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This may be slightly off topic, but I'm sure other North America users will be in the same boat as me. Why did the Avengers Age of Ultron get released to the world before it was released in the US?

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    It is not off-topic here, and does not need to be moved or re-asked anywhere. – phantom42 Apr 27 '15 at 20:02
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about movie marketing strategies, and not any specific scifi or fantasy question. Movies.SE - movies.stackexchange.com/questions/2172/… – Jack B Nimble Apr 27 '15 at 20:21
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    @JackBNimble, I suggest that it falls under the "Behind-the-scenes and fandom information" line item of valid site topics and should therefore be retained here. It's absolutely of interest to those of staring at all the new questions that start with "In Avengers Age of Ultron what does ... mean" and gritting our teeth muttering "MUST...NOT...CLICK". – gowenfawr Apr 27 '15 at 20:42
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    @phantom42 - I disagree, as every example in the meta question has to do with plot discussion, thematic elements, or "behind-the-scenes" info that is pertinent to the watching experience. This question is flat-out about release dates and nothing more. But that's my 2 cents. – Omegacron Apr 27 '15 at 20:45
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    @gowenfawr Despite my interest in the MCU, I have added [age-of-ultron] to my ignore list for that very reason. – KSmarts Apr 27 '15 at 21:28
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Because they make more money overseas, and helps drive up the interest in the US - resulting in even more money for the studios.

CBS news wrote up a nice article about this a while back.

"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. "'The Avengers' last year and 'Iron Man 3' are two great examples of films that opened to bigger-than-expected results in North America due to the fervor and pent up demand for these film by American audiences."

More recently, Kevin Feige addressed this exact question at a special screening of the movie. The answers were reported back to Reddit

Why did it open up overseas early?: [Kevin Feige] says this trend started around Iron Man 2/Thor and they wanted to see how it worked out - he said many countries have holidays [sic] end of April, so it made sense to open it early. They felt no hit in the box office, so it continued. Also allowed distributors to tout foreign numbers going into domestic release

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    This isn't even the first MCU film to be released like this. It's just the highest-profile one. – user1027 Apr 27 '15 at 20:12
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    Adding as comment because I can't find the article to reference but I read that bootlegs hurt sales more internationally than domestically. Meaning if a cam bootleg comes to the US before the movie is released, it doesn't affect sales as much as if that same bootleg hit before international release. So releasing internationally first makes sense in that aspect as well – WizardKnight Apr 27 '15 at 20:43
  • @WizardKnight That was actually addressed in the article I posted. – phantom42 Apr 27 '15 at 20:51
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    @WizardKnight No worries. I didn't mention it in the actual posted answer. It's just in the linked source article. – phantom42 Apr 27 '15 at 21:08
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    TL;DR - Because: Cash Money! – Möoz Apr 28 '15 at 5:12
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This practice started becoming more common perhaps 15 years ago (coinciding roughly with when large swathes of the world, most notably China, started getting sufficiently affluent to consume Hollywood movies). The main reason given then was piracy concerns.

I don't know if today that is still the main motivation. Perhaps since then they've discovered other advantages associated with an earlier international release.

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