‘Resident Evil’ Rocks China; Crosses $100M Monday After Record Debut – International Box Office
3rd UPDATE, WRITETRHU, Tuesday AM with actuals: While Fox’s Logan gets set to claw into global box office as it begins day-and-date rollout on Wednesday, the current frame was a major holdover and expansion fest. Business was particularly un-dead in China where Screen Gems/Constantin Films’ Resident Evil: The Final Chapter rode a wave of nostalgia for the IP and a smart marketing campaign overseen by Leomus Pictures to log a $94.3M debut, and score the biggest-ever FSS opening in the market for an import. The Milla Jovovich-led epic zombie battle is also the No. 2 FSS launch for all films, behind 2015’s Lost In Hong Kong. Through Monday, it had jumped across $100M and is looking at $109M through the end of today.
The sensational China debut for The Final Chapter — whose title may end up being premature given these outsize grosses — catapults the market into the lead position, overtaking traditional No. 1 hub Japan. It also helped this weekend see a 13% increase across the Top 10 titles at the international box office versus last frame. Compared to last year at this time, the jump is 35%. Back then Deadpool, Zootopia and China’s The Mermaid were the Top 3 draws.
The Paul W.S. Anderson-helmed sixth Resident Evil installment was released in China through Constantin’s local partner Leomus, which had great success with Lionsgate’s Now You See Me 2 last year and crafted a very targeted campaign with early in-cinema materials and advertising during the heavily-trafficked Chinese New Year holidays. Jovovich also attended Hong Kong’s CineAsia where she met members Chinese exhibition community and received the franchise achievement award with her director/husband Anderson.
The $40M movie was built for international audiences and is showing its strength at offshore turnstiles with a $212M cume to date which makes it the biggest of the franchise on a constant currency basis. In total this weekend, the gross was $97M from 21,200+ screens in 51 markets. Including domestic, the worldwide cume is $239M. The current leader among its predecessors is 2010’s Resident Evil: Afterlife with $296.2M.
In late January, Final Chapter helped push the full series across $1B worldwide to become the biggest video-game-based franchise of all time. (More detail to follow below.)
Overall, it was a busy weekend in China with the Top 5 all hailing from Hollywood. New Regency’s Assassin’s Creed was new, but a distant runner-up in the battle of the video-game titans, landing at No. 2 with $17.27M. In IMAX, it grossed $3M from 389 screens there. Universal’s Sing dropped just 40% in 3rd place for a 10-day PROC total of $24M. It has now crossed $550M worldwide. In 4th at Chinese turnstiles, Paramount’s XXX: Return Of Xander Cage continued its muscular run, cruising past $150M. La La Land was No. 5 with $30.5M in the songbook to date. While La La may have gotten caught in Sunday’s major Oscar snafu, the six-time winner is now Lionsgate’s highest grossing film internationally and worldwide outside the Hunger Games and Twilight franchises.
Elsewhere in a bustling frame, Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter Two has crossed $50M internationally while The Weinstein Co’s Oscar nominee Lion has also crossed $50M offshore and is at nearly $95M worldwide.
Universal’s Fifty Shades Darker has cumed $328.6M worldwide ($224.9M IBO); Uni/Blumhouse’s Split has $221.6M in the global bank including a No. 1 Korea opening; and The Great Wall is now at $301M worldwide with a number of No. 1 openings and holds this session.
Breakdowns on those films and more have been updated below:
RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER
Screen Gems/Constantin Films’ sixth installment in the zombie franchise blew the doors off China‘s box office this weekend with a $94.3M debut that makes it the best FSS start ever for an import (overall market leader among Hollywood films, Furious 7, opened on a Sunday in 2015). The full weekend was worth $97M from 21,200+ screens in 51 total markets. Offshore, the cume to date is $212M with $239M worldwide.
China is now the lead market on The Final Chapter (which, given the performance, may no longer be the final chapter after all). That’s a first for the Middle Kingdom which was No. 2 on the last two pictures. They first began releasing in China with 2010’s Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D with help from DMG whose relationships there soothed the censors to get a zombie-themed pic across the border. Typically, Japan has been the lead on all markets and this film got off to a strong start when it debuted there in December. Current local box office is upwards of $36M.
In China, The Final Chapter was released through Constantin’s local partner Leomus Pictures. The $33M opening day on Friday marks the No. 3 start for a Hollywood film behind Furious 7 ($68M) and Warcraft ($46M).
