Two weeks ahead of its U.S. debut, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 begins its international roll-out this weekend. It opens in 15 markets, including major territories like Australia, Germany, Mexico, Spain and the U.K.
The sequel arrives less than two years after The Amazing Spider-Man, a franchise reboot that earned over $750 million worldwide. While that's an impressive tally, it marked a new low for the Spider-Man character.
That drop can be attributed in large part to declining interest in the U.S., where each movie has earned less than its predecessor (this one was down 22 percent). With franchise fatigue in full effect, it would be surprising if The Amazing Spider-Man 2 bucked this trend.
As is commonplace nowadays, it's up to international markets to pick up the slack. All four previous Spider-Man movies have earned over $400 million outside of the U.S., and the last one ranks second with $490 million.
For a handful of reasons, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 seems poised to top that figure. Franchise fatigue is rarely an issue overseas; for every market where there's declining interest, there's a developing market where demand is at an all-time high. This is particularly relevant in China, where the first movie made around $50 million. While that's a very good total—in fact, it was the movie's biggest market—it was held back a bit by going head-to-head with The Dark Knight Rises.
The schedule seems a bit more accommodating this time around. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is absolutely a hit, but it also isn't an all-consuming one. Meanwhile, Godzilla doesn't open anywhere until May 14th, which is a full 10 days after The Amazing Spider-Man 2's final release date.
It also helps that the movie itself is more international-friendly than the first installment. The action is bigger, the effects are better, and the villains are more appealing: The Lizard just can't compare to Electro, Green Goblin and the Rhino.
Looking at other sequels, it's hard to imagine The Amazing Spider-Man 2 declining more than 15 percent or so (roughly $420 million). Meanwhile, without adding 3D, it's nearly impossible to increase more than 35 percent or so (around $660 million). Splitting the difference here, it's fair to expect The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to wind up in the $500-to-$600 million range.
That should be good enough for Sony, which has a lot riding on The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The studio already has two sequels on the schedule—one in 2016 and one in 2018—and there's been a lot of discussion about a stand-alone movie focused on villains (the Sinister Six).
Looking ahead, The Amazing Spider-Man expands to Italy, Japan, Russia and South Korea next weekend. Along with the U.S., it reaches its final markets (Brazil, France, China) on the first weekend of May.
*Note: A previous version of this story forgot to mention The Smurfs 2.