Could 'Captain America: The First Avenger' have an overseas problem?

captain_america_3

Image Credit: Jay Maidment/Marvel Studios

Thanks to a recent New York Times story, the Web is buzzing about the fact that the upcoming Marvel Studios movie Captain America: The First Avenger will be called simply The First Avenger in three countries: Russia, Ukraine, and South Korea. The news isn’t really new — EW, among others, reported the title change back in January — but it does present an opportunity to consider how the film may perform overseas. After all, Captain America first appeared 70 years ago as an intentionally political anti-Nazi warrior who wore his patriotism on his sleeve… well, he wears it all over. Will foreign moviegoers jump at the chance to watch such an old-fashioned slice of Americana?

The answer looks like it might be “yes.” For one thing, while three countries opted to discard Captain America’s name, everyone else decided to keep the original U.S. title. “That bodes well for the property,” says a source close to the film. “It shows the strength of the Captain America brand.” Paramount, which is releasing the movie domestically, allowed its international distributors to choose how to market the film on a country-by-country basis. And the fact that all but three countries opted for Captain America to stay in the title seems to indicate that these distributors weren’t overly concerned about possible anti-American sentiments in foreign markets.

Also, let’s face it, it’s hard to dislike the guy. Behind that Adonis physique and bulletproof shield is an ordinary Good Samaritan who just wants to help out. “He’s a symbol of freedom, strength, and determination,” points out an executive at another studio, “and those are qualities audiences around the world can identify with.” Or as Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee explains: “The movie is not going to be anti any country or any group of people except the bad guys, who could be any race or creed or nationality.”

However, it must be pointed out that international audiences generally don’t embrace the superhero genre to the extent that American audiences do. While fantasy franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean and Harry Potter routinely collect at least two-thirds of their worldwide revenue from foreign markets, superhero movies like The Dark Knight, Spider-Man, and Iron Man seem to top out around 50 percent. If Captain America‘s overseas proportion finishes significantly below 50 percent, then one could say that the film’s foreign distributors potentially misjudged moviegoers’ willingness to embrace Mr. Red, White, and Blue. But, at this point, that doesn’t seem a likely scenario.

Instead, Paramount should be losing the majority of its sleep over the film’s domestic release on July 22 — just one week after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Captain America may have fought against the Nazis, but he’s never had to contend with a teenage wizard before.

Read more:
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Check out the awesome retro ‘Captain America’ trailer

Comments (88 total) Add your comment
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  • Phil

    At least here in Europe he ranks way behind Batman, Spiderman, Superman (who’s also mega patriotic), Hulk and nowadays Iron Man (who wasn’t that known prior to the RDJR movies) – how did Thor do internationally, cause he’s not well known througout Europe as well. I think that can be a hint at Cpt. America’s chances

    • MAN

      Actually, Thor did better overseas than it did in the US. But one might want to chalk that up to its fantasy elements, i.e., all the Asgard scenes. My guess is that Cap does the inverse of Thor’s Domestic/International ratio.

      • wsugar

        Who cares about Europe and the rest of those backwater dumps. America is ALL that matters.

      • Tim

        Who cares about comicbooks that much anyways?

      • Jenn

        This article is rambling load of trash insipidly designed to provoke jingoism from half-witted simpletons.

      • Benlinus

        ^^^^^ That’s what she said.

      • Angel

        Thor was always going to be a hard sell. People probably knew more about him from school, not the comic book. Even I had no idea what the movie would be about. Luckily, they manage to make it interesting. But imagine how many Americans didn’t give the movie a chance based on the same trepidation I had.

    • Benlinus

      Why wouldn’t Thor do better over seas, he originated in Northern Europe as a god in one of last European areas to be subjugated by Christianity. If Thor didn’t do well in Europe I would be very surprised.

    • bob

      Erm.. Thor is based on a Scandinavian god…

      • Benlinus

        Heya Captain Redundant I just covered that in my comment above yours by pointing out that he was a Northern European god. By the way Thor was not limited to just Scandinavian regions; his major worship area was located at a specific tree in Germany which last I checked was not a Scandinavian country.

