EXCLUSIVE: Focus Features’ and Working Title’s six-time Oscar nominee and nine-time BAFTA nominee Darkest Hour has crossed the $100M mark worldwide. Directed by Joe Wright, the WW II drama has landed $105.6M globally through Thursday including $46.4M domestically and $59.2M at the international box office.
The Gary Oldman-starrer began a limited domestic release in late November, expanding at Christmas. It debuted offshore in China on December 1. Rollout continued through January with more dates to come this month ahead of a March 30 opening in Japan.
The UK currently leads offshore play with $23M through Thursday (it held No. 1 for three consecutive weeks amid strong competition); followed by China at $5.6M (notable for a specialty film that doesn’t seem a natural fit in this market); France at $4.3M; Australia with $3.6M and Italy at $3.5M.
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The edge-of-your-seat thriller written by Anthony McCarten has been buoyed by its awards-season momentum, but is also naturally striking a chord with audiences given its timely and inspirational message. Produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, McCarten and Douglas Urbanski, the story takes place over the first five weeks of Winston Churchill’s time as Prime Minister, and as Hitler advances.
In the UK and elsewhere, Oldman’s lauded turn as Churchill has seen audiences break into spontaneous applause and standing ovations at his rendition of the “We shall fight on the beaches” speech. Buckingham Palace even requested a copy so the Queen could watch the film over Christmas.
Focus Features President Robert Walak says,”The power to unite and the importance of true leadership are themes we see connecting.” He adds, “The numbers are there to show that the film is performing consistently around the globe and audiences are embracing it. It’s chiming.”
That’s also down to the relationship Focus enjoys with Universal. Says Walak, “As a studio, we’re extremely fortunate to be part of one family with the partnership with Duncan Clark and the incredible team at Universal International who work tirelessly in every single territory to make films like Darkest Hour global hits.”
Darkest Hour leans into Focus’ strategy for the types of films it set out to make when Walak and Chairman Peter Kujawski took over in 2016. As a studio heavy on prestige pictures, Focus is one of the few that has the ability to distribute all of its films internationally, making it a truly global label embellished by a cohesiveness with Universal, led by its international president Clark, and the overseas expertise of Universal’s management and marketing team.
It’s difficult right now to predict where Darkest Hour will final at the worldwide box office given the splashy competition ahead. But drops have been slight and with awards momentum continuing and releases still on deck, the future looks bright. Also, while each of the films are at different stages of release, Darkest Hour has become the 3rd highest grosser both overseas and worldwide among the Best Picture nominees, behind Dunkirk and Get Out.
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