UPDATE, WRITETHRU: Illuminating lightsabers in 54 material overseas markets, Disney/Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi showed its force with a $230M opening at the international box office. Combined with domestic, that puts the global launch at $450M. The worldwide figure ranks The Last Jedi as the No. 5 debut ever (No. 3 excluding the China starts of other films — SWTLJ does not go to the Middle Kingdom until January 5). Among its overseas plays, the Rian Johnson-helmed epic is the best bow of 2017 in several majors including the UK which leads with $36.7M.
Episode VIII debuted at No. 1 in all but four offshore hubs and the $230M puts Rey, Finn, Poe and the gang in line with pre-opening industry expectations. The debut estimate also means the crystal foxes are running about 23% below The Force Awakens (in adjusted dollars). That’s not a surprise given the pent-up demand for a new Star Wars film after such a long wait in 2015. The consensus among sources is that this very well-received entry will benefit from repeat viewings with audiences taking time to digest all the elements — maybe not as long as the sarlacc, but resulting in a slower burn rate than Force Awakens.
We’ll know more as we see how this legs out during the mid-weeks and as holiday breaks kick in. The Force Awakens in 2015 saw a 51% drop in the sophomore session. That included Christmas Day falling on a Friday. This year, it’s a better turnstile configuration with the holiday on a Monday.
The UK was tops on TFA and leads again on TLJ at open. Behind it, the rundown of Top 5 plays abroad is in keeping with Force Awakens‘ lineup from two years ago. No.s 2-5 this session are Germany ($23.6M), France ($18.1M), Australia ($15.9M) and Japan ($14.4M). Each of those had the biggest opening of 2017 (in Japan’s case, for a Western title).
IMAX generated $40.6M on 776 screens worldwide, by far the biggest launch weekend of 2017 and the 2nd best global opening weekend ever in the company’s history (excluding China). Internationally, Jedi knighted $16M, the 2nd best overseas bow (excluding China) for the format. In 11 markets, this was IMAX’s best start ever. Jedi will have over 500 IMAX screens in China when it releases there next month.
Speaking of China, there are two new Chinese movies in the Top 5 internationally this weekend, with Feng Xiaogang’s Youth ($48M est) and Yuen Woo-ping’s The Thousand Faces Of Dunjia ($34M est) taking the Nos. 2 and 3 slots (see more below).
Just behind those is another Disney hit, Pixar’s Coco which is closing in on $300M international and $450M worldwide. The animated charmer was recently granted an extension in China (much like Disney’s 2016 smash Zootopia) and has now grossed $154M there. It should pass Despicable Me 3 this week to become the No. 2 animated pic ever in the Middle Kingdom.
Elsewhere, Fox has ridden its mystery train, Murder On The Orient Express, across $200M at the international box office. Lionsgate’s Wonder has crossed $150M worldwide.
Looking to lure audiences to their sides in the coming frame are Universal’s Pitch Perfect 3 which starts in UK, Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere; and Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle which also hits the UK and Germany, along with France, Mexico, Russia and Spain. Fox’s Ferdinand expands to animate further majors. Also of note, Paramount opens Alexander Payne’s Downsizing in the U.S. and Spain. A particular of Payne’s filmography is that his movies over-index in the latter, finishing as either the No. 2 or No. 3 biggest play outside domestic.
Breakdowns on the current frame’s films have been updated below.
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
With $230M in its overseas open in 54 material markets, and $220M domestic, Disney/Lucasfilm’s The Last Jedi took an imperial $450M global bow. Those are massive debuts for the 40-year-old franchise which has been newly-invigorated since The Force Awakens launched in 2015. TLJ is running far, far ahead of last year’s spinoff, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and about 23% behind Force Awakens which is unsurprising given the anticipation for that film two years ago after a long droid-free period.
Force Awakens had a 3.5 multiple overseas (excluding wildcard China which does not go until January 5 on Jedi) and a 55%-45% international-domestic split (which does include China). Episode VIII is expected to have a slower burn rate than TFA and will benefit from repeat viewings over the holiday period (though bear in mind that both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall on Sundays which will eat into a portion of next weekend — but having Christmas Day and New Year’s Day falling on a Monday is a better configuration that it was in 2015 when those were on a Friday).
The biggest play this session was the UK where TLJ was Snokin’ at $36.7M. A royal premiere was held there this past week with all the key cast (save, of course, the dear departed Carrie Fisher who nevertheless loomed large on-screen and in on-stage tributes) and creatives in attendance. Vue Cinemas in Britain scheduled 72 hours straight of screenings beginning Wednesday night/Thursday morning at 12:01AM and reported sold-out showings and tickets bought for even the 3AM and 5AM projections. Many folks got up extra early to see the movie before heading into work. Also in the UK, Disney now has the three highest grossing Saturday’s of all time: The Force Awakens, Beauty And The Beast and Jedi.
