UPDATE, WRITETHRU: Legendary and Universal Pictures’ Warcraft expanded to eight more markets this frame, after debuting with $31.8M in 20 last weekend which included key plays like Russia and Germany. The sophomore session brings the total markets in release to 28 with an estimated $29M to be added through Sunday. That would take the cume to $69.1M. And this is before it hits China on Wednesday — where it is expected to be a beast.
On Friday, the Duncan Jones-helmed adaptation of Blizzard Entertainment’s video game phenom added $5.9M for a $53.9M total. In new invasions this session, Warcraft landed No. 1 starts in seven. Of those, Spain leads with $895K after bowing on Friday and taking 56% of the box office share. Brazil debuted with $921K over Thursday and Friday, in No. 1, with 40% of the market.
The UK/Ireland booted up in previews on Monday and got off to a strong start ahead of yesterday’s official bow. The UK had a bank holiday on Monday, when Warcraft opened No. 1 in previews, and kids have been off all week which helped to push the pic which was nevertheless somewhat frontloaded. On Friday, it was No. 4 with $667K. With previews included, it’s at $3.8M through Friday.
The UK is a crowded market with the launches of Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows (the major wide release internationally this weekend in 40% of its offshore print and with an approximate $36M debut); and MGM/New Line’s Me Before You (via Warner Bros — see early estimates below); the 2nd frame of Alice Through The Looking Glass; and the third frame of X-Men: Apocalypse. The Ninjas on the half-shell rode into the UK for previews beginning on Monday and we will have a full TMNT2 report tomorrow.
In Italy, Warcraft likewise saw fans rush out to see Azeroth realized on the big screen, giving it a No. 1 start before slipping to No. 2 on Friday. The three-day total is $1.3M. The Netherlands bowed at No. 1 with $453K and 30% of the market.
In holds, Warcraft will retain the No. 1 spot at the German box office for the second frame running. The nine-day total is $8M. Russia now has the film at No. 2 with a nine-day haul of $14.9M.
Warcraft has 37 more territories to open over the next two months. Next weekend, it hits North America, but international is going to be the bulk of this beast. Most importantly, it travels to China on June 8 in a rare pre-U.S. debut for a big Hollywood movie, and as such will take advantage of the Dragon Boat Festival holiday. The Middle Kingdom is the world’s biggest gaming market and Warcraft is looking at an Orc-sized start for Legendary there where it releases through China Film Group and Huaxia. Pre-sales are beyond strong and the marketing machine has been in full multi-player mode.
Co-star and local heartthrob, Daniel Wu — of Go Away Mr Tumor fame — participated in a Q&A session at the Beijing Film Academy with co-star Paula Patton this week:
Even before Legendary was acquired by China’s Dalian Wanda Group, it had Middle Kingdom involvement in Warcraft and that should also help boost the coming frame. Tencent Pictures made an equity investment back in September, and at the same time, Wanda said it would work with the two companies and use its network to promote and market the film. It opens on 285 IMAX screens beginning at midnight on Tuesday and will have the muscle of Wanda’s centers behind it.
Here’s more from Wu and the Warcraft Experience:
Director Duncan Jones, Paula Patton and I were just in Beijing Sanlitun checking out the amazing Warcraft Experience exhibit set up in conjunction with the movie. Here you can see props and costumes from both the Alliance and the Horde plus special in depth short films about the making of the film. If you are in Beijing please check it out! #Beijing #WarcraftExperience #WarcraftMovie #legendary #legendaryeast #universal #Warcraft #Horde #Alliance #WETA
Me Before You, meanwhile, has cumed $3.4M in 16 offshore markets through Friday including the UK, Norway and Korea along with some smaller hubs. This is a key counterprogramming title for the upcoming Euro 2016 soccer tournament — think The Fault In Our Stars during the World Cup two years ago in terms of the demo. Based on Jojo Moyes’ novel, Me Before You sees Game Of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke star in the tearjerker alongside Sam Claflin. The UK, Germany and Korea are expected to be among key plays as rollout continues throughout the summer. The UK opened yesterday with $970K from 455 screens and taking the No. 1 position of the day, per WB. Norway was also a No. 1 with $290K on 160, and Korea has a three-day cume of $679K; it’s at No. 4. In the latter market, the current Top 3 titles — The Handmaiden, X-Men: Apocalypse and The Wailing — skew to a vastly different demo.
We will have a full update on all offshore titles tomorrow.