TUESDAY UPDATE, WRITETHRU with actuals: Vin Diesel’s resurrection as the eponymous government operative in xXx: Return of Xander Cage led the international box office this weekend with a better-than-estimated $51.5M start in 53 markets. From Paramount Pictures and Revolution Studios, the extreme actioner muscled up No. 1s in 32 markets, and in like-for-like plays is 45% above Kingsman: The Secret Service, 6% over San Andreas and on par with Par’s own G.I. Joe: Retaliation.
The film, directed by DJ Caruso, opened tops in most of the majors where it bowed including Russia, France and Germany. In Russia, the IMAX launch was Diesel’s best outside the Fast & Furious franchise. xXx also leads India where last weekend’s paid previews set a January opening record with a huge No.1 opening of $7.4M. The UK was soft at No. 4 behind La La Land, Sing (previews) and Split.
While the reload of the franchise got splat by Split domestically, this $85M budgeted picture and its diverse cast is built for international where distribution rivals say the start is fair. China, which releases on February 10, will be an interesting test. “It sounds like people are excited there,” says one exec. The date it’s staked sets it as the first new Hollywood action pic after the upcoming Lunar New Year period.
This is also the first picture as part of Par’s new $1B slate co-financing deal with China’s Huahua Media and Shanghai Film Group. Those partners will help with the Middle Kigdom marketing and release. Korea and Japan are also still to come in February.
Returning to Split, this weekend’s domestic champ took its personalities to 20 overseas markets via Universal to open above expectations at $5.9M. The M Night Shyamalan-directed James McAvoy-starrer notably hit the UK where the low-budget pic opened to $3.1M.
In other highlights, La La Land just keeps shining. It held the No. 1 spot in the UK for the 2nd frame in a row and has tapped up $18.4M to date there. The international cume is $84.5M through this weekend. Last weekend’s offshore winner, Passengers, crossed $175M at overseas turnstiles and Legendary/Universal’s The Great Wall officially scaled the $200M mark.
As noted in my separate report, Disney’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story crossed the $1B mark globally while the studio’s animated Moana sailed past $500M.
This coming frame will see another Disney title resurface as Doctor Strange travels to Japan for its final release. Sony’s Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, which is coming off a great Japan run ($33.8M) will expand in Asia and Latin America.
In India, Shah Rukh Khan’s anticipated action thriller Raees bows on Wednesday while Stalingrad helmer Fedor Bondarchuk’s Attraction hits Russia as the market’s first-ever alien invasion movie.
But attention will be on China where the Lunar New Year ushers in Tsui Hark’s Journey To The West: The Demons Strike Back. The adventure comedy is the follow-up to Stephen Chow’s 2013 smash, Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons. Chow also directed last year’s The Mermaid which went on to become China’s highest-grossing movie ever at $527M in the Middle Kingdom alone. Here, Chow produces and co-wrote the screenplay, but the directing reins transfer to Tsui whose last film, The Taking Of Tiger Mountain, grossed upwards of $140M after its late 2014 release. As with The Mermaid, Sony has some offshore rights and releases in the U.S. on February 3.
Breakdowns on all films reporting from this weekend have been updated below:
XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE
With a $51.5M opening weekend overseas, the return of Vin Diesel as Xander Cage flexed its muscle in 53 markets for 54% of the offshore footprint. That’s 45% above Kingsman, 6% above San Andreas, on par with GI Joe: Retaliation and 2% behind Taken 3
The DJ Caruso-helmed pic sees Diesel as government operative Cage who comes out of self-imposed exile for a new assignment to recover a powerful weapon known as Pandora’s Box. He then finds himself caught up in a deadly conspiracy of corruption among world governments after recruiting a new group of cohorts.
While domestically the film didn’t come out swinging, this is a movie made for international audiences with whom Diesel excels (he was the No. 2 international box office draw in 2015 with $1.25B in grosses). Also among the cast are martial arts master Donnie Yen, The Mermaid and L.O.R.D.’s Kris Wu, Indian superstar Deepika Padukone and Ong-bak’s Tony Jaa, along with Samuel L Jackson, Ruby Rose, Nina Dobrev and Toni Collette. Diesel and other cast members have traveled to India, the UK and Mexico in support of the pic whose trailer scored 100M views in just two days in November.
The other top markets this weekend are Russia (No. 1/$5.5M), France (No. 1/$3.2M), Germany (No. 1/$2.8M), Mexico (No.1/2.7M) and Australia (No. 2/$2.3M). The UK was a soft spot at $2M for the Paramount and Revolution title with La La Land on a high there and faced with Sing and James McAvoy-starrer Split. Brazil also landed at only No. 3 with $2.4M while the rest of Latin America and South East Asia openings were largely No. 1s.
