Marvel’s latest Avengers installment—Avengers: Infinity War—hits theaters in China today (May 11), a few weeks after debuting to massive success elsewhere. The delay won’t hurt the film’s chances judging by early ticket data, the franchise’s earlier success, and the popularity of Marvel characters in what this year has become the world’s biggest movie market.
But those characters, in China, get widely used nicknames in a way not seen elsewhere. Examples:
- Captain America: 大奶队长 (Dànǎi duìzhǎng), or “Captain Big Tits.” Sometimes just “Big Tits.”
- Spiderman: 小虫 (Xiǎo chóng), or “Little Bug.”
- Hulk: 绿胖 (Lǜ pàng), or “Green Fatty.” (On an unrelated note, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is called “Kim Fatty the Third,” and Japanese cartoon character Doraemon is dubbed “Blue Fatty.”)
- Thor: 锤哥 (Chuí gē), or “Brother Hammer.”
- Iron Man: 铁罐 (Tiě guàn), or “Iron Can.” Fans also call him 妮妮 (Nī nī), a feminine equivalent of similar sounding 尼尼, because Tony Stark’s first name is 托尼 in Chinese (also because Robert Downey Jr.’s last name is 唐尼). They think Stark is cold on the outside and warm on the inside, like some girls.
- Black Widow: 寡姐 (Guǎ jiě), or “Sister Widow.”
- Hawkeye: 肥啾 (Féi jiū), or “Fat Birdie.”
- Avengers: 妇联 (Fùlián), or “Women’s Federation.” The superhero group is officially known as 复仇者联盟 (Fùchóu zhě liánméng) in Chinese, or “Avengers’ Federation.” The shorthand for that is 复联, and 复 is a homophone for 妇 (women).
Analysts believe Infinity War is poised to become (paywall) the biggest-ever weekend debut in China, with a shot at $200 million or more.
Before its domestic release today, it had already raked in nearly $50 million in presales in China, setting a new all-time record for advance booking. The movie also notched 56.7 million yuan ($9 million) in the midnight box office, edging the previous record held by The Fate of the Furious since April 2017, according to data from Taopiaopiao (link in Chinese), a ticket-booking app.
On Douban, China’s equivalent to IMDb, Infinity War currently holds a rating of 8.6/10, with most reviews being generously positive (link in Chinese). One states, “It’s a combination of the best of all Marvel films: the most tragic Ragnarok, the most hot-blooded Ugandan, the most manly Captain America, and the most desperate Stark.”
Reads another: “There’s no time to pee during the movie.”