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We’ve heard rumblings almost since it first started filming that Captain America: The First Avenger might have to change its title for release in less America-friendly international regions. At first word was that Marvel Studios might drop “Captain America” and simply release it as The First Avenger everywhere outside the United States, but the good news here is that it’ll keep its full title most places.
It seems that Paramount Pictures believes the brand power of the Captain America name trumps the laissez-faire hatred of America in countries like France. So they’re keeping the title as is, except in Russia, Ukraine, and South Korea. There the NY Times says film will be released as The First Avenger.
Russia and Ukraine I guess I sort of get, though after the fall of Berlin Wall aren’t they supposed to be all about McDonalds and Levi’s stone-wash jeans? In those places though, the “Captain America” name just doesn’t carry much brand power, since the comic book was kept out of the region for decades due to the cold war. No one knows or cares about the red white and blue superhero.
South Korea on the other hand, is a little more surprising. You’d think they’d have big, warm, and fuzzy feeling for the country that keeps Kim Jong Il off their doorstep. But actually, it seems there’s a lot of resentment towards the United States for just that reason. The large, ongoing American military presence there has caused a lot of resentment among the younger South Koreans who most frequently show up for these big superhero movies Marvel is pedaling.
Keep an eye on the international box office receipts for Cap when it’s released in a few weeks. How it performs may be a way to gauge how people feel about America. If it does well in Europe, the next time you visit Paris you won’t have to pretend you’re Canadian.