cinemaworldUPDATED with Monday figures, 3PM: There’s been an awakening; I think we all felt that. But Star Warsglobal dominance this weekend doesn’t mean there weren’t other options available to moviegoers. Star Wars: The Force Awakens of course led the international box office on a forceful $281M bow with 68% of its footprint in release. The domestic tally of $248M pushed The Force Awakens to a record $529M and the No. 1 position among worldwide debuts. It notably doesn’t hit China until January 9 and goes to India on December 24. Those markets and Korea saw major local players figure at the box office this frame, while The Good Dinosaur, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and Spectre added to their overseas banks.

surprise china movieWith the blackout period in full swing in China, treasure hunt fantasy/comedy Mojin – The Lost Legend came out on top at $85M for the weekend making it the No. 2 movie internationally. At No. 2 in China and No. 3 overall abroad, Surprise – Journey To The West returned to PROC cinemas following last week’s previews and generated $24M. In India, Shah Rukh Khan’s Dilwale took in $9.9M. The musical romance/actioner had the No. 3 opening day of the year for a Bollywood title but faced competition from Bajirao Mastani, another Bollywood pic that stars Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone. With Dilwale collecting $8.5M outside India, its cume is $18.4M. Bajirao Mastani grossed $7M in India and about $4.5 elsewhere for an overall tally of  $11.5M. Of those totals, it’s worth noting that in North America, Dilwale ($1.9M from 265 theaters) and Bajirao Mastani ($1.7M from 304) made the 9th and 10th slots on Rentrak’s domestic Top 10. Also in the international mix this week was Korea‘s The Himalayas which ended the weekend atop Star Wars locally with $8.5M. Based on a true story, it’s directed by Lee Suk-hoon and follows an expedition’s harrowing final mission to bring their teammate’s body back from Mount Everest.

Star Wars will dominate the offshore box office again next week and China will continue to factor near the top as it rolls out more local pics and sees the continued run of Mojin. On the studio front, Fox notably unleashes Snoopy on a broader scale with The Peanuts Movie hitting nearly 40 more markets.

Below are breakdowns on the top studio releases in the international marketplace. Tallies have been updated with distributor actuals reported Monday. There’s more on Star Wars‘ international debut here.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..Ph: Film Frame..©Lucasfilm 2015Kicking off in hyperdrive on Wednesday, SWTFA alit on about 30,000 screens this weekend for a $281M international debut. Records fell in myriad individual markets. With Disney’s record-smashing domestic opening, the worldwide weekend actuals swelled to a new record of $529M, surpassing this summer’s $524.9M from Jurassic World.  The biggest international opener of all time remains Jurassic World which kicked off with $316.1M this summer, but that figure included about $96M from China included in its initial suite. Remove the Middle Kingdom from the total and The Force awoke to a number that would be roughly $60M higher. The same comp, however, doesn’t work for the No. 2 all-time international opener, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Part 2. It did not have China in the mix on its $314M opening, but was also a summer debut. Looking at holiday releases, SWTFA set a new December record for an international opening, well outpacing Avatar’s $164.5M in 2009.

Fans queue for Star Wars at Odeon Leicester Square
Fans queue for Star Wars at Odeon Leicester Square.
Rex Shutterstock

European business was strong with The Force, as several key markets set opening weekend records including the UK, Germany and Russia. There is a fan-frontload that was buoyed by walk-ups, and word of mouth helped propel the non-fan base into multiplexes. In the UK, notably, I understand walk-up interest was huge with exhibitors laying on to accommodate. Reviews have been fantastic and the film had an A CinemaScore in the U.S. which often translates internationally. It is “a cultural phenomenon in every market around the world,” says Disney distribution chief Dave Hollis. “It transcends borders and cultures and languages.” It’s also transcending genders with woman seeing strong appeal thanks to the roundly well-received debut of empowered heroine Rey (Daisy Ridley).

Without China in the mix, a lot of Star Wars’ first frame force came from various markets that performed well above Jurassic World‘s debuts. They include the UK ($50.6M vs $29.6M), France ($22.5M vs $12.5M), Australia ($19.6M vs $12.1M), Germany ($27.5M vs $11M), Russia ($12.3M vs $9.4M), Brazil ($8.3M vs $6.3M) and Italy ($9.4M vs $5.3M).

Looking at legs, the coming period will see kids out of school, and parents out of offices, for the Christmas and New Year holidays as well as the southern hemisphere being on summer vacation.

It’s early to make a call, but for comparison sake, JW had a 3.2 multiple and the last Potter was at 3 overseas. It’s all about the daily business to be done over the coming weeks for SWTFA, and a multiple that is expected to be higher than in summer. And then there’s China where Disney has pulled out the stops to raise awareness for the franchise and where there is expected to be little in the way of competition from the January 9 opening to the end of the month. For more on Star Wars and the international rollout, see my in-depth report here.

SistersOpening in the UK and Ireland on Friday, the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler re-team grossed $1.8M including previews at 432 dates. That landed the well-reviewed Universal comedy No. 2 behind Star Wars. International markets roll out over the next few months.