    • Angel

      Thor was born in Europe. I’m sure they’re very familiar with the core character. Captain America will break even in the States. The foreign market will be extra icing on the cake. From this article it would seem that other nations just don’t understand what superheroes are. That in itself says a lot about them. The fact that they can’t personify their values into characters from which stories are built on tells us they’re civilizations are without mortar. Other countries are simply held together by ethnic allegiances. Sad.

      • Angel

        *their civilizations*

  • Shashank

    harry potter will crush captain america.not anything against captain america but just saying a fact

    • m

      I imagine that Harry Potter will crush almost everything this year.

      • wsugar

        Harry Potter would fall over drunk.

    • Annette

      Correct @Shashank this is the last Harry Potter movie so it will get a lot of money! However, Captain America will also make a very good amount of money too.

  • KC

    Even Chris Evans looks disgusted…

    • wsugar

      He just saw the new Harry Potter film.

      • Justin P.

        Haha. Well played, wsugar,

  • Person

    Nobody is going to see Captain America because they’ll either be at HP8, or crying that HP is over, or not wanting to drop another $50 after they spent $50 on HP8.

    • Jay

      Not everybody is going to see HP8, for your information. I am still waiting for HP7 on Netflix, and I have no desire to see HP8 until Netflix can mail me the Blu-Ray, either

      • Reg

        Yes, Jay, not not everyone is sad.

      • connor

        Jay’s rationing seems really dumb.

      • connor

        WTF does netflix have to do with anything.

      • Darrin

        Jay – go find a Redbox, stop waiting for Netflix, they can take forever.

    • Jen

      Who is spending $50 to see Harry Potter? I already bought my 3D ticket and it was only $20 – INCLUDING a showing of DH Part 1!

      • ree

        I was wondering that too. I don’t know if this is what the op was referring too, but if you are taking kids to see it, the cost adds up quick.

      • Mike

        I am wondering why people keep wasting money on 3D???? Honestly I just don’t see it adding to the movie going experience, I am not that it never will but right now it’s a waste of money (IMO).

      • UGH

        2 movies I only found worthwhile in 3D: Avatar and Monster House

      • Bfleet

        UGH, add Transformers to the list. If you’re going to watch crap blow up, you might as well watch crap blow up in 3D.

      • Person

        Well, I have a big family. A wife and four kids. We only go to the theaters about twice a year, everything else can wait for netflix. All six of us are die hard Harry potter fans, and this is a special treat for the kids (and me, too). Tickets are $10 each for 2-D, but none of us have ever seen 3-D so we want to try it at least once if it ends up as a fad. So $13 a ticket times 6 people is $78 and we’ll probably drop another $15 on assorted snacks and popcorn. The closest theater playing 3-D is a thirty minute drive, so $10 round trip on gas. $78 + $15 + $10 = $103 total. Yikes. This a very special treat for my family.

      • Regina George

        Your family will be very happy with you :p

  • walt

    Seems like they could market Captain America overseas as first and foremost a wwii movie. That’s as international as it gets, right? And honestly, I think the historical aspect is also what makes this movie look fresher and more promising than the underperforming comic book stuff we’ve seen lately.

  • Danrydell

    Captain America is not that popular here in America, considering mutant-based popularity.

    But as someone else pointed out, neither was Iron Man before Robert Downey Jr, came along.

  • wgalvira

    Any fascist dictatorship crap of a country that hates the word ” America” , can go ” F ” themselves as far as I’m concerned.

    • Lala

      You go f*ck yourself, racist *ss!

      • wgalvira

        Dear Lala. Clearly ,the total ” a” hole here is you. Furthermore , you clearly don’t belong anywhere near the U S A.

      • Matt

        Hi, I’m “lala” and I don’t know what “racist” means. Herpederrrrr

      • Lala

        @Matt, it’s Lala not lala, and YOU are the one who doesn’t know what racist means. Maybe you should look in the mirror, then you will see a racist for yourself.

        @wgalvira, thank god I don’t live anywhere near that stinking hellhole that is the US. BTW, I never used the word a-hole.

    • Justin P.

      Haha, wgal. I like your spirit.

      • @Justin P.

        Haha, I like that fact that you’re a racist and a moron.

  • January Jones’ Acting Ability

    I would like to comment here, but I don’t really exist!

    • Don Draper

      Shut up, Betty.

