Despite its lower-than-anticipated weekend take of $13.6M Stateside, Warner Bros pretty much built The Man From U.N.C.L.E. to succeed abroad complete with its British actors Henry Cavill and Hugh Grant, as well as Swedish burgeoning star Alicia Vikander, hot off Ex-Machina. It should be able to count on offshore for a healthier return if auds embrace those elements, and continue to demonstrate a taste for spy-themed movies that’s been evident in recent months. Big markets which U.N.C.L.E. invaded this weekend include Russia, the UK, Australia, Germany and Spain, in addition to various smaller territories for a total of about 25.
We do not yet have a full cume for the first days in all markets, but initial figures show U.N.C.L.E. dominating Russian play with $1.2M on 1,804 screens and a 60% share after two days. Warner says that’s twice the No. 2 movie, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation which is in its 2nd frame.
In the UK, U.N.C.L.E. bowed on Friday to $749K at 505 venues, including some IMAX plays. Performance is strong in London, particularly the West End, and the South with those regions gaining higher than average market shares. WB puts Friday’s figure in the range of The Bourne Identity, Red and Get Smart. While helmer Guy Ritchie has a big fan base in the UK — thanks to the Sherlock Holmes franchise, but also his early cult faves Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch — U.N.C.L.E. is also looking at the nostalgia factor for the 1960s TV series that starred Robert Vaughn and was popular here. In this market, U.N.C.L.E. is up against the 3rd frame of Rogue Nation as well as the debuts of Trainwreck and Pixels.
Australia took $264K at 289 screens Thursday for a running total of $472K, putting U.N.C.L.E. in 2nd place over two days. Spain opened Friday to $183K from 337 screens on a holiday weekend. Germany generated $258K at 485 dates. According to local reports, it was tied for 5th place on Saturday. Weather is an overall factor in much of Europe, with Germany still in a heatwave on Friday and storms gathering over Saturday and Sunday.
Comps to Ritchie’s 2011 Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows are not apples-to-apples at open given that film’s status as a sequel (with a bigger budget versus U.N.C.L.E.‘s reported $80M) and with a different suite of markets saying U.N.C.L.E. first. In the final tally, A Game Of Shadows was led by the UK with $42M, followed by Russia with $28.4M. It bears noting that Game Of Shadows was a Christmas release and star Robert Downey Jr already had two Iron Man movies under his belt — and his second Oscar nomination — by the time the sequel to 2009’s Sherlock Holmes debuted. U.N.C.L.E.‘s Cavill last starred in 2013’s Man Of Steel ($377M overseas box office) while Swedish breakout Vikander is fresh off Ex-Machina and has Venice competition pic The Danish Girl on its way.
Recent spy movies with a comedic bent which have found success internationally include Fox’s Kingsman: The Secret Service and Spy which have earned $278M and $125M offshore, respectively. Those pictures each performed ably in the UK, Australia and Russia. Each also had very strong runs in Korea ($42.9M for Kingsman, $15.8M on Spy) which doesn’t release U.N.C.L.E. until late October. A Game Of Shadows did about $8M there.
We’ll have a clearer picture of the landscape on Sunday when the full weekend estimates hit. U.N.C.L.E. has several markets to bow over the coming month-and-a-half with many still in a holiday period.