The Top 10 rounds out with Germany ($23.6M), France ($18.1M), Australia ($15.9M), Japan ($14.4M), Russia ($8.5M), Spain ($8.3M), Brazil ($7.2M), Italy ($7M) and Mexico ($7M).
There is much joy in Mouse-dom today. Distribution chief Dave Hollis says, “The numbers are big and the response to the film is very positive. Regardless of whether it’s a high- or moderate-affinity market, the appreciation for the artistry, the characters, the world and the continuation of the story are all very, very satisfying. It’s doing what we expected it to do.”
Hollis agrees the film is expected to see a slow burn. “In part, the reaction is a reflection of having pulled off one of the hardest things which is to make a film that is totally Star Wars but totally fresh and unexpected and new. It’s creating a conversation” and that’s going to lead to repeat business.”
A question mark remains over China: Can Dis/Lucasfilm grow what they did on The Force Awakens which ultimately came in at $124M. The Middle Kingdom has traditionally had less familiarity with the Star Wars saga, but Disney has done its level-best to increase awareness over the past few years. The Beijing premiere is later this week.
Meanwhile, here are some stats to ponder from this session:
No. 1 in all but four markets, notably Korea ($5.1M) where local title Steel Rain dominated play. Korea is not generally a Top 5 market for Star Wars, and while there may be some work to do with affinity there, opening against a local phenomenon bit into TLJ’s X-wings.
Jedi is the 2nd biggest opening weekend ever in: Australia (behind TFA), Germany (behind TFA), Croatia, Hungary (behind TFA), New Zealand (behind TFA) and Sweden (behind TFA).
It is the 3rd biggest opening weekend ever in: the UK/Ireland, Denmark and Norway.
It scored the biggest opening weekend of 2017 in Australia, France, Germany, Japan (western), Spain, the UK/Ireland, Bosnia, Croatia, Czech Rep, Denmark, Hungary, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Sweden and Switzerland.
TLJ ranks as the No. 10 best start ever at the international box office. Backing out the movies that include China in the debut suite, it moves higher on the chart. Same goes for global where Episode VIII is at No. 5 behind The Fate Of The Furious, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World and Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2. Excluding the China starts on FOTF and Jurassic World, it moves up to No. 3.
IMAX generated $40.6M on 776 screens worldwide, by far the biggest launch weekend of 2017 and the 2nd best global opening weekend ever in the company’s history (excluding China). Internationally, Jedi knighted $16M, the 2nd best overseas bow (excluding China) for the format. In 11 markets, this was IMAX’s best start ever including Japan ($57K per-screen average on 28); France ($102K PSA from 12); Italy, Sweden ($246K PSA from 1); Belgium ($86K PSA from 1); and Denmark ($188K PSA from 2).
In 26 International markets, TLJ was the biggest IMAX opening weekend of 2017. There will be over 500 screens added when China comes online.
Also new this session, and as Disney this week announced plans to acquire more than $50B in Fox assets, Blue Sky Studios’ Ferdinand charged out at the international box office with $6.2M. Playing in 18 markets, the Carlos Saldanha-helmed pic was led by Australia with $1.9M on 268 screens and at No. 2 behind Last Jedi.
Based on Murno Leaf and Robert Lawson’s book about a gentle giant bull who is taken away from his home, and fights his way back with the help of a misfit team, Ferdinand is aimed at kids who are too young for the Dark Side.
Including previews, Ferdinand opened to No. 1 in Vietnam with $458K which is notable given Disney made a publicity stop in the market with TLJ.
Ferdinand releases in 44 markets next weekend, and is will act as a counter to Jedi for the kids, taking advantage of school holidays globally.
In the 4th overseas frame, and ahead of such majors to open as Australia, Italy, Brazil, Korea, the UK and Japan, Disney/Pixar’s Coco had another great session. Adding $27.4M in 36 material markets, Miguel and Dante have now grossed $297.4M overseas and $448.2M global. They strummed across the $400M global mark earlier this week.
From Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, the animated tuner continued an otherworldly run in China where it has now amassed $153.9M, ranking as the 3rd highest animated release ever there behind only Zootopia and Despicable Me 3. It should pass the latter later this week, and has been granted an extension to its play (as was Zootopia last year).
Also notably, Greece was a new play with $200K, up 88% vs Moana. In Singapore, Coco is now the No. 1 industry release of 2017.
China leads all play, followed by Mexico ($57.2M), France ($14.7M), Spain ($10.6M) and Russia ($8.8M).
