Like the megalomaniacal android for which it's named, "Avengers: Age of Ultron" embarked on a bid for world domination over the weekend. Opening in 44 international markets, Marvel's latest superhero team-up grossed a staggering $200.2 million and became the No. 1 movie in all the territories in which it appeared.
Disney, Marvel's corporate parent, said the international opening numbers were up about 44% from the original "Avengers" movie in 2012 when comparing the same territories at today's exchange rates. "The Avengers" ranks as the third-highest-grossing film of all time.
The biggest "Ultron" market was South Korea, where the film took in $28.2 million — up from a $10.8-million opening weekend for the first "Avengers," according to Box Office Mojo. Perhaps not coincidentally, some key scenes in the sequel were shot in and around Seoul, and director Joss Whedon and actors Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans and Claudia Kim stopped by on the recent international press tour.
FULL COVERAGE: 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'
Iron Man and the gang also received a hero's welcome in Britain. There "Ultron" earned $27.3 million, a slight uptick from the $25.7 million for "The Avengers" three years ago.
The sequel took in $16.2 million in Russia (putting it head to head with the "Furious 7" opening weekend), $13.1 million each in Brazil and Australia, and $12.4 million in France. The French, however, represented a notable dip from the $19-million haul of the first film.
As "Ultron" approaches its domestic debut on Friday (projected at more than $200 million), it has also yet to open in some key international markets. The film will bow Thursday in Mexico and Spain (among others), where "The Avengers" opened to $17.4 million and $7.1 million, respectively.
The big one is China, where "Ultron" won't open until May 12. Whereas the original "Avengers" earned $86 million during its theatrical run there, China has since exploded as an international market with an appetite for Hollywood blockbusters, and pundits expect the sequel to surpass its predecessor easily.