UPDATE, SATURDAY AM PT: Warcraft‘s China invasion continued Friday and Saturday with a cume through 10:15PM local time tonight of $144.7M (950M rmb). That makes it the fastest film ever to cross 900M rmb in the Middle Kingdom, passing the previous four-day record of 891M rmb set by Furious 7 last year. Saturday’s China gross on Warcraft was $23.1M for a roughly 50% drop from Thursday. The Legendary/Universal title is a Legendary release in the PROC, going out via China Film Group and Huaxia.
Combined with the Universal gross in 51 overseas markets through Friday (23 are new this weekend), the current offshore cume is $232.8M. Universal is projecting a full weekend of $29M in its markets, which would take its portion to $105M. Without Sunday’s China figures factored in, that’s a cume of $249.7M, meaning the Duncan Jones-helmed fantasy pic will cross $250M by an Orc’s tusk in this third frame abroad.
While X-Men: Apocalypse has held well against the juggernaut that is Warcraft in China — and is now approaching $100M in the market, there are other films in the mix internationally this weekend. Notably, the continued run of Me Before You is owning UK play well above Warcraft, while The Conjuring 2 has debuted in 44 markets and marked the biggest opening day ever for a horror film in over 24.
Warcraft international update
On the Universal side, Warcraft colonized $6.6M on Friday. Across all 51 release markets, it has bowed No. 1 in 45. Ukraine gave the video game adaptation the market’s biggest opening day ever on Thursday with $233K and a total $410K through Friday. Korea, which is packed with strong local titles, was a No. 1 bow on Thursday with a two-day cume of $1.8M.
Further offshore starts include No. 1s in Taiwan (ahead of Conjuring 2, Now You See Me 2 and Angry Birds) with $1.7M including previews; Hong Kong ($684K), Singapore ($456K two-day take); Greece ($200K two-day); India ($185K); Vietnam ($184K); Finalnd ($133K); and South Africa ($96K).
In Europe, where Euro 2016 soccer play is a big distraction, there were No. 1s in Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia — and notably Romania which played the first Euro Cup match on Friday night versus France.
Russia remains the top-grosser for Uni at $19.1M in 16 days. Still to come are releases in 14 markets including Australia, Cyprus, Mexico, New Zealand and Venezuela next frame.
The Conjuring 2
In other action this weekend, Warner Bros/New Line’s new release began its offshore rollout in 44 markets with a scary good $19.5M through Friday. Of those, there are No. 1 starts in 25 including all of Latin America, Australia and several Asian markets. The sequel is also the biggest opening day ever for a horror film in over 24, including Australia, Mexico, Brazil and all of Latin America.
The Vera Farmiga/Patrick Wilson-starrer nabbed 78% of Mexico’s Top 5 market share with $1.6M on about 3,100 screens. The start is supernaturally bigger than comps The Conjuring (+190%) and Annabelle (+37%). The two-day cume is $3.6M.
Brazil broke out with $735K on 782 screens, for 60% of the Top 5 and doubling the comps. The two-day cume is $1.5M. Australia launched to $401K on 207 screens, with 41% of the Top 5 and surpassing its respective comps by 83.5% and 7%. The cume is $1.1M. Korea has booked $1.2M in two days. This is a film that is roundly expected to play as solid counterprogramming to the footie in Europe.
Me Before You
MGM/New Line/Warner Bros tearjerker picked up an estimated $1.4M in 17 markets on Friday for a running offshore cume of $15.2M. The UK is holding at No. 1 — topping 2nd place Warcraft by 158% in the second frame with a total through Friday of $5M. Other key market cumes include Korea at $2.9M and Norway at $1.6M.
Full weekend results on these films and more in our international report on Sunday.
