Box Office Report: 'Iron Man 3' Opens to Massive $198.4 Million Overseas, Bigger Than 'Avengers'

Marvel Entertainment
"Iron Man 3"

UPDATED: The first tentpole of summer 2013 rolled out at the international box office a week ahead of its May 3 North American debut.

Marvel Studios and Disney's Iron Man 3 has blasted into the stratosphere overseas, opening to $198.4. million from 42 markets to beat last year's global blockbuster The Avengers, which debuted to $185.1 million internationally.

Box office observers agree that Iron Man 3 is playing more like a sequel to last summer's The Avengers -- which featured a myriad of Marvel superheroes, including Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man -- than a follow-up to Iron Man 2, which posted a foreign opening of roughly $100 million in 2010.

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The mammoth foreign opening bodes well for the tentpole's domestic prospects, and is already whipping up speculation as to whether the threequel can match or better Avengers in North America. Avengers debuted to $207.4 million domestically, the top number of all time.

Disney president of worldwide distribution Dave Hollis didn't want to speculate as to whether Iron Man 3 could reach that number but said the film is clearly off to a stellar start. "To say we are beyond encouraged is an understatement," he said.

Iron Man 3, another victory for Marvel Studios' president Kevin Feig, is breaking a slew of records overseas, scoring the biggest opening weekend ever Asia Pacific and Latin America, and in individual countries including Argentina, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. It also scored the top Marvel opening in another raft of markets.

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Teaming Downey with franchise newcomer, director Shane Black, Iron Man 3 opened at the international box office ahead of its May 3 North American launch, as Iron Man 2 did in 2010. Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle also are returning cast members. 

Iron Man 3, which has been well received by critics so far, is playing in roughly 80 percent of the foreign marketplace, excluding major markets Russia and China, where DMG Entertainment put up some of the financing.

It saw its biggest gross in the U.K. ($21.5 million), followed by Korea ($19.2 million), Australia ($18.4 million), Mexico ($16.1 million), France ($14.7 million), Brazil ($12.3 million), Italy ($11.2 million), Taiwan ($8.4 million), Philippines ($7.4 million), Japan ($5.4 million), India ($5.2 million), Spain ($5 million), Hong Kong ($4.9 million), Malaysia ($4.6 million) and Indonesia ($4.5 million), among other markets.

The tentpole broke numerous records for 113 IMAX theaters, which took in $7.2 million for a per screen average of $64,000, coming in ahead of any Marvel title, including Avengers.

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Below, the cast of Iron Man 3 talks with THR on the red carpet at the film's premiere: