EXCLUSIVE: As the international box office slowly limps back to life, the tendency for audiences to lean into fresh and local titles continues. France, for example, saw a 23% increase in ticket sales across the Top 10 over the most recent weekend, led by Gaumont’s new local comedy Tout Simplement Noir and followed by Warner Bros’ Scoob!, also a new entry, which did $900K in the Hexagon – and $1.8M total in five markets.
Scoob!, the feature animation from director Tony Cervone, opted to have a PVOD and digital ownership release instead of theatrical domestically. It began streaming on HBO Max in June, but is hitting cinemas in some overseas markets. The full weekend was $1.8M from France, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Vietnam. The results are strong in light of the ongoing crisis. Spain opens today and there are about 20 more releases still to come.
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Looking back at France, in total across the Top 10 movies, there were 523K admissions for over $3M, widely leading the reopened offshore markets. France is one of the only majors where essentially all cinemas are back up and running.
Korea is another major that’s got about 98% of its theaters in operation and will no doubt see a boost this coming frame as director Yeon Sang-ho’s Peninsula (aka Train To Busan Presents: Peninsula), the follow-up to 2016 megahit Train To Busan, releases beginning today. Figures just in from local reporting have the movie already at $1.9M in the home market. This has been one of the most anticipated Korean movies of the year and picks up four years after the original zombie thriller as a survivor embarks on a risky but potentially lucrative mission to retrieve bags of cash left abandoned in the devastated streets of Seoul. Peninsula was part of the official selection of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and is set to hit North American theaters via Well Go on August 7. It also landed an exclusive streaming deal with Shudder, AMC’s horror streaming site.
This past weekend in Korea, #Alive remained at the top of the charts, with a roughly 50% drop in its third session. The Lotte release has now grossed $12.5M. Jay Roach’s Bombshell made its first appearance in the market beginning July 8 and grossed $663K through Sunday. Disney/Pixar’s Onward is still playing and has taken in $2.7M through four weekends. The Top 10 titles grossed $2.08M, a 39% slide from the last session and the second week in a row to see a significant decrease. But, again, that will change in the coming frame.
Elsewhere, Russell Crowe-starrer Unhinged is getting its first release this week, hitting Germany starting on July 16.
Here’s a snapshot of what transpired in various markets this weekend:
GERMANY – Roughly half the country’s movie theaters are now open with the market about 54% off this session from the similar frame in 2019. Last weekend’s champ Meine Freundin Conni was in the lead again with $254K in the session for a $641K cume to date. Also hitting the family demo, Paramount’s Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups came in 2nd with $207K from 370 locations, followed by Scoob! with $170K from 209. Lower on the chart, Universal released Harriet at 197 locations good for $98K. Rainy weather in the south helped box office performance, which was up 33% to $1.38M across the Top 10 titles. Cinemas are reopening gradually while those in rural areas are closing mid-week with limited opening hours on weekends. Look for Germany to get a shot in the arm when Leonine begins release of Unhinged on Thursday.
NETHERLANDS – Scoob! led play in the market, woofing up $319K from 124 cinemas. Last week’s No. 1, local family pic Pirates Down The Street, added another $143K from 122 sites and has cumed $444K. The Top 10 titles generated $1.18M, a slight 6% increase from last session. Capacity and social distancing restrictions are being eased gradually, although the current amount of seats and shows is only about 35%-40% of normal.
AUSTRALIA – Amid 50% seating limitations, the market was off 86% versus the same frame in 2019. The Top 10 grossed $1.06M, essentailly flat with last weekend which had seen a giant boost. A COVID spike in Melbourne has resulted in a six-week lockdown in the city while overall, re-releases and small-scale new films are planned through the end of July. Leading play in Oz this session was Sonic The Hedgehog at $208K from 170 locations. It was followed by last week’s No. 1 title, The Personal History Of David Copperfield, which has made $569K through Sunday. Universal/Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man had a very decent hold at No. 4 with another $109K for a 27% drop. The local cume is $5.7M. The King Of Staten Island is currently scheduled to open this week.
JAPAN – Almost all of Japan’s cinemas are now open, with the market lagging 2019’s similar frame by 72%. Studio re-releases populate the Top 10, although The Invisible Man made his first appearance in Japan, leading play with $431K from 176 sites. Also high on the charts are Dolittle, Sonic, Little Women and Beauty And The Beast. Across the Top 10, there was $950K added to coffers, pretty much even with the last session. However, coronavirus cases have been rising in several key cities (including Tokyo), which could have a negative impact on box office. There has also been flooding and extreme weather in parts of the country. The Night Clerk, with Tye Sheridan and Ana de Armas, is opening this week.
