7TH UPDATE, MONDAY, WRITETHRU: The full international weekend grosses on Warner Bros’ Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice show the superheroes capturing a final tally of $254M on 40K screens in 66 markets for its international opening. That makes BvS the No. 5 best opener ever at the overseas box office. Coupled with the record-breaking domestic number this frame, the worldwide total is $420.1M; that’s good for 4th place all-time global opener and the second-biggest studio opener of all time behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. The worldwide number dropped a bit because Sunday’s domestic was lower than anticipated.
Among the records shattered offshore are: The biggest superhero opening weekend of all time; biggest March opening ever; WB’s biggest China bow ($57.2M); and WB’s biggest IMAX opening ($18M). BvS also marks the top bows for stars Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, and director Zack Snyder.
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 debuted to $314M in July 2011. Its overseas start bested the launch of last Easter’s entry, Furious 7, which revved off the block with $250M in 63 territories, although those did not include China. In the DC superhero space, Man Of Steel topped out at $377M foreign in 2013 and The Dark Knight Rises at $637M the year before.
“The reviews did not matter at all,” an exec told me this morning. “Every market is over-performing.” Despite a critical drubbing in the U.S. and many mixed notices overseas, fans turned out to see Affleck essay the Batsuit for the first time and Cavill return as the son of Jor-El. A lot of them also evidently wanted to catch a glimpse of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman; she gets her own movie next summer. The Easter frame was a smart play by WB to stake out a few unfettered weeks. Says WB’s Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, “Our excellent date allows us to take advantage of the spring holidays with a five-week window until the next superhero film. Based on the strong word of mouth by fans we can look forward to a long and prosperous run.” Universal’s Snow White And The Huntsman sequel, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, begins rollout on April 4 and Disney/Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War starts fighting April 27.
Back to this weekend’s results: On 945 IMAX screens globally, Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent powered up about $36M frame for the best opening outside the summer and Christmas periods, as well as the largest March opening ever for the large format company. It’s the 3rd strongest worldwide start ever behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($47.5M) and Jurassic World ($44.1M). China accounted for $7M out of $18M offshore on 557 screens. In both North America and China, IMAX locations occupied nine of the top 10 engagements, a first for the company. Saturday’s $5.4M provided the 2nd biggest single-day international gross ever.
Per-screen averages (estimates) for IMAX were super-sized: France, $50K; UK, $55K; Netherlands, $57K; Ecuador, $65K; Australia, $77K; Hong Kong, $95K; and UAE, $105K. The 3D format was also huge across the board, accounting for 59% of the weekend and led by China (98%), Germany (88%), Brazil (81%), Russia (55%), and France (51%).
In individual markets on all movie screens, China is tops with $57.2M from approximately 16,000. That’s not far off the lifetime of Man Of Steel at $63M and tops the entire run of Dark Knight Rises, albeit in a market that has seen massive growth since those films released.
The UK came in next with over 72% of the Top 5 market and an estimated $20.7M on 1,701 screens for the biggest March opening of all time and the best of 2016. If sneaks were excluded, this would be the top superhero start ever in the UK (Avengers: Age Of Ultron retains that distinction). After a sunny Friday, execs and exhibs are doing a happy dance over the rain that moved into London over the weekend and ensured bodies were in theaters.
Releasing on over 4,300 screens, Mexico debuted to $18.2M. That’s the biggest WB opening of all time, biggest March opener ever and the tops for 2016. The box office accounted for a big 90% of the Top 5 films’ grosses.
It’s notable that those three markets had pre-release talent stops. Affleck, Cavill, Snyder and others traveled to Beijing, Mexico City and London with each featuring a massive fan-focused screening opportunity — and despite some last-minute concern over the London premiere last week in the wake of the Brussels attacks. International stunts also included the transformation of malls across Asia with immersive exhibits, interactive games and activities. Other activities included sponsoring high profile sports teams across continents and encouraging wide spread “Who Will Win” activations.
Elsewhere, Brazil is now the biggest opening weekend of all time with an estimated $12M on 1,330 screens, garnering a 67% share of the Top 5 films in the market. Korea pulled in $10.2M on 1,696 screens, holding over 73% of the Top 5 films in the market and over 700% ahead of No. 2 film Zootopia (which nevertheless is having a very happy Easter overseas). Australia debuted to $9.9M on 594 screens, taking 54% of the Top 5 market share.
