2ND UPDATE, TUESDAY AM PT: Actuals are in from all studios with the exception of Sony. For the most part the estimates matched the final results, although Mockingjay came in slightly higher with $32.9M for a $306.6M cume, and Penguins Of Madagascar flapped up to $24.2M with a $95M cume. Also among notable upticks was Fox’s new entry, The Pyramid, with $4.2M versus the original $3.8M estimate. Next week will see Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods And Kings expand while The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies emerges from Middle Earth.
Figures have been updated below for Mockingjay Part I, Exodus: Gods And Kings, Penguins Of Madagascar, Interstellar, Horrible Bosses 2, Big Hero 6, The Pyramid, The Book Of Life, Ouija, The Theory Of Everything, Alles Ist Liebe, Trash, Dumb And Dumber To, Black Sea, Dracula Untold, Boyhood, Men Women & Children and Billy Elliot: The Musical Live.
UPDATE, 5:54 PM PT: Along with this weekend’s domestic down trend, the international frame was also off from last frame, at about 35% across the Top 10 major studio titles. Compared to the same session a year ago, offshore ticket sales were more or less on par. Much as in past weeks, the comparison remains relatively the same: In 2013 at this time, the big title was still The Hunger Games: Catching Fire while Frozen was in its 2nd frame as it began icing comers on the way to box office history, and Gravity was also working its pull internationally. Fast forward and we’ve got The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I still leading the charge with the animated Penguins Of Madagascar among the top players, and Interstellar continuing its global trajectory. Last year’s non-studio top pics also included a pair of Chinese movies that were making overseas waves, much like this frame. That’s expected given we are in an increasingly key release month for major Middle Kingdom fare. But with the expansion of Exodus: Gods And Kings, and the arrival of The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies next week, the status quo can be expected to look as old as Moses and Middle Earth themselves.
Ridley Scott’s Exodus is due to hit around 20 markets this coming week, including the U.S. on December 12. The story of the fraternal rivalry between Moses and Rhamses found followers in Korea, Mexico, Spain, and elsewhere in its early $23.1M bow this frame. While Korea gave Scott his biggest opening ever, and Mexico was worth 41% more than Prometheus, in Spain Exodus‘ debut bested this year’s other major Judeo-Christian studio epic, Noah. There, its opening outpaced Noah’s by 43%. But in Korea and Mexico, Noah opened to a combined $14M in March, whereas Exodus has a combined $10.74M. Interstellar is still playing gangbusters in Korea which may have affected the debut, and neither that market nor Mexico ended up to be Noah’s biggest. That honor was reserved for Russia ($34M) and Brazil ($31M). Those roll out on January 1 and December 25, respectively, and I hear a China release may be in the offing. Australia was a slightly soft opening at $2.27M and the No. 2 slot, but I’m told that was expected. Part of the strategy behind the early release in this weekend’s 10 markets was to take advantage of a window before The Battle Of The Five Armies starts rolling out next week and through the holidays.
The widest release in the coming frame is reserved for Bilbo, Thorin, Legolas and the rest of the Middle Earth gang. Warner Bros is sending The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies into 40+ markets including the major grabs of the UK, France, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Brazil and Japan. Peter Jackson’s 3rd installment in the Hobbit trilogy began to bid a bittersweet farewell when it world premiered in London last week, in what the director reiterated was a film, “for the fans.” Reviews were largely positive for the finale, which, in a twist these days, is not split into two parts – even if the decision to stretch three films out of JRR Tolkien’s original 310-page novel was met with controversy. The last episode of Jackson’s $3B grossing Lord Of The Rings in 2003 won the blockbuster series some serious Oscar love when Return Of The King scored 11 trophies including Best Picture. The Hobbit series has thus far been nominated for six, with no wins. Its cume to date is $1.96B after two movies. Battle Of The Five Armies is potentially looking at a $1B worldwide take given the finality surrounding it – and the consistently growing Chinese box office where the film is expected to expand on The Desolation Of Smaug’s fiery $75M ride. Smaug’s other biggest overseas markets were Germany ($88M) and the UK ($70M).
