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“X2” Marks Biggest International Bow

Although 20th Century Fox’s sci-fi sequel X2: X-Men United has not yet been released, the comic book turned mega-movie franchise is already setting box office records.

X2 is set to debut May 2 in 93 countries and territories around the world simultaneously, making it the broadest opening ever for a movie, Reuters reports. Fox also set the previous record when it premiered < I>Star Wars: Episode II–Attack of the Clones last year in 74 countries.

Huge day-and-date releases are mostly used on event movies like X2, which are already highly recognizable. Budgeted at $75 million, the studio’s original X-Men pic took in $294 million worldwide when it was released three years ago.

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But Fox promises that the sequel, budgeted at $120 million, is bigger and better than the original, with more fleshed-out characters and intriguing new villains.

“I think X-Men fans can look forward to more of just about everything they liked before,” X2‘s visual effects supervisor Michael Fink said. “And then a whole additional group of X-Men that are bigger, broader and more exciting.”

The sequel takes up where the original film left off, with Prof. Xavier still teaching gifted young mutants and the metal-controlling villain Magneto locked up in a plastic prison, while the mutants continue their struggle against a society that fears and distrusts them.

According to Reuters, producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter are already openly talking about more X-Men installments, possibly even up to X5. A number of key cast members, they said, are already under contract for those films.

Stars Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen reprise their roles as their respective mutant characters along with some new faces, including Brian Cox, Alan Cumming and Kelly Hu.

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