Hollywood movies open abroad, then come home

Sally Herships May 4, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: The movie “The Avengers” opens in the U.S. today. It’s already brought in more than $250 million around the world.

If you’re surprised that an American-made Disney flick is coming out in America second — here’s Sally Herships with an explanation.

Sally Herships: Why are movies opening in all these other countries before the U.S.? It’s a numbers thing. The rest of the world is:

Sharon Waxman: The big kahuna when it comes to the amount of money that’s flowing in through the box office.

Sharon Waxman is editor of the Wrap.com. She says almost 70 percent of tickets for American movies are bought overseas. You used to need American premiers to sell them. Not anymore.

Waxman: In Russia and in China they are building cineplexes at this incredibly rapid rate. These are places where there’s growth to be had.

So who gets the film first? Depends on culture and calendars. Waxman says Europeans don’t like to hit theaters in the summer. No studio wants to compete with another blockbuster. And sometimes it’s good to build sales momentum. “Battleship” doesn’t open here for another two weeks. But if you want to catch it this weekend, I hear it’s playing in Mumbai.

In New York, I’m Sally Herships for Marketplace.

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.