UPDATE, Monday 3:32PM: As 2015 came to a close, the international box office across the Top 10 studio titles released in the last week were down about 17% versus last session. The Top 10 overall grossed $289M, But that grouping was packed with local language fare which accounted for $156M, or more than 50%. The next week is likely to see some powerhouse Chinese movies ebb as the blackout period comes to an end with today’s release of Sherlock — followed by Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Saturday.
That film will face little in the way of immediate competition apart from two local horror movies and holdovers of blackout pics such as Detective Chinatown, Mr. Six and Mojin – The Lost Legend. Estimates for what awaits The Force Awakens on the other side of the Great Wall have been rising steadily for weeks. The most recent guestimates I’m hearing are in the $175-$200M range — which may be conservative by the time SWTFA ends its 30-day run and with Kung Fu Panda 3 kicking in January 29. The big question is how locals have embraced the hype and the long-lead marketing campaign imagineered by Disney.
Elsewhere next week we see the arrival of Quentin Tarantino’s latest in one of the markets that loves him best, France. On Wednesday, The Hateful Eight begins its international rollout with the UK, Benelux, Brazil, Denmark, Norway, Thailand, Korea, Israel and some Eastern European territories also on deck. The Revenant will travel to Germany, Russia, Australia and a handful of others also in its first offshore plays. The rest of the roster is expanded markets for the likes of Joy, The Big Short, Daddy’s Home and Point Break.
One final note about Sherlock, local industry org Kobiz says it has now grossed over $5M in Korea despite a drop of over 100 screens from the weekend. Elementary indeed!
(Actuals below have been updated by Kinsey Lowe.)
PREVIOUSLY, 5:47PM Sunday: In a very similar situation to last weekend, Star Wars: The Force Awakens continued its hyper-drive through offshore markets this frame, while Chinese movies made up the next grouping of three. Detective Chinatown opened to $45M, Mr Six added $38M and Mojin – The Lost Legend found continued treasure, taking its Middle Kingdom cume to $230M to date. Right below those, and something we don’t see very often, is local Italian comedy Quo Vado? with a record $20M opening.
In another twist, audiences in Korea flocked to the theatrical release of BBC One/PBS’ one-off special, Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, which wed itself to $4.45M in two days and had 25% of the market share.
There were no new wide studio releases overseas, although small batches of territories began rollout on awards hopefuls The Danish Girl and Concussion. And, like last frame, family films and lighter fare gained traction in some plays. Fox’s The Peanuts Movie added $16.66M, followed by the studio’s Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Road Chip which buddied up another $10.5M. Disney/Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur took in another $9.5M. Paramount’s Daddy’s Home also crossed the $100M global mark.
SHERLOCK: THE ABOMINABLE BRIDE
In a new move for PBS and BBC One, a special episode of super sleuth series Sherlock was given a theatrical release in step with and following its airing on both of the channels on New Year’s Day. The Benedict Cumberbatch/Martin Freeman drama was the biggest TV draw of the holiday season in the UK, with 8.4M viewers tuning in for the Victorian era episode. There were about 120 screens showing it in simulcast with BBC One in Britain that night. While we do not have full figures for all of the theatrical releases this weekend, local industry org Kobiz reports that the cume after two days in Korea was $4.45M. That was good for the No. 2 spot at the box office and 25% of the market, behind only local holdover hit The Himalayas and ahead of the 3rd frame of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The series is popular in Korea and will also get a theatrical release beginning tomorrow in China where its last season was seen by about 98M people. Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss wrote the episode. Shooting on Season 4 starts in the spring.
THE DANISH GIRL
Universal’s fall festival entry had its first international bows this weekend in the UK/Ireland and Portugal with $2.13M combined. The former grossed $2.M at 498 dates. Portugal opened at No. 4 with an estimated $132K at 30 dates. This opening is in line with the start of Eddie Redmayne-starrer The Theory Of Everything. In The Danish Girl, he plays Lili Elbe, on of the first people to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Both the Oscar winner and co-star Alicia Vikander have been drumming up awards interest for their turns in the love story that premiered in Venice to an extended standing ovation. International dates roll out over the next few months with Germany among the biggest plays next weekend.