A targeted marketing campaign helped in China where locally-produced materials reinforced the nostalgia selling point. The IP has high awareness and advertising focused on using advertising to showcase great video materials to reinforce big-screen promise rather than relying heavily on paid social publicity to create buzz. Media buys included Toutiao (China’s Buzzfeed), Weibo and Tencent’s video pre-roll. The animation, comic and game sub-group of consumers — particularly the gamer segment — was highly-targeted by working with key opinion leaders of high-traffic ACG websites to generate UGC content. Early in-cinema materials and advertising during the Chinese New Year holidays also played a significant role.
Constantin Films’ Martin Moszkowicz says of partner Leomus, “Throughout the whole course, they have demonstrated professional understanding about the market, the audience and the IP, and came up with a very solid marketing & distribution plan that contributed to the huge box office success in China.”
Early on in the 15-year-old series, the pics spread out at about 60%-40% international versus domestic. That’s shifted to a weightier overseas pull since Afterlife with that film and Retribution taking about 80% of box office from offshore turnstiles where video game movies excel. Final Chapter’s current split is nearing 89% international and 11% domestic. Afterlife is thus far the biggest grosser of all at $296M global, followed by Retribution at $240M. The franchise crossed $1B in January.
Star Milla Jovovich and director Paul W.S. Anderson, along with other cast did a multi-country tour to help get the word out, including in Brazil, Hong Kong (for CineAsia), Japan, Mexico, Korea, Taiwan and Russia.
Sony smartly cast social influencers from around the world to appear in the film and take part in the epic final zombie battle. The influencers then acted as brand ambassadors throughout the global marketing campaign.
FIFTY SHADES DARKER
Universal’s S&M sequel socked away another $19.8M in 59 territories this weekend for an international total of $224.9M. Globally, the film passed $300M on Thursday and now has a cume of $328.6M. There were no new markets admitted to the play room this weekend.
Christian and Ana held their grip on No. 1 for the 3rd week in a row in several markets including Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland and Venezuela. Germany has surpassed the UK as the lead offshore market with $25.3M to date. The UK has whipped up $25M, holding at No. 2 this session. France has roped $19M. In other hot-and-heavy action, Brazil is at $17M and Australia has cumed $12.3M. Japan is still to come on June 23.
After crossing $200M worldwide earlier this week, M Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller added another $17.6M to its international box office in 54 markets this session. From Universal and Blumhouse Productions, the James McAvoy-starrer now has a $90.8M offshore cume and $221.6M worth of personalities globally.
The frame was buoyed by a super start in Korea at No. 1 — the first time in a while a non-local pic has plucked the top spot. It debuted at $6.7M at 355 dates, bettering recent horror titles like The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 and becoming the biggest imported horror/thriller opening of all time (and Universal’s 7th best overall). France also kicked off strong with $3.6M at 311 for No. 2. Argentina stalked the No. 2 spot with $585K at 130 dates — Shyamalan’s best debut ever there. India had a better-than-expected opening with $191K at 141. Mexico is holding at No. 1 for the 2nd week in a row, ahead of five new openers and with a $4.7M cume, down just 23% on last frame’s bow. There are eight territories to release over the next few months including Russia on March 16, Brazil on March 23 and Japan on May 12.
THE GREAT WALL
Legendary and Universal’s China/U.S. co-production has reached $301M worldwide with Sunday included. The offshore weekend scaled $15.2M in 48 territories for a Universal total of $95.2M outside China where the cume is $171M, building a $266.2M overseas war chest. Combined with domestic, the worldwide total is $301M. Global IMAX box office is now $28M.
There were eight openings this frame with No. 1s in Italy, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Panama and Central America and Paraguay. In Italy, the epic from Zhang Yimou took over the No. 1 spot from two local comedies on Saturday and finished the opening weekend with $1.4M at 306 dates. Brazil also bowed No. 1 and grossed $2.89M over this Carnival weekend. Russia’s second frame is solid at No. 2 behind local pic Zaschitniki ($3.35M). The drop there was just 20% for an $9.2M cume to date. In other holds, The Great Wall is No. 1 again in New Zealand, Columbia and Peru — in all cases ahead of new openers. The UK and Australia had sophomore sessions that bring their respective totals to $4.4M and $4.2M. Japan is the next and final release on April 14.