See below for more on local movies.
PREVIOUS, 11:40 AM PT: HIGHLIGHTS: Although there were no new major wide releases overseas this frame, an 11-market debut from Fox’s Exodus: Gods And Kings provided a jolt of muscle to the weekend. Playing on 6,462 screens, Ridley Scott‘s epic commanded $23.1M and was No. 1 in Korea, Mexico and Spain, among several others.
Overall box office is still expected to be down on last week, with Mockingjay coming in at $32.9M, a 53% drop from last frame, but ready to catch up with Catching Fire in Italy. Penguins Of Madagascar waddled into eight new markets this weekend taking a total $24.2M, holding six No. 1 spots, and dropping 35%.
Interstellar added $23.5M to bring the offshore cume to $435.1M. The week continued to set records for Christopher Nolan‘s space odyssey in China where it is now the No. 2 biggest MPA grosser of the year after Transformers: Age Of Extinction with $119.3M. Elsewhere, Paddington continued to charm UK audiences and The Theory Of Everything took shape in Hong Kong and Taiwan. See below for breakdowns on the new films and holdovers with more still to come on local titles and others.
Fox’s Exodus: Gods And Kings parked its chariot in 10 international markets in its debut this weekend, raging to a $23.1M start from 6,462 screens. In Korea, the $6.2M debut is Ridley Scott’s biggest ever — and gave the film the No. 1 spot to knock Interstellar from its long-held perch there. Mexico’s $4.54M start is 41% bigger than Prometheus and Spain’s $3.76M is 43% bigger than Noah. Noah followed a somewhat similar release pattern earlier this year, going out in both Korea and Mexico ahead of the U.S. bow and ultimately taking $14M and $15.7M, respectively, in those markets. The move to release Exodus there early was partly to take advantage of an extra week of breathing room before the start of The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies. Exodus is also commanding over 50% of the market share in Hong Kong where it opened three times bigger than Noah, according to Fox, and in Thailand which is 38% bigger than Noah.
Exodus, with Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton, had its world premiere in London last week and Bale’s Moses will etch out the Ten Commandments in about 20 new markets next weekend. The majority of the international marketplace follows from late December to early January.
From Fox International Productions, Gregory Levasseur’s The Pyramid dug up $4.2M in 16 markets including a $1.57M bow in Russia which was good for No. 2. Malaysia was a No. 1 play with $661K for the title about an archaeological team trying to unlock the secrets of a lost pyramid. Rollout continues through the holidays and into next year.
Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory Of Everything began its international rollout courtesy of Universal this weekend. While it didn’t start off with a bang, it opened in the smaller Hong Kong and Taiwan markets at 60 dates combined. The total take was $312K. In HK, it earned $195K at 24 locations and placed No. 4 with the 2nd biggest per-screen average in the market, Universal says. With a buzzed-about lead performance by Eddie Redmayne, the James Marsh-directed film will hit just a handful more markets in the calendar 2014 year, including Korea and Germany, before traveling to the UK on January 1 and pushing out elsewhere after that.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I passed $500M at the international box office earlier this week and now has a global cume of $564.7M. Overseas this frame, the penultimate installment of the Lionsgate franchise has crossed $300M with a total of $306.6M. This weekend added $32.9M from 87 markets.
It is still tops in Germany, adding a further $4.4M for a local take of $29.6M. Australia was also a No. 1 holdover with $2.6M and a cume of $22.3M, as was Brazil with a weekend of $2.2M and a $17.9M cume.