Will Smith stars in this Sony drama that’s coming out of its 2nd frame Stateside with $25.5M. Offshore, the main kickoff was in Mexico with a very strong $1.5M on 653 screens with a No. 3 opening. The start is twice the opening of football-themed The Blind Side and 56% more than Smith’s The Pursuit Of Happyness. The latter is Smith’s top drama overseas with about $143M in box office while Sandra Bullock heartwarmer The Blind Side performed much better domestically than offshore. In a Golden Globe-nominated turn, Smith plays Dr. Bennet Omalu who uncovers the truth about brain damage in football players who suffer repeated concussions. Peter Landesmann directs. In total this weekend, there was $1.6M through the goalposts on 721 screens in seven markets.
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
Adding $95.8M along the way this weekend, The Force has accumulated $771.6M in international box office after 19 days in release. That takes the global total to $1.513M and makes it the No. 3 movie of 2015 globally just a hair behind Furious 7 ($1.515B) and Jurassic World ($1.67B). Yesterday, it passed Avengers: Age Of Ultron to become the No. 6 movie ever worldwide. Standings will soon fall for Furious 7 and Marvel’s The Avengers to lift SWTFA to No. 4 on the all-time worldwide box office chart. Europe saw strong holds this frame, particularly in the UK ($145M cume) and Germany ($81M) where new milestones were reached. For the full offshore breakdown, check out my separate report. SWTFA has one overseas market left to visit with China beginning Saturday January 9.
THE PEANUTS MOVIE
Fox’s family adaptation of Charles Schulz’s classic comic strip added $16.66M this weekend, from 8,924 screens in 62 markets. The international cume is now $77.03M led by some crackerjack holds. A solid performance in Germany ($1.8M from 1,093/$6M cume) was up 19% from opening weekend. The UK also did a Snoopy dance, lifting 113% from Christmas weekend for a cume of $10.7M. School holidays continue through next week in many markets and in the Southern Hemisphere throughout January.
ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS: THE ROAD CHIP
Another Fox family comedy that’s playing to kids over the holidays, Alvin and Co. made $10.5M on 4,271 screens in 22 markets this weekend, driving the international cume to $24.5M. There are still 10 of the top 15 markets remaining to open including China on January 26. Mexico particularly took to the musical critters with $2.547M from 1,500 screens and at No. 1, knocking Star Wars off the loading bay. Holds were solid in Italy ($1.58M/$4.43M) — especially given local smash Quo Vado?, Brazil ($1.36M/$5.86M), and Australia ($1.19M/$3.95M).
THE GOOD DINOSAUR
Disney’s other movie added $9.5M in its 6th weekend of overseas release from 54 territories representing about 66% of the international marketplace. The UK was a hotbed of activity for family fare this frame, lifting The Good Dinosaur by 97% over last week for an $18.5M cume. Germany was up 23% for a $5.1M total, Australia jumped 2% for $5.2M and the 2nd biggest offshore market of France was down just 3% for a total of $15.5M. The international cume before openings in Korea, Japan and Brazil is $129.1M.
Jennifer Lawrence paid a visit to The Graham Norton Show on New Year’s Eve to tout rags-to-riches tale Joy to UK audiences in what’s become a must-stop for visiting talent. The spot worked some charm with David O Russell’s biopic opening to $2.28M, 34% ahead of Silver Linings Playbook. In total, Fox’s Joy mopped up $9M from 2,356 screens in 33 markets. The early International cume is now $12.8M, with nine of the Top 15 plays still to open. France bowed to $1.36M in the market which is off about 20% from last year this time due to the recent terror attacks; Germany outperformed SLP by 35% at its debut with $1.05M; and Australia dropped just 24% from last Saturday’s bow with a $3.7M cume to date.
