“Eragon” soared to the top spot at the international box office as the family-friendly adventure’s foreign launch grabbed a respectable $30.3 million at 6,128 playdates in 53 markets.

Fox Intl. saw “Eragon” finish first in at least 22 markets, led by Spain with $4.2 million at 500 and Germany with $4.1 million at 862 including previews. But it was less impressive in the U.K., with $2.7 million at 429 for fourth place behind holdovers “Happy Feet,” “The Holiday” and “Casino Royale.”

“Eragon” won in Mexico with $2.3 million at 797 and finished second in Japan with $2.2 million at 561, trailing the second frame of “Letters from Iwo Jima” by 24%. The flying dragon showed decent traction in the red-hot Russian market with $2.2 million at 490, in Australia with $1.7 million at 321 and in Thailand with $1.1 million at 220.

The worldwide day-and-date release for “Eragon” — the first since Fox rolled out “X-Men: The Last Stand” in late May — is aimed at capturing family audiences as schools let out for the holidays. Pic, with $54 million worldwide, opens next weekend in Belgium, Brazil, France and Italy.

The weekend marked the first frame in five in which the foreign box office wasn’t topped by “Casino Royale,” which showed impressive holdover power in leading the rest of the pack with $21 million at 7,090 in 64 markets. Germany posted the top figure, with $3.2 million at 1,070 in its fourth frame, followed by the U.K. with $2.95 million at 793 in its fifth weekend for an $85 million Brit cume.

“Casino” posted 44% declines in Australia with $2.9 million at 401 in its soph sesh and in France with $1.6 million at 680 in its fourth frame. It shot to the top in its Brazilian launch with $1.3 million at 361.

With Italy and South Korea yet to open, “Casino” is already the biggest Bond pic overseas, with $280.3 million, topping “Die Another Day” by $9 million, and has cumed $418 million worldwide — only $13 million short of “Die.”

UIP’s “The Holiday” remained attractive with $14 million at 2,450 in 28 territories, nearly double the second frame of the domestic run. The romantic comedy stayed decent in the U.K. with $3.1 million at 430, off 34% in its soph sesh, and launched respectably in Germany with $2.7 million at 541 and in South Korea with $2.6 million at 230, good enough for second amid heavy local competition.

“The Holiday” has cumed $28.5 million overseas and $52 million worldwide.

With the top three pics combining for $65 million, overall biz was typically solid for mid-December, though well short of the robust levels of the 2005 frame when the launch of “King Kong” led with $63.4 million followed by the fifth weekend of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” with $26.8 million. Foreign grosses for the five major distribs (BVI, Fox, Sony, UIP, Warner) remain far ahead of 2005 levels and should top the 2004 record of $8.5 billion.

Warner’s “Happy Feet” kicked up another $12.8 million from 5,800 prints in 39 markets as the domestic sensation continued to post moderate rather than spectacular foreign numbers amid competition from “Eragon.” “Happy Feet” has cumed $59.7 million offshore and $209 million worldwide.

The penguin toon turned in by far its top perf in the U.K. with $4 million at 469, sliding only 26% in its second frame, followed by a French soph sesh with $1.4 million at 830, off 43%. “Feet” led in its Greek and Israeli launches but finished a distant second in Spain in its second frame with $1 million at 470, just one-quarter the takings of “Eragon.”

BVI’s expansion of “Deja Vu” captured respectable biz with $8.9 million at 2,890 in 16 markets, led by its U.K. launch of $2.1 million at 466 and its second-place opening in France with $2 million at 485 as it trailed the opening of local animated entry “Arthur and the Invisibles.” In Italy, the “Deja” debut came in second with $1.3 million at 375 behind the Italian launch of comedy “Natale a New York” (“Christmas in New York”).

“Deja” has taken in $23 million overseas and $81 million worldwide.

UIP’s “Flushed Away” continued to post midrange numbers with $8.2 million at 4,674 in 44 territories, led by its third Brit frame with $1.4 million at 444 and its Mexican launch with $1.1 million at 673. “Flushed” has hit $46.8 million overseas and $108 million worldwide.

“The Departed” stayed a player with $4.2 million at 2,600 in 40 markets, led by its German second frame with $1.5 million at 452, off 34%. Foreign cume has hit $108 million, and worldwide has cleared $227 million.

Warner’s saw a solid soph sesh in Japan with Clint Eastwood’s “Letters From Iwo Jima” scoring first place again over openings of “Eragon” and three local titles with $2.9 million at 401, down 30%. Results more than doubled the second frame of Eastwood’s “Flags of Our Fathers” and pushed the nine-day cume to $11.9 million — $1.2 million short of the final two-month Japanese cume for “Flags.”

Sony’s “Open Season” added $2.2 million at 2,420 in 43 markets to lift the foreign cume to $90.6 million — $6 million ahead of the domestic total. “Saw III” scared up $1.4 million to boost its international gross to $58.5 million and its worldwide tally to $139 million.

UIP’s “Charlotte’s Web” held well in its second Australian frame, declining only 6% to $915,000 at 253. “Web” won’t launch in most foreign market openings until next year.

Domestic winner “The Pursuit of Happyness” is also on hold internationally until after the holidays, with Sony starting launches in Australia and Switzerland on Jan. 11 and the U.K. on Jan. 12.

“Apocalypto” generated soft numbers in its German launch with an estimated $370,000 at more than 200.