In the UK, the film’s top market, Katniss & Co have been subjected to the wiles of loveable little Peruvian bear Paddington, who has taken the top spot for the 2nd frame in a row. Mockingjay added $3.5M there for an estimated cume of $39.6M to date. Strong competition from local animated film Asterix: The Mansions Of The Gods pushed Mockingjay into 2nd position last week in France and this week saw the strong arrival of Paddington. Still, the film added $2.6M for a $21.1M cume.
In Italy, where Universal is releasing, Mockingjay dropped to No. 5 with $901K at 289 dates for an 18-day total of $10.3M. However, it is on it was way to passing Catching Fire’s Italian lifetime total on Monday. Elsewhere, Mexico has collected $21M to date, followed by Scandinavia with $17M, Russia with $16.5M, Spain with $12.3M, Benelux with $9.2M and Korea with $5.7M.
At this point last year, Catching Fire was ablaze at the international box office. Although it ultimately didn’t overperform in China, the Middle Kingdom helped it pass the $500M mark in just 10 days compared to Mockingjay’s 13. There is no fixed date yet for Mockingjay, although it is expected to release in China in early 2015.
Penguins Of Madagascar added eight markets this weekend taking a total $24.2M from 12,198 screens in 52 territories. In six of those, the DreamWorks Animation title held No. 1s, including Russia ($4.63M) and Italy ($1.9M). Germany and Spain were down 26% and 27%, respectively in their 2nd frames. The UK bowed to $2.5M, No. 3 behind Paddington and Mockingjay, and Belgium took $670K. In China, the cume is now $36.58M. The international cume is $95M, with 23 markets (including five of the top 10) still to come.
Interstellar’s latest frame sold over 3.3M tickets on 7,925 screens in 64 markets. The $22.8M gross this weekend brings the overseas cume to $434.4M. As the China run winds down, a further $7.2M was earned from 1,976 screens. The cume to date there is $119.3M (Rmb 730M). Records set in China now include Interstellar being the No. 1 Warner Bros grosser ever in the market; the No. 1 all-time highest-grossing 2D MPA film; the No. 2 biggest MPA film of 2014; and the No. 6 biggest MPA all-time grosser.
Meanwhile in Korea, the record-breaking run continues – despite Exodus riding into the top spot this frame. Interstellar added $3.8M from 720 screens this go-round for a local cume of $66.7M. Records there include the No. 1 biggest Warner grosser ever; the No. 1 all-time highest-grossing 2D MPA film; and the No. 4 biggest MPA all-time grosser. Elsewhere, the UK now has a cume of $30.3M, followed by Russia with $24.9M and France with $20.6M.
Horrible Bosses 2 added $7.6M this weekend from 4,932. The cume to date is $23.4M with Brazil opening this frame to $1.2M on 345 screens to rank No. 3. Comparing three-day results, Warner Bros says HB2 outgrossed HB1 by 53%. In the UK, the cume is now $4.1M while Russia is worth $2.9M and Germany is holding well with a $2M cume
Marmalade sandwiches continue to be all the rage in the UK where Paddington added an estimated $5.84M this frame to take the No. 1 spot in its 2nd outing. The David Heyman-produced CGI/live-action family film is expected to have legs throughout the holiday season off the back of very positive word of mouth and strong weekday play. The total after two frames is $15.9M on the Studiocanal release. Also from Studiocanal, The Imitation Game is estimated to have decoded $1.34M in its 3rd frame for a cumulative UK total of $17.5M.
Disney’s Big Hero 6 is still seeing big numbers in South East Asia where it is the highest grossing Disney/Pixar release of all time in Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam. Adding Thailand this weekend, it posted the best opening there of any Disney/Pixar pic ever with $1.3M already surpassing the lifetimes of Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph. In total, Baymax and Hiro earned $3.8M in 27 offshore markets this frame bringing the total to $62.6M with several major territories still to go. Russia remains the top ex-U.S. location with $20.1M, the 2nd biggest Disney/Pixar score ever behind Frozen.