Also toasting with Graham Norton on New Year’s Eve were Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg to talk up their reteam in this Paramount comedy. Grossing $9.8M in an expanded 15 markets this session, the total is now $22.5M. Combined with domestic, the global cume has rocked past $100M to roughly $115.5M. In the same suite of markets, the international total is 119% above Ferrell and Wahlberg’s previous hook-up in The Other Guys. That movie is Ferrell’s top offshore box office performer to date. The UK picked up a 2nd weekend of $4.3M from 443 locations and ranked No. 2, up 15% from the debut a week prior with a cume of $12M. Spain opened at No. 6 with $691K at 254 locations; Peru came home to No. 2 with $464K in 85 cinemas — 894% above The Other Guys — and is the biggest weekend opening of all time for a non-local comedy. Ted 2 was big here. South East Asian openings were also good at $1.03M across Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. In other holds, Australia was down just 29% from last weekend’s two-day opening. The local cume is now $7.2M. Future bows include Sweden, Russia, Hong Kong, and the Middle East this weekend with continued rollout throughout January.
With Lionsgate releasing on behalf of Alcon in some offshore markets, the remake swooped in with an estimated $6.97M. That takes the international cume to $58.38M after a strong run in China in December. Australia debuted over the holiday weekend with $1.5M from 223 screens, while Spain opened to $605K on 249 screens.
James Bond may have Star Wars hot in pursuit at the UK box office, but he continues spying international grosses after 10 weeks with an added $5.9M (including SPRI and MGM markets) from 2,192 screens in 53 total markets. The offshore cume is now $667.5M. Among highlights, Germany dropped just 6% in its 9th weekend with the local total at $70.4M. In a strong 5th weekend in Japan, Spectre was up 16% and has grossed $21M to date. France, down 2% in its 8th frame, has a $38.8M haul. In the UK, there appears to be some discrepancy between Sony and Disney. The latter said today that SWTFA had overtaken Spectre as the No. 1 movie released in the UK in 2015. That was in local currency which is £97.6M for SW, per Disney, and £94.2M for Spectre, per Sony. But, the dollar figures are essentially the same on both. We’ll get to the bottom of this in the actuals tomorrow and either way, at the rate it’s been running, it’s likely SW will extend its lead with Bond now in its 10th UK week.
BRIDGE OF SPIES
Crossing $75M at the international box office, Fox’s Steven Spielberg’s Cold War drama added another $4.62M from 1,663 screens in nine markets this frame. The total is now $75.27M. Despite the arrival of Checco Zalone and Quo Vado? in Italy, BOS held terrifically at $2.45M, down just 12% in its 3rd weekend with an $8M total. Spain ($576K from 260) is also strong, dropping a slight 23% in its 5th weekend; and France was up 3% with a cume of $5.8M. Japan opens January 8.
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2
With its 7th frame, MJ2 added $4.567M for an international total of $362.25M. The cume worldwide is $636M.4 with play continuing in 61 offshore markets. The UK is tops at $43.2M, just ahead of Germany’s $42M.
HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2
Still checking ’em in, Sony’s HT2 rang up $3.1M in 34 markets as it approaches $300M internationally with $294.6M to date. Korea, its last market to release, has a local cume of $8M after two weeks.
IN THE HEART OF THE SEA
Warner Bros’ ITHOTS reeled in slightly higher-than-projected $2.8M over the holiday weekend in 59 markets for an offshore cume of $59.75M. The UK, in its second frame after a Boxing Day opening, grossed another $650K from 600 screens for a market cume of $2.8M. All other markets have released save for Japan, its last play, on January 16.
THE BIG SHORT
Paramount’s comedy drama added eight markets this frame after bowing in France last week. With $2.3M in takings, it now has $4.5M on the international balance sheet. Comping to American Hustle, it is 12% bigger in the same markets, per Par. French-speaking Switzerland ($323K), Poland ($208K), the UAE ($140K) and Belgium ($132K) were new plays. France’s sophomore session delivered $1.3M from 303 locations, down 12% from opening and with a cume of $3.5M. This week’s bows include Argentina, Italy, and Mexico.