Russia brought in a much less than expected $7.7M (estimates on Sunday were $8.5M) on 2,418 screens, yet still dominated the market with 65% of the Top 5 market share and ranking as the biggest opening ever for a DC film. France is estimated at $8.6M for the weekend on 822 screens, capturing 51% of the Top 5. In Germany BvS ranks as the industry’s highest 2016 launch with $8.1M on 1,015 screens (and carried a 54% share of the Top 5).
Releasing on a non-traditional Wednesday to take advantage of the Easter holiday, Spain delivered $6.1M on 702 screens, the biggest opening of 2016. Also kicking off on Wednesday, Italy debuted to $5.9M on 769 screens, also the highest opener of the year.
Japan scored a big result for the superhero genre with $4.5M on 717 screens, besting all previous DC titles by a wide margin. BvS is the biggest opening of the year in Scandinavia with $5.5M in four markets on 734 screens.
There were record-breaking bows across Asia, making BvS the biggest WB opening of all time in Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. The combined tally for nine markets (excluding China and Japan) is $32.3M. India alone garnered a $6.6M haul which marked the biggest March opening there and the biggest WB title there of all time.
Latin America also broke regional records as the No. 1 WB opening of all time at $16.7M in 10 markets, including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Puerto Rico and Venezuela
3RD UPDATE, SATURDAY AM (estimates): With the last international markets of its opening weekend bowing yesterday, Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice now has a running overseas cume of $115.3M. China, the UK and Japan were among the 17 territories that came into play on Friday for a one-day superhero haul of $67.2M from over 30K screens. China gave Warner Bros its biggest-ever opening at $20M (128.7M yuan) on Friday and 75% of the market. Flash estimates out of the Middle Kingdom have Saturday at $22.6M (142.6M yuan). That brings the early two-day total to $43M (and the overseas total to $138M without including all of Saturday’s Bat-money). Recall that Man Of Steel legged out to about $63M total in the PROC in 2013; his coupling with the Dark Knight will be close on outstripping that in one weekend. The Dark Knight Rises grossed a total $52.8M the year before.
The offshore weekend is firmly headed past $200M. Already globally, with an $82M domestic Friday, the worldwide cume is touching $200M. Add in the China flash estimates from today and it’s at $220M. A question is if BvS drops on Sunday in the avid Latin markets as family celebrations of the holiday take precedence.
The UK, a typically powerhouse superhero territory, grossed $9M on 1,700 screens. That’s the best opening day of the year with 77% of the Top 5 films. Last year’s Easter weekend offering, Furious 7, ended the frame at $19M.
India came in third in Friday openings with the top WB debut of all time at $2.54M on 1,372 screens. The market which tends to prefer its films homegrown, saw Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman best Bollywood title Rocky Handsome by 70%.
Japan’s debut was $1.2M on 718 screens. That outflew Man Of Steel by 73% and Dark Knight Rises by 54%. Also new in Asia, Taiwan grossed $905K with 86% of the Top 5 market share.
In holdovers, Mexico led with $4.3M and now has a $9.6M cume after opening as the top market on Thursday. Australia picked up another $3M on Friday, from 594 screens, for a to-date total of $5.6M.
Brazil brought in another $3M on 1,331 screens, holding 68% of the Top 5 market share. The cume there is now $6.6M.
Germany added $2.4M on Friday for a $5.1M cume; Korea grossed $1.7M on 1,613 for $3.4M through Friday; Russia added $1.6M on 2,417 screens, for $3.6M.
Spain jumped slightly from Thursday to take $1.2M on 702 screens, and bring its cume to $4.2M. France came in on par with Spain at $1.2M for a $3.9M cume, as did Hong Kong on Friday with $1.2M and a total $2.4M. Italy posted no drop from Thursday to Friday with $925K on 769 screens and $3M to date.
2ND UPDATE, FRIDAY PM: We just received word that Warner Bros.’ Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice is taking off in the Middle Kingdom. Per early flash grosses and a few sneaks, BvS is making $21.22M in China, dominating 75% of the market. The pic burst into 38 more markets on Thursday including Mexico, Brazil, Russia, Korea and Germany, grossing $33.1M and a running cume of $44M. But with China added, overseas is now north of $65M.
