MONDAY UPDATE, writethru with actuals after Sunday 8:20AM post: This weekend saw Warner Bros/Legendary’s Godzilla Vs Kong set a new benchmark for the biggest international box office debut by a Hollywood film during the pandemic era with $123.1M from 38 overseas markets. That’s slightly higher than the Sunday estimate of $121.8M. China led all play with an updated $69.2M (RMB 450.5M). Legendary markets and distributes its modern monster series in the Middle Kingdom where GVK topped the $66M (unadjusted) start of 2019’s Godzilla: King Of The Monsters. In like-for-like markets, and at today’s exchange rates, GVK is tracking 61% ahead of 2014’s franchise-starter Godzilla, 13% ahead of KOTM and roughly on par with the opening weekend of Kong: Skull Island.
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It’s important to recall that there are still capacity restrictions in many areas, but the turnout for GVK demonstrates that when there is big new product available, moviegoers are eager to get back to cinemas. Had the film rolled out in a ‘normal’ world, the opening weekend gross may have been closer to $200M, but either way, there is joy in distribution circles today with folks seeing the performance as a win across the board and a sign of better times to come.
The Adam Wingard-directed clash of the titans ranked No. 1 in all markets where it released. In China, it maintained a strong 9 audience score from Maoyan throughout the weekend and landed at the high end of our pre-release projected range. Through Monday, it’s at an estimated RMB 504.9M ($76.8M). Maoyan is seeing a finish at RMB 930.7M ($141.7M). GVK currently leads pre-sales through Thursday before anticipated new local title My Sister debuts.
Mexico and Australia both did smashing business, with the former coming in at $6.5M. This is by far the strongest launch since cinemas reopened and lands 20% ahead of Godzilla, 21% above Skull Island and 48% over KOTM. At $6.3M, Australia’s opening surpassed all comps and has already outgrossed the lifetime cume of KOTM.
Other markets to perform include Russia with $5.9M, topping KOTM’s final cume as well as being 54% ahead of Skull Island. In Taiwan, GVK’s $5.3M is the second biggest opening for WB ever, behind Aquaman. India also weighed in heavily, with great uptake in the south and posting $4.9M for the 2nd biggest opening weekend during the pandemic as well as WB’s 3rd best start of all time. Rounding out the Top 10 markets are Thailand ($3.3M), Korea ($2.8M), Vietnam ($2.5M) and Malaysia ($2.1M).
In IMAX, GVK generated $12.5M on 891 screens, nearly 10% of the total international box office to become Hollywood’s biggest IMAX weekend since December 2019. IMAX results accounted for the film ranking as the 5th biggest opening of all time for a WB title. This was also Legendary’s biggest IMAX opening weekend ever in China with $9.5M — 14% of the local total on only 1% of screens in the market. Along with China, GVK had the best IMAX debut for the Monster Universe in 13 markets including Russia, India and Taiwan. There were terrific per-screen averages across numerous markets — despite capacity limitations of up to 50% in many — including Australia ($67K), Taiwan ($53K), Saudi Arabia ($36K), Thailand ($30K), Hong Kong ($29K), UAE ($22K) and Singapore ($22K).
There are still markets to come on GVK (the European majors, save Spain, are currently closed), while it debuts domestically on Wednesday in theaters and on HBO Max. With no major Hollywood films set for overseas markets in the coming weeks, it’ll be interesting to see how this one legs out.
It’s not all about the monsters this weekend, however, as Sony’s Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway hit the road in Australia this session. Hopping to a great $2.1M, and before next week’s Easter holiday, the sequel is primed for long legs. In terms of comps, it debuted 34% ahead of The Secret Life Of Pets 2 and just eked The Boss Baby. Wider international rollout begins in mid-May and runs through July.
Disney’s Raya And The Last Dragon saw some good holds (Argentina -11%, South Africa -18%, Sweden -22%, Russia -32%) to add $3.9M across 28 offshore markets. The international cume is now $54.2M for $82.6M global. Europe has yet to release theatrically with cinemas in the major markets still closed, and Disney will wind down reporting for the time being.
With GVK dominating play in China, the Avatar reissue came in third there this weekend, adding $3.5M to take its current run to $51.7M in the market. The full overseas cume is now $2,080.9M and the worldwide total is $2,841.4M.
After debuting offshore last frame and domestically this weekend, Universal’s Nobody picked up another $1.4M in four markets for an international running cume of $5.26M (bigger than the Sunday estimate). Overall, the film is performing in line with The Commuter at the same point of release. It’s led by Russia ($2.3M cume), surpassing the lifetimes of Greenland, Olympus Has Fallen, London Has Fallen, The Commuter, John Wick, Jack Reacher and Non-Stop. Globally, the Bob Odenkirk-starrer is at $12.08M. Australia opens this week.
