UPDATE, writethru: Riding another wave at the international box office, Warner Bros/DC’s Aquaman scored a hat trick as the top movie for the third consecutive overseas frame. Reeling in $91.3M from 70 markets this weekend, the heir to Atlantis raised his offshore cume to $410.7M. Along with the domestic start, the global tally is $482.8M. That figure will reach the $500M mark with Monday’s grosses.
The James Wan-helmed origins story is tracking as the highest-grossing title in the DCEU at 22% above Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, 52% above Justice League and 86% ahead of Wonder Woman in like-for-like overseas markets and at the same point in release. In China, the run continues to go swimmingly with a local total of $232.8M (RMB 1.6B). Jason Momoa’s Aquaman/Arthur Curry now has bragging rights to leading the 7th biggest import film ever in the Middle Kingdom where the studio recoups 25% of the turnstile take. Majors Australia, Italy and Japan are still to dive into action over the coming weeks.
With Christmas fast approaching, kids off from school in many markets and no Star Wars movie dominating the galaxy as a must-see event, there were varied offerings in different areas this session. These will continue to expand and jostle over the New Year’s frame and beyond. After next weekend, the picture on sustainable performance will become clearer.
This weekend’s newcomers were Paramount’s Bumblebee and Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns while Sony’s Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse expanded, notably swinging into China. With a $26.1M start there, the animated webslinger’s debut is the 4th best launch of all time for a Hollywood toon, and the best of the genre this year in the Middle Kingdom. Including China, 53 Spidey markets in play this session snared $38M for a $64.8M overseas cume. Markets to come include Mexico, Italy, Brazil and Japan.
(That Spider-Verse got a December 21 date is something of an anomaly as China is usually in blackout mode at this time of the year. Still, we’ve seen a slew of studio titles get slots this month in what is thought to be a means to pad out year-end box office and ensure significant overall year-on-year growth after not-so-hot returns on recent local pics.)
Bumblebee, the well-reviewed Travis Knight-helmed origin story, doesn’t go to China, a huge Transformers market, until January 4. In the meantime, it buzzed into its first 38 hubs with $31.1M. Russia has put $4.9M in the tank from 1,200 locations, having held previews last weekend when it opened at No. 2. This frame came in at No. 4. South East Asia openers delivered No. 1s and 2s at bow, including Indonesia ($4.9M from 328 sites), Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam. Bumblebee this weekend is out in just 34% of the overseas footprint with 17 markets joining in the coming week.
As expected in the UK, Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns elbowed Aquaman out of the No. 1 spot as the Emily Blunt-starrer began its staggered offshore rollout. The full start in 17 markets was $20.3M with the UK lighting up $9.4M to triple the debuts of The Greatest Showman and Into The Woods. This weekend was all about Europe for Mary while international releases continue through February.
In milestones, Universal/Illumination’s The Grinch crossed $400M worldwide off strong holds in Europe, including increases in both Germany and the UK. Disney’s Ralph Breaks The Internet crossed $300M global with a No. 1 launch in Japan.
Breakdowns on the films above and more have been updated below.
Paramount’s origins story reboots the Transformers franchise with humor and an emotional connection that’s looking to be spurred good word of mouth. The ET-like tale starring Hailee Steinfeld came in at $31.1M in its first 38 overseas markets this session, repping 34% of the international footprint and with much play ahead during the holiday season.
Russia had previewed wide last weekend and has grossed $4.9M from 1,200 locations. Indonesia this weekend opened to $4.9M from 328 at No. 1, followed by Mexico ($3.9M/821/No. 2), Australia ($2.8M/271/No. 1) and Malaysia ($2.6M/150/No. 1).
South East Asia is already leaning in with China expected to lead all play once the VW Bug drives to the Middle Kingdom. The last two films in the Transformers series did best in China, although last year’s Last Knight was notably down on the previous pic, Age Of Extinction. Bumblebee opens in China on January 4 and does not yet appear to have a Douban score, but it does have a great local partner in Tencent Pictures which is acting as an investor and co-marketing partner.
Elsewhere, the holiday corridor is crowded and we’ll see how word of mouth helps spread the word, along with Steinfeld and co-star John Cena’s combined 80M social media followers. There are 17 markets opening next week including France, the UK, Brazil, Korea and Spain. Japan goes in March.
MARY POPPINS RETURNS
Disney’s sequel to the 1964 Oscar-winning musical swallowed a $20.3M spoonful from its first 17 offshore markets (47% of the overseas footprint). This is a staggered release that will see debuts throughout the holidays and into February. This weekend, the focus was on Europe with the UK the top opener at No. 1 and $9.4M.
Emily Blunt’s update on Julie Andrews’ British nanny had a 45% share of the UK market and tripled the opening weekends of The Greatest Showman and Into The Woods, while almost doubling last year’s Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle and topping Bohemian Rhapsody by 15%. Musicals tend to leg out, as is the case notably with Showman and Bo Rhap above, and given the family nature of this film and the season, expect Mary to fly nicely. There are sold out shows in the coming week (although, remember that in the UK cinemas are closed on December 25). Both Blunt and co-star Lin Manuel Miranda appeared on Graham Norton’s couch on Friday to promote the pic.