In IMAX, Xander Cage revved up $5M global on 630 screens in 56 markets. Of that, $2.4M came from international, led by Russia where Diesel scored his best IMAX opening outside the Fast franchise.
With an A- CinemaScore, the film found a better reaction that Diesel’s last non-Fast outing, 2015’s The Last Witch Hunter (B-). That film suffered domestically but made 81% of its global $146.9M abroad. It wasn’t enough to kickstart a franchise, though, and the next few weeks will see how xXx fares overseas. There is still plenty of play to come with Korea, China and Japan on deck.
Notably, this marks the first film in the $1B slate co-financing deal between Par and China’s Shanghai Film Group and Huahua Media. Chinese box office has been in a funk of late but should be boosted during the Spring Festival. Xander Cage hits the Middle Kingdom with the muscle of those new partners on February 10.
M Night Shyamalan’s reteaming with producer Jason Blum is full of personality this weekend. The domestic winner at $40.2M, it scared up $5.9M in 20 offshore openings via Universal. Fueling a worldwide total of $46M, reviews are good and word of mouth has been strong. By way of comparison, Shyamalan’s 2015 pic The Visit did less than half of its business overseas and was led by Spain.
All 20 territories on Split this weekend opened above expectations, led by the UK with $3.1M at 440 dates. The bow there was No. 3 behind the 2nd frame of La La Land and previews for Universal’s own Sing. This is Shyamalan’s 4th best debut in the market. Star — and Scotsman — James McAvoy recently appeared on the UK’s Graham Norton Show to tubthump the pic.
There were solid openings across Europe including Hungary ($206K/34 dates), Netherlands ($284K/63), Finland ($95K), Norway ($179K), Poland ($118K) and Sweden ($270K). In South East Asia, Hong Kong ($691K), Malaysia ($136K), Philippines ($386K) and Singapore ($184K) all opened ahead of comps like The Visit, Strangers and Prisoners. Dates continue to roll out on Split over the next few months.
LA LA LAND
Damien Chazelle’s love letter to big-screen musicals of yore continues to score at the international box office. With $17.2M in 57 markets, the offshore cume is now $84.5M for a worldwide total of $173.4M.
Brazil was a new opening on the multiple Golden Globe winner with $2.1M on 304 screens for the highest average of the frame. In holds, the UK remains dazzled by the Emma Stone/Ryan Gosling-starrer. It held No. 1 and has grossed $18.4M locally, dropping just 34% from last session. Spain also pirouetted in the top spot again with an 11% drop and a $4.7M take so far. Universal is releasing there. Germany jumped 10% from last weekend to gross $3.5M to date. Korea remains the lead market with $21.6M after seven weeks.
France and Italy are in the wings this week. Lionsgate, which bowed the romancer in Venice, has Black Label Media and TIK Films, the subsidiary of Chinese broadcasting giant Hunan Broadcast Intermediary, as finance partners. China releases on February 14.
Descending from its No. 1 perch last weekend, which had been boosted by a decent start in China, Sony’s Passengers pulled in $13.4M from 13,200+ screens in 62 total markets this frame. The international cume is now $175.1M including $12M from Village Roadshow distributed markets. China this frame lifted to $33.5M. The next best plays for Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are Russia ($16.9M), the UK ($15.4M), Germany $10.4M) and France ($9M). Japan is still to take flight on March 24.
As she crossed $500M worldwide this weekend, Disney’s Moana added $14.3M in 40 overseas markets. The offshore total is now $273.9M.
Turkey, Argentina and Uruguay were added this frame. In Turkey, Moana’s $500K was the biggest opening ever for any animated release. Argentina was No. 1 for the weekend at $1.4M and on the eve of a month of holidays.
Elsewhere, the overall drop was 37% with strong holds in Spain (-15%), Belgium (-16%), Brazil (-19%), Israel (-22%), the Netherlands (-23%), France (-24%), Germany (-24%) and Chile (-27%). In Brazil, Moana is currently on track to beat Frozen to become the highest grossing Disney Animation release ever there. Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan are still to come.
Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival landed in China this weekend with a No. 1 $7.4M opening. The cerebral sci-fi pic came into the Middle Kingdom during a slow period that falls ahead of Lunar New Year and topped Sony’s Passengers in its 2nd frame. While Arrival was a Paramount pick-up for domestic and China, Sony is releasing the film in 41 international markets and this weekend added another $2.4M including $1.2M from Italy which is a new play. Arrival originally world premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September and the Italian opening is bigger than comp District 9 by 66%. The offshore cume for SPRI markets only is now $47.6M with the worldwide cume over $170M.
