'Iron Man 2' opens No. 1 in six markets

Marvel sequel brings in $2.2 million from 960 venues

Marvel Studios' "Iron Man 2" launched internationally Wednesday with No. 1 openings in six markets for a total $2.2 million from 960 venues.

That represented an auspicious a per-screen tally of $2,292, considered an encouraging average for the territories involved. France led the way for distributor Paramount, contributing $1.6 million on a day marked by the balmiest temperatures of the year locally.

The Robert Downey Jr. starrer also unspooled in Sweden, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and French-speaking Switzerland, with additional territories to bow the pic into the weekend.

Paramount didn't break down first-day territorial grosses but said the opening in France was 11% ahead of the comparable opening figure of 2008's "Iron Man," which premiered "on the eve of a public holiday."

The original "Iron Man" grossed of $265 million internationally and $318.3 million domestically.

Beginning Thursday, Paramount debuts "Iron Man 2" in 55 overseas markets, including such heavyweight territories as the U.K., Australia, Korea, Russia, Germany, Brazil, Italy, Mexico, Spain and Hong Kong.

Paramount rushed "Iron Man 2" into the foreign market a week before the film's domestic bow on May 7 to provide the film longer theatrical playing time before the monthlong World Cup begins in South Africa on June 11. The most widely watched sports event in the world, the soccer tournament draws a huge male viewership, a key demo for the "Iron Man" sequel and many other summer tentpoles.

Paramount is distributing, as it also handled the original "Iron Man." But the sequel represents the first Marvel theatrical release since Disney acquired the company.