HONG KONG – Hong Kong cinemas were open at the weekend, but will be forced to close again starting today after a spike in local COVID cases. Perhaps impacting box office, along with a lack of new entries, the Top 10 grossed $834K for a 13% dip from last session. The same titles have been playing at the head of the chart for a few weeks now, including local mystery/romance Beyond The Dream, Legally Declared Dead and Onward (the latter now with $1.11M from four weekends). Universal released Upgrade for the first time with $39K from five exclusive Cinema City engagements.
NEW ZEALAND – Another terrific jump for the Kiwis with the Top 10 titles up 52% to $550K. Trolls World Tour held the No. 1 spot, with a further $282K from about 100 sites. Play was aided by the start of school holidays, after strong mid-weeks. The cume there is $781K. Another family pic, Red Shoes And The 7 Dwarfs, came in a distant 2nd with $66K from 93 and Uni’s The High Note was No. 3 in the sophomore frame with $42K from 91, a strong 7% drop. There were no new titles in the market.
SPAIN – Still just under 40% of cinemas are operating in Spain where Red Shoes And The 7 Dwarfs was No. 1 again with $117K from about 200 screens. The Top 5 is rounded out by Onward ($2.35M cume), Where’d You Go Bernadette (new with $51K from 150), La Lista ($170K cume) and The Gentlemen ($2.17M cume). Overall, the Top 10 took an 8% dive from last session, ringing up $436K. The market is off 92% versus 2019. Scoob! starts sleuthing this week.
TAIWAN – Japanese title Sumikko Gurashi The Movie was new for the family audience at $162K from 17 locations. This knocked local comedy Leaving Virginia into 2nd place ($73K/89/$336K cume) followed by Onward with a $1.8M cume after 8 weeks. The High Note has cumed $245K after three weeks. The Top 10 did $401K, a 7% drop. We’re told overall that cinema occupancy rates remain low, spaced seating continues and masks are not required if there is social distancing.
UK – The UK is still slowly opening, with just about 15% of the market’s cinemas operating. As with domestic, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was the top title, grossing $64K from about 100 screens. Onward took 2nd place after landing No. 1 last session. It added $45K for a $6.9M cume. Trolls World Tour was 3rd with an $82K cume and Altitude released new action horror pic Black Water Abyss in 4th, grossing $35K from about 75 screens. There was a 64% jump across the Top 10 from the reopening last weekend, good for $262K. German animation Dreambuilders will be new next weekend.
MALAYSIA – Switching places on the chart with the UK, Malaysian cinemas drummed up $206K from the Top 10. That’s a 28% increase from last frame. Japan’s Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna was No. 1 again ($66K/35), followed by new entry My Hero Academia, also from Japan ($66K/37). Russian horror pic Yaga: Terror Of The Dark Forest rounds out the Top 3 with $32K. Malaysia will also get Peninsula this week.
ITALY – Fox Searchlight’s Jojo Rabbit hopped into the No. 1 slot with $36K at 37 locations; the cume is $4.4M. There are about 13% of cinemas operating in Italy with local title Bad Tales in 2nd ($83K cume) and Little Women in 3rd ($6.5M cume). There were no new releases in the Top 10 which accounted for $129K, a great 61% jump over the previous session. Local music documentary, La Piazza Della Mia Città – Bologna E Lo Stato Sociale bows this week.
NORWAY – The weekend sold 30,146 tickets, down 40% from last session. Local family movie Twigson And The Sea Monster was tops again, followed by Onward.
ICELAND – Local comedy Amma Hofi, about a pair of bankrobbing pensioners, came in tops with a little over $37K from six screens. This bopped Trolls World Tour down to 2nd with an $82K cume after three weeks. Local hit The Last Fishing Trip is in 3rd and two new entries, The Outpost and German animated family pic Dreambuilders, round out the Top 5. The Top 10 is up 183% to $85K.
Elsewhere, majors that are doing slight business include Mexico ($67K Top 10/130 locations open); Brazil with under five locations open ($25K Top 10); and Russia ($11K Top 10/33 locations open).
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