Fox’s Michael Fassbender-starrer traveled to another $9.1M this frame in 76 markets. The offshore cume is approaching $150M with $149.3M through Sunday. Argentina was the main new release play with a debut that was 12% bigger than The Revenant at $872K, and also 1% bigger than Warcraft. Brazil had the best hold at $1.95M for an $8M cume. Russia still leads with $15.9M, followed by France at $14.6M, Germany at $10.3M and the UK at $9.4M. Japan releases March 3.
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY
On the 39th day of international release, Disney/Lucasfilm’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story became the 3rd picture in the saga to cross $1B at the worldwide box office. With $1,012.3M through Sunday, Rogue One is also Disney’s 13th title ever to reach the milestone. Internationally, the standalone grossed $9.7M this frame to take the offshore cume to $500M.
The film continues to see good holds with less than 50% drops in such majors as the UK, Spain, Germany and Japan. In China, the cume is now $61.3M after adding $3.5M in the session. All markets are open and the UK leads with $79.4M. See my separate report for more on the milestone.
Buster Moon put another $9.3M in the treasure chest this frame as Illumination and Universal’s Sing raised its offshore total to $179.4M in 61 markets. The global cume is $428.8M to date. There were no new openings this session, although UK previews gave Sing the No. 2 spot at the local box office, setting the record for biggest original animation previews there and in Ireland. It opens in the UK officially this week along with France.
THE GREAT WALL
The Legendary/Universal title made its fair share of headlines this week amid the surprise departure of Legendary Entertainment co-founder Thomas Tull. Legendary owner Wanda then denied reports that the exit was tied to the box office performance of The Great Wall which has already grossed $203.9M. The weekend was worth $5.6M in 28 territories (including $1M from China where Legendary East is handling). The total in China is $167.4M. Belgium was a new play at No. 1 with $230K at 77 dates. France dropped 41% after opening No. 1 last week and now has a cume of $4.3M. Germany fell 42% to cume $3.8M so far. More bows are due in the coming weeks including North America on February 17.
The Fox comedy has moved in on $46.4M at the international box office with a 4th weekend of $5.6M in 55 markets. Holds have been good on the Bryan Cranston/James Franco-starrer. Russia dropped to No. 3 and a $3.8M cume after two frames; Germany dropped 26% from opening for a $2.4M cume. France and Italy are up this coming session.
RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER
Before its domestic bow next week, Sony’s latest Resident Evil installment debuted in Malaysia with a No. 1 launch of $1.3M on 350 screens. In total, the Milla Jovovich-starrer added $2.2M from 950 screens in two markets. The international cume has climbed to $35.1M with wider rollout beginning next week in Asia and Latin America. Japan, now at $33.8M, is winding down its fantastic run.
MISC UPDATED CUMES/NOTEWORTHY
Collateral Beauty (WB): $4M intl weekend (51 markets); $45M intl cume including $8.6M in Italy
Allied (PAR): $3.8M intl weekend (36 markets); $69M intl cume
Monster Trucks (PAR): $2.4M intl weekend (18 markets); $19.3M intl cume
Live By Night (WB): $2.1M intl weekend (39 markets); $6.25M intl cume
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (WB): $1.7M intl weekend (47 markets); $575.3M intl cume
The Accountant (WB): $1.1M intl weekend (Japan only, last release); $65.3M intl cume
Hidden Figures (FOX): $733K intl weekend (3 markets); $733K intl cume
Manchester By The Sea (UNI, SC, SA): $676K (Uni only); $3M Uni cume; $644K UK weekend/$2.04M UK cume
The Bye Bye Man (STX): $616K intl weekend (13 markets); $2.2M intl cume
Nocturnal Animals (UNI): $495K intl weekend (23 markets); $17.8M intl cume
Coming in at No. 5 on the international chart this weekend, Korea’s The King grossed $13M to top the local box office. From Contents Panda and director Han Jae-rim, the drama centers on a young man born into a poor family who dreams of becoming a powerful prosecutor. Once he makes it to the top, he gets a taste of the cruel side of success. Also in Korea, CJ Entertainment’s Confidential Assignment was the No. 2 movie this frame with $8M. Directed by Kim Sung-hoon, it focuses on a North Korean investigator who teams up with a South Korean detective to find the man who stole the ‘superdollar,’ a counterfeit American dollar printed by North Korea. The film releases at CGV Cinemas in Los Angeles on January 27, and in select cities in the U.S. and Canada on February 3. In Japan, Sony Pictures Releasing International is handling Shinjuku Swan II. It debuted with $1.4M on 333 screens this weekend. Directed by Sion Sono, this is a sequel to last year’s adaptation of the popular manga. It centers on a talent scout for the adult entertainment industry.