The Marvel Studios and Disney tentpole grossed $6 million, compared with $7 million for Deathly Hallows 2. And Avengers opened 214 percent ahead of Iron Man 2 ($1.8 million).
To boot, Avengers posted the biggest opening day ever in New Zealand, earning $800,000. The film also bowed to $2.9 million in France and an even stronger $3.7 million in Italy — the second-biggest opening day for Disney and the second-best for a Marvel title.
All told, Joss Whedon’s film earned an eye-popping $17.1 million from only 10 markets Wednesday, impressing studio rivals.
Avengers, which is beginning its foreign rollout a week ahead of its domestic launch May 4, likewise enjoyed a record start in Taiwan, scoring the best opening gross of all time with $1.2 million. And it scored the second-highest opening day in the Philippines, grossing $1.3 million.
The tentpole, which unites superheroes including Iron Man (Robert Downey), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), is setting down in a total of 42 foreign markets this weekend.
Imax is playing the film in many of its theaters overseas and enjoyed brisk business in those markets opening Wednesday, with many screens posting an average of $22,000.
Avengers is expected to be a box-office monster, both domestically and overseas. In North America, it could debut north of $150 million, based on the strength of prerelease tracking. MovieTickets.com reported Thursday that presales for Avengers is pacing ahead of Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger combined.