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Ahead of U.S. debut, 'Avengers' opens with $178.4 million abroad

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"The Avengers" is set to dominate the domestic box office next weekend with a massive opening of over $150 million -- but overseas, the film's ticket sales are already soaring.

The superhero action flick debuted in 39 foreign countries last week and has since raked in a phenomenal $178.4 million, according to an estimate from distributor Walt Disney Studios. By comparison, Universal Pictures' "Battleship" passed the $170-million mark overseas this weekend after three weeks in international release.

The movie, which was produced by Disney's Marvel Entertainment for about $220 million, brings together a cavalcade of beloved comic-book heroes played by A-listers such as Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson and Jeremy Renner. The film opened in the No. 1 position in every country it debuted in over the weekend, and had the biggest opening weekend ever in locations such as Mexico, Brazil and Taiwan.

This weekend, the film performed best in the United Kingdom, where it had the strongest opening yet for a superhero flick with $24.7 million. The picture has yet to open in Russia, China and Japan, where the movie is expected to do colossal business.

Marvel's films typically resonate more strongly internationally than domestically. Last summer, about $268 million of the $449.3 million worldwide gross for "Thor" came from abroad. Even "Captain America," which obviously has more patriotic themes, did slightly better overseas: It made $191 million internationally, compared with $176 million in the United States and Canada.

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-- Amy Kaufman
twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Chris Hemsworth, left, stars with Chris Evans in "The Avengers." Credit: Walt Disney Studios

 
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