Strong start for ‘Iron Man 2’ overseas

Pic nabs $10 million in its first two days

Summer has already started at the foreign box office, where Paramount and Marvel Entertainment’s “Iron Man 2” cumed a robust $10 million in its first two days from 3,200 screens in 21 territories.

Sequel, reuniting director Jon Favreau with Robert Downey Jr., doesn’t open in the U.S. until May 7.

“Iron Man 2” opened in 21 territories Wednesday and Thursday, including major markets France, Australia, Korea and Russia.

Pic grossed $1.7 million in Australia, and the same amount in Korea. Opening day gross for Russia was $1.3 million. Sequel opened to $1.6 million in France, 11% ahead of the original film.

Friday, “Iron Man” expands into 32 more territories. That excludes Japan, China, India, Turkey, Finland, Germany and Austria, where the sequel rolls out later.

“Iron Man 2’s” total opening location count is 6,500.

Generally speaking, a tentpole’s domestic launch is the driver. But in this case, Paramount wanted to get in an extra weekend at the foreign box office, so that “Iron Man 2” has two weeks of play before Universal’s opens Ridley Scott’s Russell Crowe-topliner “Robin Hood.”

“Iron Man 2” is expected to do substantial biz as it opens overseas, but it could be hampered by the calendar in terms of matching the $98 million earned by “Iron Man” in its first weekend. In 2008, the May Day holiday fell on a Thursday, making for a long weekend throughout Europe.

This year, May Day falls on a Saturday. Some countries have declared Monday a holiday as a result, including the U.K., Spain and Russia, but most have not.

“Iron Man 2” is the first Marvel pic released in theaters since the company was bought by Disney. However, Par retains distribution rights.