‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’ Storms Europe – Is ‘Avengers’ Effect Still in Play?

'Captain America: Winter Soldier' Storms Europe – Is 'Avengers' Effect Still in Play?

Marvel sequel opens Wednesday overseas, hoping to ride “The Avengers” coat tails to top of the box office

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” storms the box office starting Wednesday, when Disney rolls out out its third post-”Avengers” Marvel superhero sequel across much of Europe.

If the first two post-”Avengers” films (“Iron Man 3” and “Thor: The Dark World”) are an indicator, the followup to “Captain America: The First Avenger” should out-gross the original by plenty. Especially if it receives a boost from the 2012 blockbuster “Marvel's The Avengers.”

Disney is betting that it will, opening “The Winter Soldier” overseas a week ahead of its April 4 debut in North America. It's tracking for an $80 million-plus opening, which would be the year's biggest domestic debut.

See also: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Gets Nostalgic IMAX Poster (Photo)

“Audiences have had a lot of great exposure with the introduction of Captain America in the 2011 film and an integral role in ‘Marvel's The Avengers,’ which is the third biggest film of all time,” Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis told TheWrap Tuesday. “The Marvel films are like interlocking puzzle pieces, so we expect to see increased interest.”

The original 2011 film was a hit. “Captain America,” distributed by Paramount and produced for $140 million, opened to an impressive $65 million in North America. It went on to take in $176 million domestically and another $194 million from overseas.

That was pre-”Avengers,” though — and that 2012 film's $1.5 billion global haul greatly changed the game for all subsequent films in Marvel's cinematic universe.

Also read: ‘Noah’ Opens as Strong No. 1 at Box Office in Mexico, Korea

“Iron Man 3” and “Dark World” played more like follow-ups to Joss Whedon's team-up film than their originals. “Iron Man 3,” the first Marvel movie after “The Avengers,” nearly doubled the $623 million worldwide haul of “Iron Man 2” with $1.21 billion. And last November, the Thor sequel brought in $644 globally, compared to the $449 million that Kenneth Brannagh's original film took in.

Chris Evans returns as the red-white-and-blue crusader Steve Rogers in “Winter Soldier,” which carries a $170 million production budget. Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie and Robert Redford co-star. The screenwriters are Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (“Thor: The Dark World”), working from a story by comic book writer Ed Brubaker, and the directors are Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, taking over for Joe Johnston.

The plot features Rogers struggling to embrace his role in the modern world, while battling the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier. Given that story line, it will be interesting to see how it plays in Russia, where it opens on April 3 — particularly given the recent tension between the U.S. and Russia over Crimea.

Also read: ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Review: Superheroic, Yes, But Smart and Subversive Too

The film is quickly making headlines around the globe, as its stars build buzz attending red-carpet premieres last week in London and Paris — all ahead of a stop in China.

Reviews are also in “Winter Soldier's” box-office favor; they've have been especially strong for a superhero movie. And there is still room to grow.

But both Disney and the industry are keeping an eye on how the film plays in European markets. ”Captain America: The First Avenger” did just OK in Europe. The leading market was the U.K., where it brought in $14.7 million, followed by France ($10.2 million), Italy ($8.6 million) and Spain ($7.7 million).

“The first film was pretty soft in Europe,” said Bruce Nash, founder of box office tracking service The Numbers. “I think it will do much better than that this time around, thanks to ‘The Avengers,’ but my benchmark would be for an opening around $10 million in the U.K.”

“First Avenger's” biggest foreign markets proved to be in Latin America. It brought in $20.6 million from Brazil and $20.2 million from Mexico. The bulk of the rollouts for those markets will come on April 4, the same weekend that “The Winter Soldier” opens in China and Russia.

See also‘Captain America 2' Clip: Chris Evans Gets His First Taste of ‘The Winter Soldier’ (Video)

Another aspect of the “Avengers” effect? The Marvel blockbuster seems to be offsetting any worries that foreign exhibitors’ might have about an anti-American backlash.

When the original came out, Paramount gave overseas distributors the option of calling it “The First Avenger,” rather than “Captain America: The First Avenger.” Only three countries — Russia, Ukraine and South Korea — opted to go with the shorter handle.

Disney's Hollis said he didn't have any concerns about that.

“Our regional teams know their markets best, so we defer to their expertise when it comes to titling our films for international territories,” he said. 

  • MaStEr_MoLd

    At this point I'm curious to see Marvel's first flop. Best bet is on Guardians of the Galaxy…but that movie looks like it'll draw crowds just for the gun-toting raccoon. I know I'll be there. Winter Soldier, too. Avenger 2, too.

    • tt

      why a flop?

  • Michael__Rassbender

    Its the best Marvel film so far IMO. Very entertaining from start to finish. This is not so much continuing from Avengers as it is the first step towards Avengers 2 : Age of Ultron. Stay for the mid credits scene folks.

  • fred

    Can't wait to see this, I've been hearing so many great things about this film and it sounds like Marvel really has another winner on their hands with ‘Winter Soldier'. Only bad thing about this movie is I have to wait until April 4th to see it lol. I expect this film to increase it's box office numbers from the previous film just like ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Thor’ did, I also suspect that it's box office turn out in Europe will be a different story this time as it should dominate in that territory just like any other market it opens in.

  • ateofi

    I had high hopes for this one after seeing encouraging tarilers and reading positive reviews. I was very disappointed with after both “phase 2” movies. Iron Man 3 was awful and Thor 2 was underwhelming.
    Finally we got the movie that combined good story with some unexpected twists and excellent action – by the way I encourage anyone to see the movie in 2D.
    Not to spoil too much the story centers around the dark secret and conspiracy within SHIELD which endangers lives of milions of people. The movie touches the issue of how much freedom would people sacrifice in the name of “safety”? It is about how insecure we are if advanced technology is used by wrong people. That wrong person in CA2 is Aleksander Pierce played by Robert Redford and his presence brings “class” and necessary gravitas to the role. His addition to the Marvel universe is very welcome and conjures up associations with old spy thrillers like “Three days of condor”. The whole main cast gives nuansed performances and characters are better developed. Steve is still a noble though disilusioned hero. Black widow is sexy but also smart and cunning. Winter Soldier is super menacing as dangerous assasin but there are redeeming qualities in him. We have also Frank Grillo as menacing SHIELD agent Rimlow and Cobbie Smoulders as Maria Hill. And of course Nick Fury is back but with less screen time and more vulnerable than we remember him to be. And finally we have new people: Anthony Mackie and Emily van Camp though I thought they would have bigger roles. Still Falcon was quite entertaining and had some of the best lines – by the way his jump into the helicopter was most over the top action scene of this film. Coming to the action scenes – they were very intense and fast – unfortunately I had to watch the movie in 3D which made everything a bit blurry. Some shaky camera here and there did not help either. See the movie in 2D of you get the chance. But hand to combats between Buck and Steve were very well done. Both actors Chris and Sebastian are in excellent physical condition.
    What is also worth mentioning is that while pushing the story forward CA2 still has humor and lighthearted tone in some scenes even though it is generally more brutal and darker in tone than Avengers or Iron Man movies.
    This movie has set the bar high for the next Marvel installments.

  • Sang Kang

    One thing I don't get why didn't Captain America just phone Stark or one of many Avenger buddy and say, he man, I need some help, I need you to fly in with your suit and kick some butt… That's what buddies do, when in need they help out and where the heck was Hawk, wasn't he a full time employee of S.H.I.E.D.?