In local fare, Toho’s Shin Evangelion has become IMAX’s 3rd highest grossing local language title ever in Japan, reaching $6.2M after 21 days. The full box office is 6.08B yen ($55.4M) through Sunday, according to production company Khara which also reports admissions of 3.96M to top the series. Also in Japan, Constantin/Toho’s Monster Hunter had a strong debut in 2nd place with 358.8M yen ($3.27M). Japan has made a great recovery, though cinemas are currently closed from 8PM.
MISC UPDATED CUMES
Tom & Jerry (WB): $2.7M intl weekend (41 markets); $48.3M intl cume/$85.4M global
The Croods: A New Age (UNI): $117K intl weekend (17 markets); $105M intl cume/$161M global
Chaos Walking (LG): $893K intl weekend (35 markets); $8.3M intl cume/$19.8M global
The Little Things (WB): $14.9M intl cume/$29.1M global
Judas And The Black Messiah (WB): $560K intl cume/$5.8M global
Wonder Woman 1984 (WB): $120M intl cume/$165.9M global
SATURDAY UPDATE: After a strong start on Friday, Warner Bros/Legendary’s Godzilla Vs Kong punched up another estimated $28M (RMB 183.5M) on Saturday in China. That’s a 33% increase from Friday’s opening which, per actuals, was $21.1M (RMB 137M). Depending on the Sunday numbers, it may be a tight fight to top Godzilla: King Of The Monsters’ China debut of $66M (unadjusted), but signs are looking positive. The current estimated cume in China through two days is RMB 320.4M ($49M).
Just out of China, GVK imminently bests Warner Bros’ Tenet ($53M) as the biggest offshore Hollywood opening since Covid began. With what we understand is strong play amongst the other 37 overseas markets where GVK is debuting, the full international box office weekend is now looking like it will top $100M.
The Adam Wingard-directed fourth entry in the modern monster series, which Legendary handles and markets in China, held its 9 score with audiences on Maoyan and the tracker is now projecting an RMB 900.5M ($138M) ultimate finish in the market. That’s higher than where they were seeing it yesterday and would just edge King Of The Monsters’ full final run of $135.4M (also unadjusted). GVK is leading pre-sales through next Thursday and then there’s some competition from local pic My Sister debuting on Friday April 2.
Communist party mouthpiece The Global Times chimed in on GVK this week saying the latest entry in the franchise “hopefully brings what Chinese audiences are happy to see: dazzling special effects and exciting fight scenes between giant monsters.” This was after suggesting the previous week that Hollywood needs to “make an adjustment” to how it markets movies to China.
Elsewhere, GVK saw a stunning 204% increase from Friday to Saturday in Korea where it has now grossed $1.8M across three days. We also hear there have been big jumps in other markets.
We’ll have a full update on Sunday.
PREVIOUS, FRIDAY: Warner Bros/Legendary’s Godzilla Vs Kong thrashed off to an estimated $21.5M (RMB 140M) start in China today, good for the best opening day of a Hollywood title in the market since Covid began and portending a weekend in the high $60Ms. The film positively dominated the Middle Kingdom with an 88% share and played on 42,482 screens. Including the other 37 overseas markets where GVK is launching this session, the fourth title in Legendary’s modern monster series is now looking at a $90M+ international box office debut. The Adam Wingard-directed pic is releasing abroad ahead of domestic which falls on March 31 day-and-date in theaters and on HBO Max.
As we noted in our preview, GVK‘s bow will top WB’s own Tenet ($53M international opening weekend) to mark the biggest offshore debut for a studio movie in the pandemic era.
Social scores in China, where Legendary handles, are solid with a 9 on Maoyan (versus Godzilla: King Of The Monsters‘ ultimate 8.5). The Douban critical rating is currently 7 compared to KOTM‘s 6.3. GVK is looking to duke it out with KOTM‘s (unadjusted) $66M China launch and currently leads pre-sales through all of next week until local title My Sister opens on Friday. Maoyan today predicts an RMB 878.5M ($134M) finish for GVK, though these figures are subject to change.
Either way, this should come as some relief to the studios given a seeming rejection of U.S. films in China recently — and amid the current backlash against American products that’s been spurred by past comments of fashion brands about labor conditions in Xinjiang. Fortunately, that does not appear to be having an impact on the monster mash-up.
The clash of the iconic titans is also releasing in 37 other markets this weekend. Korea through two days counts $693K in the No. 1 slot. We hear things are looking very good elsewhere with nice holds since some markets released on Wednesday, indicating GVK is playing well and is not entirely frontloaded.
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