- a figure that could near $100 million in Europe alone.
Co-producer Peter Jackson, currently shooting The Hobbit, has signed on to direct the Tintin sequel, according to Entertainment Weekly.
The film to reach the top spot in the US and Canada this weekend is another animated film, Puss in Boots, a spin-off of the Shrek franchise.
Starring the voice talent of Antonio Banderas as the courageous cat with Salma Hayek (Across the Universe) and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), the feline swashbuckler could earn $42 million. It releases internationally from November to December.
Also, the sci-fi action thriller In Time, starring Justin Timberlake (The Social Network) and Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!), opens in a dozen territories, including Asia, Australia, Russia, Mexico and North America and could reach second place.
The Rum Diary, a passion project for its star Johnny Depp, could be a modest earner, appealing to the actor's fans but not a broad audience. The film opens this weekend in the US and rolls out internationally in November and December.
The Adventures of Tintin:
The Rum Diary: