Twentieth Century Fox has planned the largest global opening ever for X2: X-Men United, which will flash across screens in no fewer than 93 different markets across the globe on May 2, 2003. A good deal of the momentum behind this new strategy comes from fear of piracy. In the past studios typically rolled out a picture first in the U.S. and then in a more or less orderly succession in different markets around the world, a process that allowed studios to tailor their marketing to individual markets. In recent years by the time Hollywood blockbusters debuted in Asia, the films had often already been for sale for weeks in pirate DVD editions on the streets of places like Hong Kong or Shanghai. Opening in 93 markets at once is a major logistical nightmare, but in this digital age more studios will be forced to adopt this strategy to protect their intellectual property.
Fox has not yet announced the exact number of screens that X2 will grace here in North America, but it is bound to be a very big number. With little competition, there is little doubt that X2 will win the box office on its opening weekend, but look for Fox to try to maximize X2's take during the two weeks before the Matrix Reloaded opens on May 16 by putting it on as many screens as possible.