The World

More Than 30 Countries Got to See Captain America Before America

Americans Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, and Chris Evans pose for photos at a shopping mall in Beijing on March 24, 2014. 

Photo by Mandy Wang/AFP/Getty Images

Want an indicator of the degree to which the international box office is where Hollywood makes hay these days? Consider the fact thatCaptain America: The Winter Soldier—a film with a protagonist so quintessentially American his name is America—opened in about 30 countries prior to its U.S. release today. This isn’t unusual for a Hollywood blockbuster in the era of globalization, though it is striking given the film’s old-school Cold War themes. (Captain America’s not like that effete globalist Superman.)

The Winter Soldier may have technically had its global premiere in Hollywood on March 13, but it’s been open in much of Europe for over a week and hit screens in a number of places, including Russia—homeland of the film’s villainous Winter Soldier—yesterday. The Wrap notes that “it will be interesting to see how it plays in Russia, where it opens on April 3—particularly given the recent tension between the U.S. and Russia over Crimea.”

The film also opens today in all-important China. A number of Hollywood blockbusters—notably Pacific Rimhave included China-friendly elements in recent years, in a seeming effort to court Chinese audiences. (Director Alfonso Cuarón denies this was done in Gravity.)

A previous Marvel movie, Iron Man 3, added entire new scenes and characters for its Chinese version, including megastar Fan Bingbing in a cameo, but the awkward additions were mocked by many Chinese viewers.

Russian audiences, apparently, get no such special treatment.