It has been a busy week at the international box office with Chinese New Year in full swing since Tuesday. The top of the chart is dominated by Middle Kingdom pics including sci-fi epic The Wandering Earth ($298M), fantasy comedy Crazy Alien ($215M) and racing comedy Pegasus ($155M). For the Hollywood studios, Fox got Alita: Battle Angel out early and strongly in Asia with $32M while Warner Bros began offshore rollout on The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, for $18.1M.
Fox took advantage of the Chinese New Year to push Alita into South East Asia. This one doesn’t open in North America until next weekend, and so far reviews on the James Cameron-produced pic are mixed. But the play here is international, particularly Asia given the manga source material. Fox is happy with the results which are from just 11 markets, especially in Korea where the film came in at No. 2 amid strong local competition. Overall, Alita is outpacing Maze Runner (+23%) and Ready Player One (+5%) in like for like markets and at today’s rates.
Alita will release in China on February 22 as the first big foreign title to arrive post-New Year. Cameron is beloved in the Middle Kingdom and he and Jon Landau are headed there soon to host a big premiere.
Lego blocked together $18.1M in 63 markets, including majors the UK, Brazil and Spain. Somewhat surprisingly, Lego is not as well-known a brand overseas, but has certainly lifted its profile through the four movies WB has released in the past few years.
Fox also hit a new milestone in Japan this weekend as Bohemian Rhapsody crossed $100M. This is the first of the studio’s titles to hit the mark since Avatar and the first foreign pic since 2017’s Beauty And The Beast. Bo Rhap is up for seven BAFTAs here in London tonight and star Rami Malek has been putting in appearances at pre-ceremony soirées around town this weekend. In other milestones, Sony’s Escape Room topped $100M overseas.
Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s Aquaman got his fins wet in Japan, the final market for the Warner Bros/DC hero. With $6M, it opened No. 1 to cume $792M offshore. The global tally is $1.12B.was the overall leader at the international box office — not counting the China movies. The weekend was good for $38.2M to lift the overseas cume to $138.7. Also,
For more on this weekend’s Chinese New Year pics, check out our deeper dive here. Please note that box office will be abridged today owing to the BAFTAs where we’ll be live blogging the evening.
THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART
Playing into school holidays across some European markets, the WB sequel grossed $18.1M on 11,709 screens in 63 markets. The UK was the top opener with $5.2M on 1,301 screens. The results are 8% over Lego Ninjago. Russia was also a No. 1 start, notably over The Lego Movie by 13%. Poland topped all previous Lego movies with $1.3M. Germany was $1.1M way down in 5th place, although school holidays start this week so there’s hope for midweek play.
The next key markets to open will be Mexico, France, Italy and Australia.
In IMAX, Lego 2 took $2.6M from 461 screens in 25 markets.
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL
Based on the Gunnm manga series by Yukito Kishiro, Robert Rodriguez’s Alita is an ambitious and long-in-the-works adaptation. The tech aspects are impressive — European exhibitors got an extended look last June at CineEurope while ComicCon also got an eyeful in July. The motion capture of the titular heroine and next-level 3D plus the source material are particular draws in Asia where this movie bowed over the frame to $32M (also including the UK).
There were 11 markets out this weekend, led by Korea at $10.9M (19% bigger than Star Wars: The Last Jedi), followed closely behind by Taiwan at $4.8M for No. 1 Fox’s 4th biggest opening ever. The UK grossed $4.2M with a 42% 3D share. Malaysia’s $2.9M is Fox’s 2nd biggest opening ever.
Alita is an expensive proposition with a reportedly $170M production budget and overseas is expected to be the driver. Landau recently told Reuters that the filmmakers aren’t judging the success in box office terms. “We are our biggest critics. If we’re happy with the movie, we’ve done our job. I think not only are we happy with it, but James Cameron is happy with it and (manga creator) Yukito Kishiro, who could be our biggest critic of all, is thrilled with it.”
Cameron for his part said “It’s in that battle-cruiser class of budgets, there’s no question about it so, yeah, the stakes are high.” But he also promised “at least one more if not two” further installments if “people show up” to this one.
The film moves into the bulk of overseas markets next weekend.
IMAX play was worth $4.7M from 216 screens in 17 markets.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD
Universal/DreamWorks’ threequel picked up another $38.2M in 46 offshore markets this session as rollout continues and ahead of the domestic opening. The overseas total to date is $138.7M. There are still 22 markets to go including Russia, Spain, Japan and China. Hiccup and Toothless got a boost from the Chinese New Year holiday in South East Asia, HTTYD3 is also the No. 1 studio movie this weekend, behind the Chinese pics.
Germany was new in the session with a strong $6.9M opening, well ahead of Lego 2 and scoring the best February animation bow ever. School holidays are a help here and are staggered meaning long play ahead. In France, the debut was $6.86M at No. 2 — there’s a big local comedy in the market that’s at No. 1. In Vietnam, HTTYD3 logged the best opening weekend ever for an animated movie at $2.5M.
The Top markets to date are Mexico ($14.9M), Brazil ($12.5M), the UK ($11.8M), Korea ($8.9M) and Germany ($6.9M).
Oscar nominee Green Book collected $11.4M from 54 Lionsgate and Amblin markets, lifting the offshore cume to a tidy $44.6M combined. Broken out, Lionsgate took $5.8M from 43 hubs with Italy leading at a $4.1M running cume. For Amblin this frame, the haul was $5.6M. In Spain, the pic is No. 1 while Australia is expected to come in No. 1 as well. France is the lead market to date with $5.2M.
MISC UPDATED CUMES
Escape Room (SNY): $6.9M intl weekend (44 markets); $108.2M intl cume
Glass (DIS): $6.6M intl weekend; $123M intl cume
The Mule (WB): $6.3M intl weekend (51 markets); $32.7M intl cume
Aquaman (WB): $6M intl weekend (76 markets led by Japan); $791.9M intl cume
Bohemian Rhapsody (FOX): $5M intl weekend (39 markets); $633.7M intl cume
Ralph Breaks The Internet (DIS): $4.6M intl weekend (30 markets); $296.6M intl cume
The Favourite (FOX): $4.1M intl weekend (41 markets); $39M intl cume
Nicky Larson And Cupid’s Perfume (SNY): $3.6M intl weekend (France only)
Creed II (WB): $3.4M intl weekend (39 markets); $92M intl cume
Instant Family (PAR): $2.6M intl weekend (24 markets); $32.1M intl cume
Mary Poppins Returns (DIS): $2.5M intl weekend (23 markets); $166M intl cume
Mary Queen Of Scots (UNI): $2M intl weekend (36 markets); $21.4M intl cume
A Dog’s Way Home (SNY): $1.9M intl weekend (27 markets); $18.4M intl cume
First Man (UNI): $1.3M intl weekend (3 markets); $57.8M intl cume
Bajo El Mismo Techo (SNY): $1M intl weekend (Spain only); $2.6M intl cume
Bumblebee (PAR): $345K intl weekend (36 markets); $332.2M intl cume
Boy Erased (UNI): $200K Intl weekend (2 markets); $1.4M Intl cume