LA LA LAND
As it heads to the Oscars tonight, the 14-time nominated romantic musical has become Lionsgate’s highest-grossing film both internationally and worldwide outside of the Hunger Games and Twilight franchises. Damien Chazelle’s love letter to LA and old Hollywood added $15.2M offshore in 76 markets this frame to lift the total to $228M overseas and $369M globally.
The big new opener on the Ryan Gosling/Emma Stone-starrer was Japan with a starry $5M at No. 1. Denmark and Norway also had No. 1 debuts with $722K and $601K, respectively. France, with $15.7M after five weeks, has surpassed The Sound Of Music in terms of admissions. The film is now released in all markets and, despite the mix-up at the Oscars, should continue to have a spring in its offshore box office step. In China, La La has earned $30.5M to date.
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER TWO
Keanu Reeves’ assassin clocked another $13.1M in 79 markets in the 3rd frame, bringing the international cume to $51.1M and the worldwide hitlist to $125.5M. Those scores top original film’s offshore ($45.7M) and global ($88.8M) lifetimes. Korea’s debut bested the first film by 93% in local currency for a $1.3M start. Also gunning ahead of JW1 are France ($1.2M/+14%) and Mexico ($744K/+46%). Belgium and Sweden likewise bettered the first film at $253K (+85%) and $133K (+210%), respectively. Upcoming major releases include Italy on March 16, Spain on May 5 and Australia on May 11.
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
With $13.1M this weekend from 9,913 screens in 62 international markets, the Warner Bros animation has flown to $93.4M at the international box office. Throughout Europe, schools are on staggered vacations which is helping performances, particularly in the UK where the film is No. 1 in the 3rd frame for a leading $28.7M. Holland came in 60% over last session now that holidays are in full swing for a $1.7M cume to date. Elsewhere, Mexico held No. 2 with a $6.7M cume and Russia has grossed $4.6M after dipping only 6% this weekend. Totals in other majors include $5.1M in Germany, $4.6M in France and $4.7M in Brazil. China, where the first Lego Movie did not reelase, is on deck this weekend.
Illumination/Universal’s animated talent show grossed an estimated $12.7M in 46 territories this weekend, for a 34% drop. The international cume is now $283.1M with global at $550.8M. A solid run in China, where the Illumination brand continues to increase its profile, gave the movie a No. 3 berth in its 2nd frame, 40% down from last at $7.1M for $24M to date. France dipped 16% in the 5th session for a $20.9M cume and the UK is at No. 3 with $31.8M so far. Still to hit the stage are Russia on March 2 and Japan on March 17.
XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE
Continuing its muscular run in China, Paramount’s Vin Diesel threequel pumped another $6.1M into the local box office for a super strong Middle Kingdom total of $152.6M. In 55 markets overall, the actioner added $8.6M for a $285.3M international cume. There were two new bows with Japan coming in at $1.4M from 306 locations and Poland at $311K from 112.
Fox’s Oscar nominee launched another $5.7M towards its international haul in 43 markets. The offshore total is $30M. After a fantastic opening in Australia last weekend, the drama is still No. 1 there, dipping just 14% for a $6.75M cume. The UK likewise saw a small tick downward for $4.18M to date and Germany was off by only 10% with $2.6M so far. Sweden ($227K/155 dates), the UAE ($131K/24) and Singapore ($114K/19) were new this frame. There are 10 markets to come in March including France, Italy, Russia and Korea.
MISC UPDATED CUMES/NOTABLE
Rings (Par): $4.9M intl weekend (58 markets); $47.4M intl cume
T2 Trainspotting (SNY): $4.2M intl weekend (23 markets); $25.4M intl cume
A Cure For Wellness (FOX): $3.25M intl weekend (39 markets); $9.05M intl cume
A Dog’s Purpose (UNI): $1.4M intl weekend (13 markets); $14.4M Uni intl cume; $19.8M with Mister Smith markets
Moana (DIS): $3.2M intl weekend (30 markets); $335M intl cume
Manchester By The Sea (UNI, SA): $1.72M intl weekend (14 markets); $20.7M intl cume ($11M Universal)
Jolly Llb 2 (FOX): $1M intl weekend (India only); $20.6M intl cume
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (FOX): $567K intl weekend (Japan only); $209.4M intl cume
Hell Or High Water (SA): $48K intl weekend; $10.6M intl cume