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
Fox’s Agatha Christie adaptation chugged by the $200M international box office mark this session, adding $10.8M in 52 markets and led by a solid $2.2M No. 3 start in France. The overseas cume is now $200.7M. Holds in Italy ($1.6M), Japan ($1.3M/-38%) and Germany ($650K/-29%) led the weekend behind France. The respective cumes on the all-star Kenneth Branagh-helmed film in those stations are $11.4M, $6M and $11.6M. The UK continues to lead all plays at $30.7M.
Lionsgate’s inspirational family film crossed $150M global this weekend, thanks to a further $9.4M from 60 markets. The international cume is $44.4M after five frames. Mexico was the lead new play at $2.4M including previews and ranking No. 2 behind Star Wars. Brazil has become the top market at $8.7M after two weeks and with a slight 26% dip from open. Behind Brazil are Australia at $6.3M, the UK with $4.7M, Spain’s $3.8M and Venezuela with $2.6M. The next major markets to release are France and Italy this week.
DADDY’S HOME 2
Paramount’s comedy sequel tickled $5.8M in overseas funnybones for an offshore cume of $61M to date. There were no new openings among the 59 markets in play. The UK remains in the lead for the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg re-team and now has a local total of $15M. Mexico is next on the John Lithgow/Mel Gibson-co-starrer with $9.4M to date, followed by Australia ($8.1M), and Peru and Colombia at $1.3M each. Germany after two weekends has amassed $1.2M.
Warner Bros/DC’s superheroes put another $5.3M in the batmobile on 5,720 screens in 65 markets. The international cume has risen to $414.5M for a global take of $634M. Top 5 hubs are: China ($103.9M), Brazil ($38.1M), Mexico ($24.3M), the UK ($22.4M) and Australia ($14.5M).
A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS
STXinternational’s comedy sequel put another $2.9M in the stocking this session, having added five new overseas markets (Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Taiwan). The offshore cume is now $50.9M for $121.6M worldwide. Ukraine, birthplace of star Mila Kunis, opens December 28.
MISC UPDATED CUMES/NOTABLES
Perfectos Desconocidos (UNI): $1.7M intl weekend (Spain only); $10.2M Spain cume
Thor: Ragnarok (DIS): $1.1M intl weekend (41 markets); $535.4M intl cume ($841.8M worldwide)
Happy Death Day (UNI): $1M intl weekend (24 markets); $58.5M intl cume
Girls Trip (UNI): $500K (4 markets); $24.1M intl cume
Victoria And Abdul (UNI): $400K intl weekend (16 markets); $42.5M intl cume
The Foreigner (STX): $384K intl weekend; $105.5M intl cume
The Disaster Artist (WB): $362K intl weekend (3 markets); $2.6M intl cume
Supervacanze Di Natale (UNI): $300K intl weekend (Italy only); $300K Italy cume
Darkest Hour (UNI): $100K intl weekend (China only); $5.2M China cume
The Snowman (UNI): $100K intl weekend (14 markets); $36.3M intl cume
Feng Xiaogang’s Youth finally released in China this weekend, after being delayed in what was thought to be an attempt to avoid any spark of controversy surrounding the National Congress of the Communist Party in October. It appears to be worth the wait as the movie scored about $48M including previews, landing the No. 2 slot at the international box office behind Last Jedi. Feng previously has had success in this corridor, with such titles as Personal Tailor and If You Are The One.
Youth chronicles the joys and travails of a provincial military-arts troupe — soldiers in the People’s Liberation Army whose duty it is to promote culture, revolutionary values, music and dance. At the center of the story is He Xiaoping (Miao Miao) a talented dancer from Beijing with a painful family history. Due to her innocence and social status, she quickly becomes a scapegoat and laughing stock amongst her peers. As time passes and the group gradually splinters apart, however, her life takes unexpected turns and she emerges a true heroine.
In September, the coming-of-age drama was abruptly shelved ahead of the Middle Kingdom’s lucrative National Day holiday.
Following Youth on the international chart is The Thousand Faces Of Dunjia. Directed by martial arts legend Yuen Woo-ping and scripted and produced by Tsui Hark, it’s a remake of 1982’s The Miracle Fighters also directed by Yuen. The weekend box office was about $34M in the Middle Kingdom.
December is traditionally the beginning of a blackout period, although some imports are still at play including Darkest Hour, Coco and Paddington 2 which has now made over $25M in Middle Kingdom marmalade sandwiches. The next local title to keep an eye on will be Jackie Chan-starrer Bleeding Steel this coming Friday.
In Korea, Steel Rain dominated play, relegating Star Wars: The Last Jedi to the No. 2 position at open. The action drama from director Yang Woo-suk sees a former North Korean agent team up with the chief of foreign security affairs on a dangerous secret spy mission in order to prevent the Korean war. The weekend box office is an estimated $12M to Jedi’s $5.1M.