2ND UPDATE, SATURDAY AM: Contrary to domestic, Paramount’s Transformers: The Last Knight is on track to top the opening of Transformers: Age Of Extinction at the international box office. Although the studio is not providing an update today, as Friday estimates came in late yesterday (see below), the unofficial Saturday in China puts the Michael Bay pic at about $93M there so far.
That sets it up for an FSS Middle Kingdom bow of around $130M (including previews). Elsewhere, it should add on roughly another $50M through today and tomorrow to bring the total in 41 markets to the $220M neighborhood. These are not official numbers, but based on the earlier play, are a reasonable ballpark.
In 2014, Age Of Extinction opened to $183M in like-for-like markets and at today’s exchange rates. That film had topped Transformers: Dark Of The Moon by 35% at launch. China, as well as general overseas growth, accounted in part for the increased performance.
Domestically, The Last Knight is on track to take in about $40M+ for the three-day and is looking at a $63.9M five-day, which would be the lowest opening in the series of five films, per my colleague Anthony D’Alessandro.
With regard to China, some industry sources saw it coming in much lower ahead of the weekend, but it is stomping on screens — almost 167K showings today, per Ent Group, as compared to just 11K for the No. 2 title, Alien: Covenant. Age Of Extinction opened to $92M in China in 2014 and there has been considerable growth in the market since.
T5 has a 4.9 score on reviews site Douban compared to Age Of Extinction‘s 6.6; audiences are giving it a 7.4 on ticketing site Maoyan while Age Of Extinction was at 7. Hollywood tentpoles lean towards a 2-2.2 multiple in the PROC, which would see Last Knight fall below TAOE‘s final tally in non-restated dollars. The last pic made $320M there — although local currency will ultimately be seen as the measure. Last Knight has some runway with no major studio movie hitting the market until Despicable Me 3 on July 5.
China, Korea, Russia and some smaller South East Asia hubs led the Friday play. We’ll have a full update and analysis tomorrow which will provide clearer optics on Optimus and the gang’s first weekend out with Last Knight.
1ST UPDATE, writethru after Friday 10:07 AM post: Rolling out in 41 overseas markets this weekend, Paramount’s Transformers: The Last Knight has clocked an estimated $85M through Friday, according to the studio. That includes $47.9M (RMB 330.76M) from China which, in that market, is 69% above Transformers: Age Of Extinction’s June 27, 2014 bow in local currency. Par puts the opening day for Last Knight at No. 3 for an import ever in the Middle Kingdom (including Thursday’s midnight shows). The debut sets the film on track for a $100M+ weekend launch there.
Elsewhere, the $37.1M made up in other markets appears to be a mix of some Thursday openings (Korea) and those markets that bowed today, although it was not clear on how they break down in all cases.
The 5th installment in the $3.8B worldwide grossing franchise, and Michael Bay’s last turn at the helm, hit Korea with $2M in previews on Wednesday, followed by $1.4M from 1,711 screens on Thursday and $1.9M today. That lifts the cume there to $5.3M through Friday. Korea on the last Transformers was ultimately the No.3 market.
In 2014, Transformers 4’s first China day came in around $30M. That film was made under a co-operation agreement and shot locally. Transformers 5 has a local marketing partner in Wanda (owner of the most screens in the Middle Kingdom) with Weying Technology and Huahua also investing. Bay and the team traveled last week to a premiere in Guangzhou. Chinese singer Jason Zhang, who performed a promotional song for the film, was also in attendance.
All markets reporting came in at No. 1. Although we do not have an official UK number, rounding out the Top 10 bows after China and Korea through Friday are Russia at $2.8M on 2,460 screens, followed by Indonesia with $1.1M from 255 dates for the biggest Paramount launch day ever (the cume is $2.3M so far); Malaysia ($845K at 145 dates); Australia (2-day total $1.5M); Germany ($978K including previews on 828 screens); the Philippines with $919K on 503; Thailand at $715K including previews; and Hong Kong at $504K after Day 1 at No. 1.
The Last Knight is bypassing such markets as France and Spain this week, as well as waiting for Latin America to rumble with Bumblebee later on the calendar.
Ahead of the weekend, industry sources were pointing to an offshore opening of $167M-$200M, with China as ever the swing. The $47.9M start there portends a $100M+ debut frame in the market. The last film bowed to $92M across three days in the PROC and went on to be, at the time, the biggest import ever, finaling at $320M. It has since been overtaken by Furious 7 and The Fate Of The Furious.
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