With a name like Captain America, you might assume the character would harbor some bias toward the United States. The character may. But his corporate patrons have other priorities. Captain America: Civil War, the latest entry in the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe, will open today in foreign markets. American audiences have to wait until next week.
To understand why foreign audiences get the first look, we turn to an analysis from when the trend began a few years ago. Written then, from CBS News:
“We’ve reached the point now where a blockbuster film can make as much as 80 percent of its overall box office gross outside of the United States,” says Dave Karger, chief correspondent for Fandango.com. “So it makes sense that the studios are catering to the overseas markets by releasing many of their biggest tent-pole movies internationally first and even adding special footage in the most important markets.”
Paul Dergarbedian, box office analyst for Hollywood.com, says the same thing, releasing movies overseas ahead of the U.S. rakes in more cash worldwide — and it helps to build hype for the U.S. In other words, don’t underestimate the power of cinema jealousy.
“First and most importantly it builds excitement in the countries where the film is not yet playing. In other words, news of blockbuster returns overseas only serve to raise awareness and excitement in North America and as such I believe lead to bigger returns once the film lands stateside,” says Dergarbedian…
That’s good news for those anticipating the new Captain America film. The studio is confident enough in their product to assume that the foreign response will draw American audiences to the theater. The release follows press screenings which took place weeks ago, an unusually far time in advance, which produced rave reviews. Put simply, the drawn-out anticipation signals a show worth seeing.