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Box Office Report: 'Iron Man 3' Scores Early Foreign Total of $36.5 Mil

Iron Man 3 in Suit Still - H 2013
Marvel Entertainment
"Iron Man 3"

The Robert Downey Jr. pic is breaking records in many markets; marking the first tentpole of summer, the threequel doesn't open in North America until May 3.

Director Shane Black's Iron Man 3 continued to turn in a strong performance Thursday as it opened in additional foreign markets, grossing $23.3 million to push its two-day international total to a stellar $36.5 million.

The Disney and Marvel Studios tentpole, returning Robert Downey Jr. in the title role, is pacing ahead of Iron Man 2 in many international markets, prompting box-office observers to speculate that the threequel is benefiting mightily from last year's The Avengers, which starred Downey's character opposite other Marvel superheroes.

Iron Man 3 is opening internationally a week ahead of its North American debut May 3, similar to Iron Man 2, which posted a foreign opening of about $100 million in 2010. Observers expect Iron Man 3 to post a foreign opening north of $110 million.

The superhero tentpole rolled out in a dozen countries Wednesday, taking in $13.2 million. On Thursday, it opened in another raft of markets. In Korea, the movie opened to $3 million -- the third-biggest opening of all time behind the final Pirates of the Caribbean movie and the third Transformers.

Iron Man 3 opened to $3.6 million in the U.K., just 9 percent behind Avengers. And in Argentina, it opened to $700,000, the second-biggest debut of all time behind the final Harry Potter pic.

By Sunday, the threequel will be playing in 80 percent of the international marketplace, minus the U.S., China and Russia. Disney said Friday that the Chinese release date has been shifted from May 3 to May 1.

Twitter: @PamelaDayM