Legendary/Universal’s Pacific Rim: Uprising is now open in 62 offshore markets, including China, the biggest hub for the 2013 original. There, Pac Rim 2 is eyeing a $65M three-day start, roughly on par with Black Panther’s opening from two weeks ago (that film crossed $100M in the PROC on Thursday as it peters out). Elsewhere overseas, the Steven S DeKnight-directed sci-fi sequel Uprising is poised to pick up about $55.5M for the weekend, leading to an international box office opening of $120.5M and $145.8M worldwide.
The globe-spanning conflict between otherworldly monsters of mass destruction and the human-piloted super-machines built to vanquish them, was built for international, and is looking so-so so far.
China was the lead market on the previous movie with a final $112M, outperforming domestic. The opening on that one was about $45M in summer 2013, before the exponential Middle Kingdom growth of the past five years. Uprising, which stars Star Wars’ John Boyega (also a producer), scored what appears to be the biggest China opening day of 2018 for a Hollywood movie with $22.8M on Friday, followed by an estimated $25.2M on Saturday.
Legendary East is releasing Uprising in the Middle Kingdom. We hear word of mouth is not great — reviews site Douban has it at a low 5.8. That’s not likely to help it down the line with Ready Player One coming in fast next Friday (there are no Douban scores yet for the film, although the source material book by Ernest Cline has a 7.7 on the site). Pac Rim the first did most of its business in Asia which was a driver for the sequel getting made. The debuts in other Asian markets on Uprising, while all landing No. 1, are strong but not great.
Korea, the No. 3 offshore market for the first movie, has it dominating some big local titles and could get up to around $7M through Sunday. That’s about $1M off the first film’s launch, at historical rates. Russia was the previous title’s No. 2 market overseas and will likely come in 3rd this time around. Indonesia, which increasingly throws off bigger numbers, is off to a strong start in what is expected to be Legendary’s top opening of all time.
At an estimated net production cost of $155M, Uprising comes in about $35M cheaper than the first movie. The sequel is targeted to Asia, and was greenlit under the previous leadership of the Wanda-owned Legendary which is carrying the bulk of the budget at an estimated 90% while Universal is reportedly covering 10%.
DeKnight was recently in Beijing to promote the picture and spoke of his taste for Hong Kong cinema which he said influenced the film. Co-stars Scott Eastwood and Jing Tian also participated in the China press tour. Chinese actors who also feature in the film include Zhang Jin, known for Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster, as well as Huang Kaijie, Ji Li, Lan Yingying, Yu Xiaowei and Chen Zitong. Some of the shooting took place at Wanda’s Qingdao studios.
Other markets to bow this session include the UK, France, Australia, Germany, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Taiwan and Mexico. We’ll have a full update on Sunday.