U.S. ratings have yet to be revealed for Sherlock: The Abominable Bride, which aired on PBS on New Year’s Day, but it’s been burning up the box office in Asia. In a new experiment for PBS, BBC One, BBC Worldwide and producer Hartswood Films, the special one-off episode was released in cinemas in Korea on Saturday and China on Monday. It further went out Friday at 128 locations in the UK and hits the U.S. today as part of a global rollout plan.
In China, it grossed $5.39M in its first day, according to figures from Ent Group. It landed at No. 1 and screened 37,593 times on Monday; more than this weekend’s top film, Detective Chinatown, which picked up $5.01M on Monday. Shanghai Media Group is releasing locally where there are reportedly 25 minutes of bonus scenes added to the special. The last season of Sherlock was seen by 98M Middle Kingdom viewers who are huge fans of Benedict Cumberbatch as the high-functioning sociopath and Martin Freeman as Dr John Watson.
In Korea it is the No. 2 film with $5M through Monday on 735 screens and with 23.35% of the market; that’s four spots above Star Wars: The Force Awakens in its 3rd week, according to local industry org Kobiz.
In the UK, I hear it did about $330K on Friday when it was simultaneously airing on BBC One. The overnight ratings were very strong with 8.4M tuning in for a 34.7 share. The program was the most-watched of the holiday season.
In the U.S., PBS has held back the electronic sell-through until the cinematic run plays out this week. Typically, the network makes shows available on iTunes the day after broadcast, but this special episode will not come online until January 7.
A savvy experiment so far for a massively popular worldwide hit, the last of which hadn’t been seen on TV since January 2014’s Season 3. Seems almost elementary.