UPDATED, Monday writethru: The King of Wakanda is king at the international box office, with a stunning $168.7 million in 48 markets through Sunday. That puts Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther at a global debut of $370.5M, with the actuals on domestic coming in higher. Including Monday’s domestic estimate, the worldwide cume rises above $400M.
The numbers are “insane” is the refrain we heard all weekend as the movie shattered expectations. Most ahead of the opening were seeing $90M-$120M, with some believing it could edge higher, but not to these stratospheric totals. What’s fueling it? The movie is playing to the Marvel faithful, and also brought out the non-core audience. Says one international distribution veteran, “I think it’s so fresh and people are recognizing this, worldwide.”
Part of the reason the estimates were so low is that many saw this as comping to a first stand-alone movie with a character who’s not as well known from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Dave Hollis, Disney’s President of Theatrical Distribution, admits the studio didn’t see it rivaling the Avengers movies. “It just didn’t seem possible.” And yet, “the reception in every single way is a reflection of how good a movie this was but there is so much momentum inside the Marvel Studios space.” The consistency with which Marvel scores, encourages moviegoers to go along with them and try new things.
Importantly, the movie clicked with what has been an under-served market. Says Hollis, “Our goal is to make movies that reflect the diversity of our world because those are the stories that resonate everywhere. To have the ability to show other people’s experience is part of the beauty of movies, but it also allows for rich storytelling, and for the people whose experiences are up on the screen, especially if they have not been showcased a ton. The meaningful nature of being able to see yourself represented, those things really matter to everyone, but in this case it matters even more to communities of color. Representation matters and the times we’ve leaned into it, we’ve had massive results.”
The global opening is the No. 15 of all time despite not having China, Japan or Russia in the initial suite. Internationally, Black Panther‘s bow is bigger than Logan and Avatar, and comes in just below X-Men: Days of Future Past. These are at unadjusted rates and in various rollout patterns, so not entirely apples-to-apples, but for an idea where this historic movie will chart.
Black Panther launched at No. 1 in almost all markets. And get this: with $24.9M in the UK, he’s already overtaken the entire run of Justice League, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, Ant-Man and Iron Man. He also holds a new record for the highest-grossing February opening weekend ever.
In Korea, the Ryan Coogler-directed superhero pic was the No. 5 biggest western industry opening of all time at $25.3M, ahead of Doctor Strange and Thor: Ragnarok and already exceeding the entire runs of Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man. This is the lead market so far — it’s a huge Marvel hub, but there was some concern early on that Asia might not embrace this boundary-breaking movie. It was a smart play by Disney to launch the global press junket in Korea and to play off of the fact that the film was partly shot in-country.
Talking with rival executives, the sentiment is that BP is in part benefiting in Asia from the Chinese Lunar New Year which kicked off Friday and has aided turnstiles in their spin. There is also feeling in some corners that this movie is not necessarily going to mean films with predominantly Black casts will all of a sudden be guaranteed big numbers overseas, an issue we addressed before offshore play started. But these numbers are undeniably encouraging. We will keep a close watch to see how front-loaded BP ultimately is with a relatively clear month ahead.
BP did not open No. 1 in major hubs Germany and Italy where Universal’s Fifty Shades Freed kept a tight grip in its second frame, getting a bump also from the Valentine’s Day holiday. The weekend on that picture was $47.7M for a 46% drop and a $190.8M offshore cume in 60 markets. Globally, the movie is at $269M.
And, in China, where BP won’t pounce until March 9, it’s been a mega-weekend. Still, some of those crazy numbers we saw on Friday — when Monster Hunt 2 entered the record books with the biggest single-day gross ever – eased as the frame continued. The Raman Hui-directed sequel to 2015’s monster hit opened to about $82M without previews, $97M with, on Friday. But on Saturday rather than seeing a jump, it dipped to just $58M. And on Sunday, it was bested by Detective Chinatown 2 which closed the weekend at $155M. Monster Hunt 2 ended the session at $188M, including previews and per local reporting. ComScore has it at $141M for the three-day.
We saw a similar phenomenon last year when Journey To The West: The Demons Strike Back was predicted as the Chinese New Year champ, but fell back when Jackie Chan’s Kung Fu Yoga ended up surging and became the No. 5 film of 2017, ahead of Journey To The West. MH2 is at a poor 5.3 on reviews site Douban versus 7.3 for DC2 and 8.5 for Operation Red Sea ($70.3M opening). The three movies do have IMAX in common in a savvy play that saw the large-format guys spread the love across them. Combined, they earned $15.1M for the three-day and $19M for the four-day, with Friday becoming the best single-day result in IMAX’s China history. The total was also the best-ever FSS result.
