In a release pattern similar to 2012’s The Avengers, Disney/Marvel’s sequel Avengers: Age Of Ultron began its international rollout today. Stepping out into such key markets as France and Italy today followed by Brazil, Germany, the UK, Russia, Korea, Argentina and others, it will have put down about 55% of its offshore footprint this weekend. The Avengers opened to $185M three years ago in a bigger share of the marketplace than Ultron, which nevertheless did not include Russia ($43.4M ultimate cume). While Avengers is not the only comp (Guardians Of The Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier also figure), prognosticators are suggesting a wide range on the international opening, from a conservative $160M on the low end to $200M-plus at the higher end.
The downturn in local currencies against the greenback is likely to factor, but as recently witnessed by Furious 7‘s performance, Ultron should overcome. The sequel scored the best opening showing of 2015 in Paris this morning in terms of admissions, topping previous title holder Fifty Shades Of Grey by 46%. We do not yet have a total offshore screen count for Ultron, but Imax plays will figure in 178 theaters with the majority in 3D, significantly in Russia, France, Australia, Korea, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
As of about two weeks ago, Ultron was tracking domestically at around $200M. The international rollout for the hugely anticipated superhero mash-up is akin to most late-April/early-May Marvel patterns. If the first week is 55% of the footprint, the second will add 10% more as the Joss Whedon-helmed clusterflick also heads to North America. China, natch, was The Avengers’ top play in 2012 with about $86M. Ultron stomps into the Middle Kingdom on May 12, and with the growth in that market during the past three years, it would not be surprising to see this one top $300M there.
Since The Avengers came out in 2012, the Marvelverse as released by Disney 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. Only Iron Man 3 bowed in the same corridor as Ultron, opening to $198M offshore.
The original Avengers is the fourth-biggest movie of all time internationally, followed by Frozen at $880M – though Furious 7, which was at $858M through Sunday, is gunning fast up the track. The Avengers’ best plays outside of China were the UK ($84.1M), Brazil ($69.1M), Mexico ($63M), Australia ($55.1M), Korea ($52.3M), Japan ($45.8M), Russia ($43.4M), France ($36M) and Germany ($32.4M).
Reviews have thus far been very strong for the reteam of Iron Man, Thor, Cap, Black Widow, Hulk, War Machine, Nick Fury, Hawkeye and others – James Spader’s voicing of Ultron also has gotten huzzahs, but he’ll be dubbed in many versions around the globe. A premiere was held in London on Tuesday night with Whedon, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Cobie Smulders, Andy Serkis and Aaron Taylor-Johnson doing press during the day.
Local Disney teams have worked to tailor the marketing. The teaser trailer debut logging a record at the time of 34.3M global views in the first 24 hours, and the payoff trailer debuting through a global-first social drive across 65 markets on Twitter to “Flock to Unlock” the trailer, which received 35M global views in the first day. The Marvel, Avengers and individual character pages have a combined 100M fans across Facebook and Twitter.
Also of note, the India Aboad News Agency reported that Disney/Marvel have collaborated with a record-breaking 50 brands across various categories to help promote the film. In France, commercial broadcaster M6 aired The Avengers to big ratings on Tuesday night, the eve of the Ultron bow, upping the wanna-see level.
(*An unofficial photo was inadvertently posted at the top of this story on Wednesday; the error has been corrected.)