The film was No. 1 in all launch markets and showed particular spandex-clad muscle in Latin America. Leading all bows yesterday, Mexico super-powered $5.8M on 3,800 screens. That includes record-breaking midnight shows. Market share was 88% and gave Warner Bros its biggest opening day ever there. BvS also scored the second-biggest industry bow of all time.
Brazil was the next best offshore play with $3.5M on 1,331 screens and including sneaks. Likewise, it’s WB’s best ever start in the market. That’s the case as well in the UAE with $1.1M on 112 screens. The opening there was 93% bigger than Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Germany debuted to $2.8M on 1,015 screens (with sneaks). That’s the biggest bow of the year and the top ever for a superhero movie. It exceeded the No. 2 film in the market, Zootopia (4th frame), by more than 300%. Australia‘s $2.5M on 594 screens is a good start with 70% share of the Top 5 and Russia was up around 80% with $1.9M on roughly 2,000 screens.
Superman & Friends sucked up 80% of the Top 5 share in Korea with $1.7M on 1,613 screens and far outpacing newcomers and holdovers. Elsewhere in Asia, WB had its best opening of all time in four markets: Hong Kong ($1.1M), Singapore ($855K) Malaysia ($804K) and Thailand ($740K).
In holds, Spain is going strong with a further $1.1M from 702 screens . The two-day total there is $2.9M. Italy brought in another $925K on 769 screens for a slight 16% drop from Thursday. The two-day cume is $2M. France picked up another $953K (-44%) with 110K admissions from 822 screens and good for a cume of $2.7M.
Along with the UK and China, Japan also opens today.
PREVIOUS, THURSDAY AM: Warner Bros’ Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice has entered its first 10 overseas markets with $7M across Wednesday. International rollout began yesterday with France, Italy and Spain among the majors. It ranked No. 1 in all markets on roughly 5,900 screens.
Spain was the biggest opener with a 62% share of the Top 5 films and $1.8M. This is the best debut of 2016 in the market, and overall a very strong start there. France came in at $1.7M and 196K admissions on 822 screens, commanding 65% of the Top 5 films in the market. It is the 5th best opening day of the year.
In Italy, the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel pulled in $1.1M on 768 screens, good for 66% of the Top 5 films and 87% ahead of Deadpool’s Thursday opening, per WB.
Three Scandinavian plays all ranked No. 1 by a huge margin: Sweden lassoed $428K on 210 screens and is now the biggest March opening of all time; Norway marked the biggest bow of 2016 with $501K on 190 screens; and Finland was worth $120K on 120 screens.
Despite the overall market being affected by Tuesday’s deadly attacks in Brussels, which forced the closure of several cinemas, Belgium opened to very good results with $191K on 150 screens.
Today’s openings include Brazil, Russia, Korea, Mexico and Germany. The UK and China, among others, bow tomorrow. London was the site of the European premiere on Tuesday where fans certainly seemed Suped-up — and especially for Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman who gets on her gold cuffs in the third act. According to a recent Fandango survey that my colleague Anthony D’Alessandro wrote about, Diana Prince’s alter ego is the main reason audiences want to see BvS. Social media has also gone wild.
The Zack Snyder-helmed pic has a 33% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, although that’s with just 143 reviews counted. The want-to-see factor is 98%. Offshore reviews are likewise mixed; in France, the film has 3.1 stars from 11 critics on website AlloCine, but 4.1 from moviegoers. In the UK, the broadsheets are pegging it around the three-star mark.
Industry projections have the global opening at around $350M and the offshore weekend for the face-off between Ben Affleck’s Dark Knight and Henry Cavill’s son of Jor-El at about $200M in a total 61 territories. That includes the Middle Kingdom. The stars traveled to Beijing recently to build buzz. Other stops included Mexico where a fan event drew 5,000 spandex faithful. In Europe, advance sales have been on pace with the U.S.
The major markets outside China for the superheroes’ last films, The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Man Of Steel (2013), were a mix of the UK, Australia, Mexico, France, Germany, Brazil and Korea.