Disney’s ‘Avengers’ Sets Records in Four Overseas Markets

Walt Disney Co.’s “Marvel’s The Avengers” broke opening-day records in four overseas markets, an indication the studio has a hit.

The super-hero film featuring Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johannson opened in 10 markets yesterday. It had record first-day grosses in New Zealand and Taiwan, and set new marks for a Disney release in Australia and Italy, the Burbank, California-based company said today in a statement. “The Avengers” took in a total of $17.1 million internationally, Disney said. The movie opens May 4 in the U.S.

Disney would welcome a hit after announcing last month that it will take a $200 million write-down on the March science fiction release “John Carter.” Film studio Chairman Rich Ross resigned on April 20. A successor wasn’t named. The studio expects to post a quarterly loss of as much as $120 million as a result of the flop.

Foreign markets represent a growing share of ticket sales for U.S. studios, according to the Washington-based Motion Picture Association of America. Worldwide box office sales rose 3.2 percent to $32.6 billion last year, while the U.S. and Canadian portion fell 3.8 percent to $10.2 billion, the trade group said last month.

Movietickets.com, which sells tickets in advance for U.S. theaters, said it is selling more admissions to “The Avengers” than all previous releases from Disney’s Marvel unit, including “Iron Man 2.” That film grossed $623 million worldwide in 2010, according to Box Office Mojo.

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