Marvel Studios and Disney's Iron Man 3 has blasted into the stratosphere overseas, opening to $195.3 million from 42 markets to beat last year's global blockbuster The Avengers, which debuted to $185.1 million internationally.
Box office observers agree that Iron Man 3 is playing more like a sequel to last summer's The Avengers - which featured a myriad of Marvel superheroes, including Downey's Iron Man - than a follow-up to Iron Man 2, which posted a foreign opening of roughly $100 million in 2010.
Iron Man 3 broke a slew of records, scoring the biggest weekend ever in Argentina, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. It also scored the top Marvel opening in another raft of markets.
Teaming Robert Downey Jr. with franchise newcomer, director Shane Black, Iron Man 3 opened at the international box office ahead of its May 3 North American launch, as Iron Man 2 did in 2010. Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle also are returning cast members.
Iron Man 3, which has been well reviewed so far, is playing in roughly 80 percent of the foreign marketplace, excluding major markets Russia and China (it opens in China May 1).
The tentpole broke numerous records for 113 IMAX theaters, which took in $7.2 million for a per screen average of $64,000, coming in ahead of any Marvel title, including Avengers.