Disney / Marvel
By the time we get to see "Thor: The Dark World" in theaters Friday, practically the rest of the world will have had a chance to see it.
While the "Thor" sequel comes to the U.S. November 8, the film debuted in 36 locations including the UK, Germany, Australia, and Russia as early as October 30 — a full week and a half prior to opening stateside.
If you're wondering why you can't get your Thor and Loki fix until Friday, it's not that surprising the sequel isn't out yet here.
This is a formula that has been working for the Marvel movies for some time
Going all the way back to 2008's "Iron Man" Marvel films have generally rolled out a few days, if not a week ahead of time abroad.
A few recent examples:
|Movie||U.S. Release Date||U.K. release date|
|"Iron Man 2"||May 7, 2010||April 30, 2010|
|"The Avengers"||May 4, 2012||April 26, 2012|
|"Iron Man 3"||May 3, 2013||April 25, 2013|
It all comes down to money — the foreign box office is more valuable than domestic
Hate to break it to you Americans, but the domestic box office — primarily that of the United States — is not the most important factor in determining a dud at theaters anymore.
"After Earth" made $60 million domestically, but surged with $183 million overseas.
The global box office has been shaping Hollywood for some time.
As of 2011, the Motion Picture Association of America said 67 percent of box office revenue came from outside the US. That number is now just under 70 percent.
So far, the Disney and Marvel sequel has already made $109.4 million overseas .
Clearly, Marvel doesn't need to cater to the U.S. by showing us a film before the rest of the world. We'll see the film regardless of release.
As of March, China is the largest international box-office market. Since then, Hollywood has appeared to begin catering to its worldwide audiences. "Iron Man 3" had additional scenes filmed solely for Chinese audiences. "Transformers 4" has been filming in Hong Kong and China.
Release dates are usually predetermined way ahead of time
Studios usually have specific calendar dates booked year over year for releases.
As seen above, ever since Disney acquired rights for Marvel, they have released a hugely-anticipated movie every first weekend of May, allowing them the title of first big film of the summer.
Naturally, if the system ain't broke, don't fix it.
In recent years, the Mouse House has started occupying the first weekend of March as another potentially large opportunity at the box office after 2010's "Alice in Wonderland" grossed more than $1 billion. This year, similarly marketed "Oz the Great and Powerful" was released.
Every studio does this.
For Warner Bros. one of those coveted release dates is mid-July. That's when the studio released its latter two billion dollar "Dark Knight" movies. Come 2015, it's no coincidence July 17 belongs to the big "Batman vs. Superman" film.
In the case of "Thor," it's clear that Disney is now trying to make early November another big slot for a winter blockbuster. Before Pixar's "The Good Dinosaur" was pushed back a year, one of Disney's upcoming Marvel movies, "Ant-Man" was set for a November 6, 2015 release. That movie will now be out in theaters July 31, 2015.
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