GoodDinosaurDisney’s other play in overseas markets had no significant openings this frame but added $9.2M in 48 territories. The global box office is now $189.65M. Key markets had good holds including the UK (-35%/$12M cume), Mexico (-29%/$10.5M cume), and France (-16%/$10M cume). The animated title has found dino-might particularly in South East Asia — it’s just become Pixar’s biggest release ever in Malaysia.

With most of the rest of the world including the U.S. yet to come, Point Break brought in an additional $1.58M from eight Asian markets, elevating its international cume to $43.2M. Most of that, $37.3M, is from China where the picture added $980K in its 3rd frame playing out its run in the Middle Kingdom’s blackout period. Second and 3rd biggest market cumes were Hong Kong ($1.17M) and Thailand ($1.08M). For their second week of play Taiwan and Thailand, with $173.8K and $145.4K respectively, were the No. 2 and 3 markets after China in the current frame. The film starring Luke Bracey and Edgar Ramirez opens Christmas Day in the U.S. Next major offshore dates include Russia (Dec. 24), Denmark, Finland and Norway (Dec. 25), Australia (Jan. 1), Mexico (Jan. 8) and Germany (Jan. 21).

Lionsgate’s final franchise installment is nearing $600M worldwide with $596M after its 5th weekend. In 91 markets, the weekend drummed up another $8.6M, lifting the international cume to date to $341.6M. Top markets are the UK with $40.5M, Germany $38.6M and China with $22.3M

James Bond tallied up another $6.7M in 92 total markets, taking the offshore cume to $642.9M. In notable performances, Japan added $1.1M from 448 screens in its 3rd frame for a cume of $15.3M. The UK continues to lead with $142.9M, followed by China at $84.7M and Germany with $65.9M.

Fox’s Steven Spielberg drama crossed $60M this weekend with an additional $4.56M in 49 markets. The cume is $60.4M. Opening in Italy, its penultimate international release, the film earned $1.3M from 311 screens to take 4th place. Its final release is in Japan in January.

Director Todd Haynes’ drama is still in only a handful of overseas markets plus the United States. In its fifth weekend in the U.S. the movie added $231K from 16 screens ($15K PTA) bringing its five-weekend domestic total to $1.6M. Offshore expanded to four additional markets with a weekend total of $707K from seven markets for a cume of $4M, bringing its worldwide figure to $5.6M.

In The Heart Of The SeaCharting a $3.7M weekend in 52 territories, Ron Howard’s whale tale from Warner Bros/Village Roadshow has a cume to date of $49.4M. In key holdovers, Mexico’s cume is $4.9M, Brazil is $3.7M, Russia has $4.6M, and Italy $4.4M. The UK sets sail on Boxing Day Dec. 26 and Japan on Jan. 16.

Sony’s animated comedy vamped up another $1.9M in 65 markets. The overseas total is now $281.6M. School vacations in Australia helped the Adam Sandler sequel to dip only 10% in its 4th frame for $900K on 290 screens. The local cume is $6.3M.

KrampusLegendary and Universal’s Christmas horror pic slid down the chimney to $1.7M in 42 territories for a total of $12.6M. Unwrapping in Belgium, Estonia, Lithuania and Vietnam this weekend, the results are in line with expectations. International dates continue to roll out through December.

Fox rolls out Snoopy and the gang in about 40 markets later this week as a main counter-programmer to Star Wars over the holidays. Ahead of its wider opening, the film this weekend brought in another $1.15M from the earlier-releasing 20 markets to take its cume to $18.9M.

Chalk up another $817K for the James McAvoy/Daniel Radcliffe creature feature. The cume in 31 markets is $27.3M with further releases eyed in the new year.

While it makes a countdown to its final release — Japan in February — The Martian is winding up its run in China where the blackout takes hold. With a $698K weekend, the offshore cume is now orbiting at $370M.

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Universal is distributing this Christmas comedy in Italy where it finished the weekend at No. 3 behind Star Wars. Grossing an estimated $1.45M at 398 dates, it saw increases each day since releasing Wednesday. Volfango De Biasi directs the comedy of misunderstandings involving two plastic surgeons, two bumbling cops and a mob boss no one can recognize.

Universal also continues its good run with local sequels in France and Spain. In the former, Babysitting 2 is holding strong at No. 2 in its 3rd weekend, coming in with $2.1M at 532 dates for a total of $11.1M. SA2 added $1.1M at 350 local dates for a 31-day total of $30.66M. It is the highest grossing film in Spain this year.

AKA Hilfe, Ich Hab Meine Lehrerin Geschrumpft. This Sony local-language production made a solid debut in Germany and Austria with $1.2M including previews from 480 screens. In Germany, the family comedy outperformed all other family and kid oriented movies, and with schools out appears to be well positioned for the holiday season. If you’re curious, here’s a trailer (sorry, no subtitles).


Creed (WB): +530K, $8.9M international total to date
Upcoming openers: Japan (Dec. 23), France (Jan. 13), plus Germany, Italy, Russia (Jan. 14), UK (Jan. 15)
The Dressmaker (UNI): +$254k, $13.9M
By The Sea (UNI): +$138K, $2.27M
Steve Jobs (UNI): +103K, $6.95M