Marvel's "The Avengers" debuted at No. 1 in 39 international markets over the weekend, grossing $178.4 million just days ahead of its U.S. premiere on Friday.
That's the ninth-highest overseas opening ever, a feat made more impressive by the fact that the Joss Whedon-directed film won't roll out in China and Russia until this week, and in Japan until August. Sony's "Spider-Man 3," at No. 4 on the list, is the only superhero movie to perform better, snaring $230.5 million in its first weekend in 2007.
"You hope that the magnitude of this kind of opening sends a signal that this is a for-everyone film," Dave Hollis, Disney's head of distribution, told The Associated Press. "You can't put up these kinds of numbers if it's just for guys or just for the fans. These numbers say that it is for everyone, 8 to 80."
The movie earned $24.7 million in the United Kingdom, marking Disney's best-ever three-day weekend there. It also brought in $19.7 million in Australia, a record $15.9 million in Mexico and $12.9 million in South Korea. In addition to Mexico, "The Avengers" also scored the biggest-ever openings in New Zealand, Taiwan, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Peru and the Philippines.
Pre-release tracking puts the ensemble film on a path to open north of $150 million in the United States and Canada, somewhere in the range of "The Hunger Games" and "The Dark Knight."
"The Avengers" stars Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as the Incredible Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Clark Gregg as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson, Cobie Smulders as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill and Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd as Dr. Selvig.