North American readers... ever wondered why the hell you're suddenly getting huge Blockbuster films like Avengers and Prometheus released later than the rest of the world?
Readers from the rest of the world... have you been wondering why here in Europe and elsewhere, we are being blessed with earlier release dates all of a sudden?
Well I've done some digging and come up with something resembling answers. After first getting the chance to see Avengers on the big screen a full week before the Americans, I began wondering just what the hell was going on with the distribution plan of this most anticipated of blockbusters. And then I find out we're getting Prometheus similarly early.
My first thought was that staggered distribution is beneficial as the studios can fly the talent out to premieres and press junkets in many different parts of the world and they can essentially follow the release of the film, promoting it as they go. But why not start with the USA as always used to be the case? And also isn't this good for pirates? Won't shoddy filmed copies from one country end up on street corners of some other country as soon as the film first gets shown on a big screen. I'm pretty sure this was the case when I stupidly purchased a dodgy copy of Alien VS Predator in Malaysia. The whooping, cheering and general enthusiasm of the audience watching the film on my dodgy copy meant it must have come from America! (I mean that as a compliment!)
The point is it's not just down to staggered distribution patterns as these have been happening for years and America always got their big blockbusters first followed by the rest of the world. So what's happened now to cause this (quite frankly) AWESOME shift in distribution tactics?
Rolling Stone report: 'It's somewhat unusual for a major commercial film like The Avengers
to open abroad ahead of its U.S. release, but in this case, it may have
worked in the film's favor. Given that American grosses for superhero
movies typically dwarf international grosses, it looks like The Avengers will be a massive domestic hit.'
So the idea may be to get international audiences to be more excited about the film if they see it first. As the international market is so huge, a film needs to get a fair shot at it and if it does not do well domestically, it may be less likely to gain success elsewhere.
The Hollywood Reporter said: 'Avengers posted the biggest opening day ever in New Zealand,
earning $800,000. The film also bowed to $2.9 million in France and an
even stronger $3.7 million in Italy -- the second-biggest opening day
for Disney and the second-best for a Marvel title.
All told, Joss Whedon's film earned an eye-popping $17.1 million from only 10 markets... Avengers, which is beginning its foreign rollout a week ahead
of its domestic launch May 4, likewise enjoyed a record start in Taiwan,
scoring the best opening gross of all time with $1.2 million. And it
scored the second-highest opening day in the Philippines, grossing $1.3
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