      • Cris

        This is the best exchange I’ve seen on an EW thread in months. Bravo Don and JJAA!

    • DaDude

      With a rack like that, no acting ability is necessary!

  • ST

    Given its strong Americana push lately in previews (at least the ones I’ve seen), I think it will do extremely well when it comes out. HP will do well it’s first weekend out since a lot of the fans of the franchise will see it the first weekend out. I think it will hold up well but Captain America will beat it the second weekend. It’s too bad Transformers claimed the 4th of July opening b/c it would have served the Captain well to open on Independence weekend.

    • ST

      And what is wrong with the picture above? That doesn’t even look like Chris Evans.

    • Demond

      Agreed.I think everyone will jump at the chance to see the final Potter the first week.Captain will be number one the weekend of July 22nd.

    • Angel

      I’ve only been to two Potter movies and fell asleep during both. Prior to that the only other movie I’ve fallen asleep to was Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. So Potter broke a record for me. (It’s just not a good record to break.)

  • Shameless

    The promos have been Rocketeer good; the cinematography looks amazing. I’m not a what’s his face fan but he looks very handsome and winning.

  • Lala

    God, everything about this movie looks atrocious.

    • Not Lala

      Except everything in the previews, which looks awesome.

      • @Not Lala

        No, it doesn’t.

      • DDubSolider

        The Harley Davidson Museum here in Milwuakee where I live is showing the motorcycle and the shield and some other props that were actually used in the movie, so SUCK IT OTHER LAME-OS!! I don’t like captain btw and I think it’ll bomb and b horrible!!! Oh some of transformers 3 was filmed where I live. The Art Museum in milwuakee Wisconsin was set as the hotchkiss gould building! Cool rite?

  • blakbyrds

    I am so disappointed that Marvel didn’t take a stand and tell those 3 countries that if they didn’t like the title then the movie would not be distributed there. If they are so anti-America what are they going to do for the entire movie when they call him that? If you don’t like America in the title would you really see the movie? Bad move marvel, bad move.

    • Channing

      I doubt Marvel/Paramount would want to alienate two countries — Russia and South Korea — that combined to contribute more than 10 percent of the international box office for ‘Thor’ and about 17 percent of the int’l take for ‘Iron Man 2.’

    • Angel

      Who cares? Russia has always been a sour puss to everyone. Nothing good has come from there. Have you ever seen Solaris? And South Korea is that malcontent kid you keep defending from bullies even though you know they’re a prick.

  • wgalvira

    I am realy glad I don’t have to live in an apparent total piece of crap country like Russia , the Ukraine, or South Korea .

    • wgalvira

      Gee! I wonder what the citizenship of those countries is waiting for to have a long overdue revolt against their atrocious government. Maybe, I guess , they just rather continue to make more babies to continue making more generations of slaves to their government.

      • wgalvira

        I would personally love it if Marvel refused to release the movies in those countries, and every patriotic American at home pay triple the normal ticket price just to make an important point.

      • Lala

        You just proved you’re the racist here, moron.

      • Regina George

        Bye-bye, Lala. Time to go back to that nice comfy home under a rock.

      • wgalvira

        I almost feel sorry for hopelessly ignorant people all over the world , like Lala, who have absolutely no clue as to the meaning and importance of Justice, Peace, and Democracy.

  • chad

    This movie looks awesome. I couldn’t care less about Harry Potter…it’s just another weekend before I get to see The Captain in my book. And it would have been ideal to open the movie on July 4 weekend…I said that from the beginning. Maybe Transformers 3 claimed the date early on, but it’s a shame Captain America couldn’t open on Independence Day weekend…talk about a natural tie-in. Anyway…I think it will still do Thor-type numbers…end with around $180 million domestic…maybe $325 million worldwide. Not sure about production costs, but it should gurantee a “modern day” sequel. If a movie gets $175 million+, it’s a hit any way you slice it…unless you spent $200 million on production like they did with Green Lantern and can barely pull in half that domestically.

  • al

    Cap is not a movie that is alone. It is a thread that runs through the marvel universe. From Ironman through Thor and to the Avengers. Those types of Marvel produced movies usually do well because they are well made and paint a larger picture that is still unfolding.

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