UPDATE, THURSDAY, 8:42 AM PT: Day two of Warcraft‘s China invasion came on strong with a current range of $44.5M-$46.5M (292M-305M rmb). That gives the Legendary/Universal fantasy actioner the biggest Thursday box office of all time in the Middle Kingdom, splashing past the record set by The Mermaid (249M rmb) earlier this year. That film went on to become the highest grosser ever in the market at a USD exchange of $527M. Averaging out today’s dollar range, the Duncan Jones-helmed Warcraft drops just 1% from Wednesday; if the high-end holds, it grows by 1%. Today’s play — which saw Warcraft dominate 81% of all turnstile spins — gives the feature adaptation of Blizzard Entertainment’s video game a mainland China total of $90.6M-$92.2M (595M-605M rmb) and counting. The rest of international is at $78M through Wednesday.
The film passed the 500M rmb milestone at 4:46 PM local time this afternoon which is believed also to be a record. Only two other films have ever passed that benchmark in their first two days of release: The Mermaid in February, and Universal’s own Furious 7 last April. Based on current numbers, this is the first time in history that a film has exceeded 600M rmb in two days. Prior to the Azerothians, the two-day record was held by the F7 crew with 586M rmb.
Warcraft‘s performance out of the gate is stunning, but not necessarily a huge surprise in this market where advance ticket sales were through the roof. The game has a long history in China where fantasy is big — even the local title for World of Warcraft translates to World of Magical Beasts — and the move to get it on screens during a key holiday was a prescient play. It’s also got a lot of local muscle behind it in the form of Legendary owner Wanda (which also owns 18% of PROC screens) and the film’s Chinese equity and brand partners. Weekend projections are steadily rising from the mooted high-end of $150M…
PREVIOUS, WEDNESDAY 9:16 AM PT: Warcraft blasted out of the gate today in China with $46M (302M rmb) at the box office as of 10 PM local time. The Legendary Pictures/Universal Pictures adaptation of the popular video game franchise set a record for the best first-day box office for a non-weekend release in the Middle Kingdom. The previous title holder was Avengers: Age Of Ultron with $28.3M (185.86 rmb).
The midnight screenings, which began Tuesday, posted $7.6M (49.78M rmb), falling just shy of Furious 7‘s record which was set last year with $7.9M (52.47M rmb). In Imax, however, the Orcs bit down on a record for midnights with $1.38M (9.03M rmb). Including Imax midnights, Warcraft posted $5.33M (35M rmb) for the full opening day, hitting a new milestone for the format. That tops F7‘s $4.7M (31M rmb) from last April. Overall advance Imax ticket sales also bested all previous comers with $8.2M (53.8M rmb).
Opening estimates on Warcraft’s five-day launch, which comes during a holiday period, have been hovering between 800M rmb and 1B rmb which would put the range at $122M-$152M. It now looks more than likely that the citizens of Azeroth blow past the high end of those industry projections — kids are off and the Dragon Boat Festival begins tomorrow.
The Duncan Jones-helmed feature also sets a new milestone for the widest release ever in the Middle Kingdom, playing on an unprecedented 67.5% of all screens. The previous record holder for widest release was Universal’s own F7 last year. It bowed on 62.8% of screens and went on to final at $391M, becoming the biggest Hollywood title ever in China.
Wanda now owns Legendary, and its exhibition circuit has 18% of the 39K Middle Kingdom screens. That relationship clearly is helping here, while others booked Warcraft with gusto in the market which has a long history and love for the games.
Legendary’s local release partners are China Film Group and Huaxia. Warcraft has four Chinese equity partners: Tencent, CFG, Huayi and Taihe. Universal is understood to be in for about 25%-30% of the full reported $160M budget and will reap the benefits of all releases as part of the overall pie. After beginning international rollout on May 25, and with strong plays in Russia and Germany, the current estimated overseas cume is $121M.
The film is set for domestic release Friday with projections of about $25M for the weekend. If Warcraft continues its magical ride as expected in China, it kicks off the Legendary/Wanda relationship in a big way. It also potentially sends a signal that films which have great uptake internationally — and especially in China — may not need rely on North America quite so much.