Legendary and Universal’s Christmas horror pic unwrapped $1.3M in 39 territories for an overseas total of $17.4M. With its North American tally of $42.3M, the global cume is $57.9M. Openings included Russia with $507K at 450 dates. A 4th weekend in Mexico delivered $340K at 312 dates for a 24-day total of $1.8M. Germany‘s 5th weekend brought the cume to $2.2M.
Universal’s bio-drama earned $1.2M in further box office from 21 territories, lifting the cume to $9.2M. Spain opened well at No. 5 with $720K at 221 dates followed by Russia with $192K at 315. Global tally is $26.9M
Still with several key markets to come, Sony’s horror kids comedy has cumed $41.7M internationally. This weekend in a long release pattern was worth $1.1M from 491 screens in 15 markets. Among highlights, Taiwan bowed at No. 3 with $716K on 95 screens. Venezuela leads overall plays with $7.2M. Major markets roll out through January and February.
Ryan Coogler’s Rocky update/offshoot punched up a 17% increase in the holdover markets, generating an estimated $846K on 580 screens in 17 countries. This brings the international cume to $11.8M on the Warner Bros release and with only two key markets released to date. Japan added $379K in the 2nd frame, rising 8% in a strong market frame. The cume to date is $1.6M. Australia leads thus far with $4.7M. There are several majors to come throughout the month. Creed‘s domestic cume of $103.3M brings the global figure to $115.1M
In the early stage of its international rollout, the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy has cumed $4.35M in 13 territories. The weekend box office was $707K including openings in Panama ($141K), Romania ($116K) and South Africa ($85K). The UK held with $232K in the 3rd weekend for a 17-day total of $3.5M. Next weekend adds Australia, New Zealand, Croatia, Taiwan and Ukraine.
NEW TO THE CHARTS
Directed by Beijing Love Story‘s Sicheng Chen, the action comedy from Wanda Pictures grossed $45M in its debut with $58M including previews. It was No. 2 internationally. The blackout title focuses on a case that must be solved to prove the innocence of those mistakenly accused. China Lion is releasing in the U.S. next week.
Superstar Checco Zalone reteams with director Gennaro Nunziante for their fourth film, heartwarming comedy Quo Vado?, which set an opening day record on Friday with nearly 1M admissions and about 7M euros, according to local reports. Midnight screenings helped Quo Vado? double the Day 1 box office for previous record holders Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Spider-Man 3. The weekend was ultimately worth $20M. The latest from the team behind Italy’s top-grossing local films ever, Sole A Cantinelle and Che Bella Giornata, settles on Checco, a government functionary in a provincial hunting and fishing service who has avoided responsibility and change his whole life. When cuts are implemented, he faces a difficult choice before meeting a researcher who opens a new world for him. Producer Pietro Valsecchi told local press the box office was “a result beyond all imagination.”
LITTLE DOOR GODS
A Chinese animated fantasy which Alibaba Pictures is releasing locally, the film grossed $10M to cinch the 9th spot on the international chart this week. Directed by Gary Wang, it’s the story of a crisis that hits the Spirit World when humans don’t believe in gods anymore. A Door God, facing unemployment, ventures into the human world to prove his worth.
Universal’s sequel is at No. 2 in France in its 5th week. The weekend box office was $2.6M at 459 dates for a 33-day total of $18.98M, surpassing the lifetime of the original.
SPANISH AFFAIRS 2
U’s massive Spanish sequel, which shifts the focus from the Basque region to Catalonia, is at No. 3 in its 7th week in locally. With an added $1.3M, the 45-day total is now $35.26M. It has now passed Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring to become the 6th highest grossing film of all time in Spain; it is already the No. 3 local pic.
NATALE COL BOSS
The Italian Christmas holiday comedy that Universal is distributing placed No. 6 this frame with $1.3M at 413 dates for an 18-day total of $7.8M.
ILFE, ICH HAB MEINE LEHRERIN GESCHRUMPFT
From Sony, family film Help, I Shrank My Teacher, held well in the 3rd frame, up 20% in Germany and 27% in Austria to gross $1M for a cume of $4.7M.