In the U.S., Warner is releasing Detective Chinatown 2 with it leading the Middle Kingdom offerings — it was largely shot in New York –- with $677K for the three-day and $800K for the four-day at 115 locations. Lionsgate is releasing Monster Hunt 2 domestically on 70 screens and Well Go has Monkey King 3: Kingdom Of Women.
Turning back to the rest of the international pack, Fifty Shades Freed notably stayed tops in Germany with a $22.2M cume, dropping just 19% from open. Rounding out the Top 5 are the UK ($19.7M cume), France ($14.58M), Italy ($14.1M) and Brazil ($12.4M).
Fox estimated Maze Runner: The Death Cure at $11M in 65 markets, dipping just 26% in France and 32% in Germany to reach an intl cume of $205M. Its final territory debut is in Japan on June 15.
The Greatest Showman continued its surprising run with $9.6M in 31 markets and a No. 1 debut in Japan with $4.4M. It dipped a tiny 2% in the UK, pulling in $2.6M, and a modest 18% in Australia. Its international tally is now $185.6M.
Elsewhere, and as we reported on Saturday, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle has crossed $900M worldwide. It is now Sony’s 2nd highest grossing movie ever. The totals are $527M international and $904.6M global after a $4.8M weekend.
Sony also had a local hit with Russian romantic ice skating drama, Ice. This one grossed $8.7M to launch at No. 1 in the home market on 1,710 screens. The film released on Valentine’s Day and set a new industry record in Russia as the biggest opening day for a local title ever. The director is Oleg Trofim.
Focus and Working Title’s two-time BAFTA winner Sunday night, Darkest Hour, has clocked $78M internationally to date and crossed $30M in the UK.
Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape Of Water which led BAFTA noms and scored another trophy for the Mexican director, grossed a great $12.3M for Fox Searchlight in 40 markets including an excellent $3.3M in the UK. The international cume is now $38.7M. Stablemate, and big BAFTA winner Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri collected $4.5M from 40 overseas markets after passing $100M worldwide earlier this week.
Also, Disney/Pixar’s Coco passed Shrek Forever After to become the No. 13 animated film of all time internationally with $523.7M.
Box office was slightly abridged on Sunday owing to the BAFTA Film Awards. Figures are being updated as they roll in. For the BAFTA action from last night stroll on over here for our report from the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Dissecting the $168.7M offshore start, let’s look at some milestones. The Netherlands posted the highest grossing day ever for a superhero film and the highest grossing February opening weekend ever. Black Panther also posted the highest grossing February opening of all-time in Bahrain, East Africa, Kuwait, Qatar, South. Africa, UK, UAE and West Africa.
In Africa, T’Challa wowed with the top industry opening weekend of all time in both East Africa and West Africa while in South Africa it was the highest grossing Saturday ever in industry history as well as the 2nd highest grossing industry opening weekend of all time (excluding previews).
Across Asia-Pacific, Panther was No. 1 and was the biggest opening weekend of 2018 to date in all markets. In Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand, Panther topped the lifetime of GOTG. Indonesia was the 3rd biggest industry FSS ever and Malaysia the 3rd biggest MCU bow of all time.
Across Latin America, the Chadwick Boseman-starrer opened at No. 1 in all markets and was the best opener this year everywhere except Argentina and Uruguay. It scored the highest grossing February opening of all-time in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama and Paraguay.
In IMAX, BP shredded $30M for the three days and $34M for the four-day holiday weekend. Three markets had their best opening weekend ever (Nigeria, Kenya, Indonesia), Korea had its 2nd best opening weekend ever and six markets had their best opening ever for a Marvel title (Angola, Belgium, Bahrain, France, Israel, Netherlands, Argentina).
The Top 10 markets are Korea ($25.3M), the UK ($24.9M), Mexico ($9.6M), Brazil ($9.4M), Australia ($9.2M), France ($7.7M), Indonesia ($6.5M), Germany ($6.2M), Taiwan ($5.6M) and Malaysia ($4.9M).
Next weekend sees openings in Russia along with Vietnam, Trinidad, Peru and Venezuela. Japan and China are in March.
MISC UPDATED CUMES
15:17 To Paris (WB): $2.8M intl weekend (27 markets); $10.7M intl cume
Ferdinand (Fox): $2.7M intl weekend (34 markets): $200M intl cume
Phantom Thread (UNI): $2.2M intl weekend (27 markets); $10M intl cume
Pad Man (SNY): $2.1M intl weekend (5 markets); $14.7M intl cume
Lady Bird (UNI): $1.9M intl weekend (10 markets)
Monster Hunt 2 (SNY markets only): $1.8M three
The Post (UNI): $1.3M intl weekend (17 markets); $15M intl cume