Hacking woes don’t appear to be slowing Sony’s Fury which is now closing in on $100M internationally. With $3.7M this frame, the cume is now $97.5M. Sony Pictures Releasing International’s markets grossed an estimated $1.4M to bring Sony’s cume to $59.4M. QED International markets delivered an estimated $2.3M for a total $38.1M. Major upcoming markets for the World War II pic include Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, Spain and Brazil.
Continuing its trip round the international playing board, Ouija opened to better-than-expected numbers in Spain this frame. With $1.4M it was No. 3 at 242 dates. That’s the biggest opening in the market for a horror film this year and the 3rd best ever for a Blumhouse title. With a holiday tomorrow, the Spanish box office is expected to grow. The overseas cume is now $21.6M.
Universal’s German romantic comedy/drama Alles Ist Liebe was just released in Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland for a $1.35M weekend. In Germany, it placed No. 5 behind the Hollywood titles and Paddington with $1.2M at 527 dates.
The Book Of Life charted $747K from 326 screens in 11 markets this frame. Venezuela earned another $487K in its 2nd frame. The international cume now stands at $42.M, with Spain, Russia, and Germany scheduled to release in February.
Universal’s Trash collected an estimated $673K in 13 territories for a total of $4.8M. Openings this frame for the Stephen Daldry thriller were in Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia and Ukraine.
Black Sea, the submarine drama that stars Jude Law, surfaced in the UK this frame with $384K at 315 dates. Directed by Kevin Macdonald, it’s released by Universal locally with Focus releasing in the U.S. on Jan 23.
Dumb And Dumber To, which Universal is distributing in seven territories, grossed $574K in four of those this frame (Germany, Austria, German-speaking Switzerland and Spain) for a total of $8.3M. Including those, and up through December 4, Red Granite calculates that the international total for DADT is $38.8M in a total 28 markets. Brazil is still tops with $11.3M. Universal releases in the UK/Ireland on December 19 and Australia and New Zealand on January 8.
Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children went out via Paramount in three new markets this weekend for a fitting $323K. Notably, Brazil bowed this frame where star Adam Sandler is a major box office draw. The family drama earned $178K from 61 sites, 158% over Reitman’s Labor Day and four times the opening of Young Adult. The international cume stands at $408K.
Dracula Untold added $324K at 354 Universal dates in 25 territories this weekend and raised the international total to $159.1M.
Boyhood has now grossed $19.9M in its Universal territories, adding $113K this frame in 19 markets. In Japan, Boyhood is holding strong at No. 4 of the MPA titles in its 4th weekend and has the second best screen average in the market. The total gross there is now $460K.
On the alternative content scene, Universal opened Billy Elliot: The Musical Live in Japan at two dates for a $47K gross and the best screen average in the market. The cume from Universal territories is now $4.17M.
Key Territory Highlights
With $29M this week, Chinese romance film Fleet Of Time debuted at the top of the chart, beating John Woo’s anticipated Titanic-esque epic The Crossing which now has a cume of $8.1M. Fleet Of Time stars Eddie Peng and Ni Ni and is directed by Zhang Yibai. It’s adapted from the novel of the same name by Chinese writer Jiu Yehui. A coming-of-age tale about a close group of friends from high school through adulthood, it taps into China’s predilection for such nostalgia-hued stories like last year’s So Young. Last week’s Chinese romantic comedy hit Women Who Flirt also added $5M from five markets this frame for an $18M cume.
Paddington, moving into another 10 markets this frame, added $13M per Rentrak estimates. In the UK, the little bear earned $5.84M in its 2nd frame while pawing away 16 newcomers including Penguins Of Madagascar, Black Sea and Get Santa. In Germany, it looks to have come in No. 2 below Mockingjay, and in France, it’s expected to have been No. 1 playing in a crowded field that includes Asterix: The Mansions Of The Gods and Gaumont’s period police thriller La French with Jean Dujardin which earned $3M in its bow.