2ND UPDATE, MONDAY, 9:40 AM PT: International weekend champ Avengers: Age Of Ultron has come in a blip (0.5%) lower in the actuals today compared with Sunday’s projection. Disney reports that the five-day tally overseas in 44 markets was $200.2M versus yesterday’s $201.2M estimate. The shift was not in one market in particular, but rather due to various ups and downs in different markets as final numbers were tallied.
Some independent German cinemas have reportedly boycotted the film over what they say is a rental fee dispute. It’s unlikely this had a significant impact on the performance in Germany, where Ultron had the biggest opening weekend ever for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and was up 36% over Avengers and 11% over Iron Man 3.
UPDATED, WRITETHRU, 11:05 AM PT SUNDAY: Avengers: Age Of Ultron was the dominant box office force overseas this weekend with a hulking $201.2M start. The Disney/Marvel mash-up kicked off its career in 44 markets representing 55% of its international footprint, initially beginning to roll out on Wednesday and finishing the maiden frame at the high end of industry projections.
Importantly, the $201.2M take exceeds the opening of the first Avengers film by 44% and bests Iron Man 3 by 24% in the same suite of markets, per Disney. Those figures are based on today’s exchange rates with local currencies having significantly dipped against the dollar in the intervening time. Disney’s EVP of Distribution, Dave Hollis, says the result is “extraordinary.” Especially because it’s an increase out of a base “that in and of itself was massive.” It’s also a strong indicator for the markets yet to come including the U.S., China, Japan and much of Latin America.
Many records were set by the Joss Whedon-helmed reteam of Iron Man, Thor, Cap, Black Widow, Hulk, War Machine, Nick Fury, Hawkeye and others. Among them, IMAX saw the largest non-China international opening of all-time with $10.4M and a $60K per screen average.
Among Ultron’s significant releases this weekend were France, Italy, Germany, the UK, Russia, Australia, Korea, Argentina and Brazil.
Korea, which was the 6th biggest overseas market for Avengers, was the top weekend play with $28.2M followed by the UK ($27.3M), Russia ($16.2M), Brazil ($13.1M) and Australia ($13.1M).
Hollis points to the Marvel know-how that creates “an event inside of a movie theater.” From a consistency and a brand standpoint, he says, Marvel has “taken storytelling in every movie since the first Avengers and elevated it. This result is a testament to a lot of work that happens in between releases.”
Since The Avengers came out in 2012, the Marvelverse has spawned Iron Man 3 ($896M total international box office), Thor: The Dark World ($439M), Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($455M) and Guardians Of The Galaxy ($441M). Outside of Guardians, which was a franchise-starter, each of those ultimately performed better than their previous installments: Iron Man 3 was up 159% over Iron Man 2; Dark World increased 64% versus the God of Thunder’s first film; and Winter Soldier fell in line 134.7% above The First Avenger.
Momentum in the current market is also worth a hat tip. As Furious 7 just rolled across the $1B mark internationally, that will have helped encourage moviegoing. Hollis says with people in theaters recently having a great experience, “it makes them want to come back.”
Notable opening frame Ultron benchmarks:
Korea: At $28.2M, the biggest Western industry opening weekend of all time and 2nd biggest industry opening weekend ever with a heroic 91% market share and a start that is 106% above Avengers and 37% above Iron Man 3.
Russia: Currently estimated at $16.2M, Ultron looks like the biggest industry opening weekend of all time, although it will be a close race with Furious 7 which held the distinction coming ito the frame. Ultron was 77% above Avengers and 8% above Iron Man 3 in the market where the ruble has dropped an estimated 46% against the dollar.
Australia: Oz’s $13.1M bow is the 3rd biggest industry opening weekend ever and biggest ever Marvel/Disney opening weekend at 15% above Avengers and 9% above Iron Man 3.
UK/Ireland: Biggest superhero movie opening weekend of all time at $27.3M. Also the top April opening ever; highest opening of 2015 and strongest IMAX opening ever. Beat Avengers by 13% and Iron Man 3 by 31%.
France: With the No. 1 opening weekend of 2015 at $12.4M, Ultron was up 9% on Avengers, but 6% below Iron Man 3. Both opened on holiday weekends, Disney notes.
Germany: Biggest opening weekend ever for the Marvel Cinematic Universe at $9.3M; 36% above Avengers, 11% above Iron Man 3.
Brazil: The No. 2 industry opening weekend of all time was clocked at $13.1M and gave Marvel/Disney its biggest opening weekend at 45% over Avengers and 29% above Iron Man 3.
Argentina: No. 2 biggest Marvel opening weekend of all time on an admissions basis (Avengers is still tops). The total here was $4.9M.
Italy: With an $8.5M debut, this is the only major market where Ultron came in lower than its comps at 7% below Avengers and 11% below Iron Man 3, both of which opened on holiday weekends.
Elsewhere, Ultron scored the biggest industry opening weekends of all time in Hong Kong ($6.4M) and the Philippines ($7.7M). India was also notable as the No. 2 biggest debut frame ever with $7.7M and a 156% increase on Avengers. In that typically inward-facing market, Disney reportedly partnered with a record-breaking 50 brands across various categories to help promote the film.
Significant releases next weekend — along with North America — include Spain, Mexico, Turkey and Thailand. China bows May 12 and Japan on July 4. In the meantime, Ultron will have a fairly wide-open space in which to flex its muscle. Mad Max: Fury Road is the next big day-and-date release starting May 13. Ultron will also benefit from the upcoming May Day holiday in much of Europe.