$100.2 million foreign box office is hopeful sign

“Iron Man 2″ has officially kick-started the summer box office with a boffo early opening overseas.

The roughly $100 million first weekend is a hopeful sign of a weighty B.O. summer, as Paramount and Marvel Entertainment debuted the comicbook sequel a week ahead of its U.S. launch on 6,764 screens in 53 overseas territories, where it claimed the top spot in all but one territory.

Par launched the film in some territories, including France and Australia, more than a week before its U.S. bow, with hopes to capitalize on the May Day holiday overseas, as well as lengthen playing time before the soccer World Cup in June. Par vice chair Rob Moore described the early launch as unprecedented among similar franchises.

The sequel overpowered its predecessor in the comparable 53 opening territories by a margin of 26%, based on local currencies.

Pic played on 48 Imax screens, accounting for $2.3 million of the total take, with a per-screen average of $47,000. The share beat Imax’s previous 2D record opener, “Transformers 2,” which launched with $2.1 million.

Top territories for “Iron Man 2″ were the U.K. with $12.2 million on 528 screens and South Korea with $10.8 million on 855. In Russia, the film became Par’s largest live-action opener, with an estimated $8.2 million on 650.

France led the opening charge Wednesday, taking $8.2 million for the weekend, followed Thursday by openings in Russia and in Australia that totaled $8.8 million for the weekend. The pic bowed Friday in the United Kingdom. Par will continue its expansion next week, adding markets including China and Germany. Japan is skedded to launch the film June 11.

Pic is the first Marvel release under Disney’s new ownership; Par is distributing overseas.

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