Also strong was the start in Italy where Mary took No. 1 with $2.8M and topped fellow Blunt-starrer Into The Woods by 117%, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again by 111%, The Greatest Showman by 23% and La La Land by 19%.
France’s $2M was ahead of Into The Woods, Showman and Mamma Mia 2. Germany, with $1.9M, topped Woods, La La and Showman. In both Spain ($1.4M) and Belgium ($500K), Mary Poppins Returns opened at No. 2. For a family pic, Brazil’s $500K is disappointing.
Next weekend adds Mexico, along with Scandinavia and some of Asia (Mary will not be going to China as it’s just not a fit for the market). Later on, Australia, Russia, Japan and Korea chime in.
After two weeks roiling offshore waters, Warner Bros/DC’s Aquaman finally surfed into the domestic marketplace, and with his take there is now approaching the $500M water mark worldwide. Adding $91.3M internationally this weekend, the James Wan-directed superhero origins story is at $410.7M overseas and $482.8M globally to ensure the half-billion threshold through Monday.
In IMAX, Aquaman has caught $32.6M abroad, with $21.6M coming from China. There, the Jason Momoa-starrer ranked No. 2 this weekend, behind newcomer Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, adding an overall $23.3M on 12,200 screens. The running cume is now $232.8M to hook Aquaman as the 7th highest grossing import film ever, so far.
In total, the Trident of Neptune is being wielded in 70 offshore markets, and, as noted above, is running well ahead of other DC titles at the same point in release. There were 27 new bows this session which were all No. 1s.
In the European region, Aquaman is tracking 12% ahead of Justice League and 33% above Wonder Woman. In Latin America, he’s 8% ahead of WW. In Asia, Arthur Curry will become WB’s top movie ever in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and more.
In new openings, Korea bowed to $9.9M on 1,260 screens for No. 1, above BVS, JL and WW. France grossed $6.2M on 607 screens at No. 1 and on par with JL, but above WW. Germany came in over JL and WW with $4.2M on 775 screens. Spain caught $2.8M from 511 to tie JL and land 23% over WW.
The Top 5 markets are heavily weighted in China’s favor with the Middle Kingdom at $232.8M, followed by Brazil ($17.1M), Mexico ($16.1M), Russia ($12.8M) and the UK ($12.6M).
This week sees releases in Australia, followed by Italy on January 1 and Japan on February 8.
SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
After scoring the best first day for any Hollywood animated pic this year in China on Friday, Sony’s latest Spidey took the No. 1 spot in the Middle Kingdom during a crowded frame that included Aquaman’s 3rd outing and the arrival of local title Airpocalypse. The $21.6M three-day start is the 4th best ever for a Hollywood animation and the top one of 2018. Spidey is popular in China with all films having released there. Most recently, last year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming finaled with $116.3M while 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 did $94.4M. Spider-Verse has an 8.9 on Douban, but will have to stare down local competition next session including Mojin: The Worm Valley. December has typically been a blackout period, but China has embraced Hollywood fare this year in what’s seen as an effort to continue boosting overall box office growth as we head to the 2018 finish line.
Overall, the webslinger snared $38M this weekend from 29,000+ screens in 53 markets. The international cume is now $64.8M. The Bob Persichetti/Peter Ramsey/Rodney Rothman-helmed pic that’s co-scripted by Phil Lord saw some great holds heading into the holidays including: the Philippines (+21%), Portugal (+6%), Israel (-11%), Australia (-20%), Malaysia (-24%), the UK (-25%), Switzerland (-29%), Germany (-32%) and Vietnam (-32%).
Upcoming major markets are Mexico and Italy this week, followed by Brazil in January and Japan (where Spidey overindexes) on March 28.
You’re a green machine Mr Grinch. Universal/Illumination’s animated take on the Dr Seuss classic Christmas tale crossed $400M worldwide this weekend, now tallying $422.5M. Of that, $169.3M is in the overseas stocking. This weekend added three offshore markets for 62 in play which stuffed $23.7M into the chimney.
New hubs include Russia with $4.2M from 1,662 locations, followed by Korea at $1.36M from 429 and Ukraine at $461K from 178. Seuss’ work is best known in English-speaking markets, as well as Germany. The latter was up 2% this weekend and stuck the No. 2 slot to outperform newcomers Mary Poppins Returns and Bumblebee. The cume there is $13.6M. The UK likewise was up, by a percentage point, to cume $31.1M. Also jumping were the Netherlands, Belgium and New Zealand.
Mexico ($13.9M cume/-35%/close to Moana lifetime), Australia ($11.4M/-7%) and France ($11.2M/-13%) are the other Top 5 plays. The Grinch steals into Hong Kong on December 27.
Fox’s Freddie Mercury biopic continues its rhapsodic run, adding another $15M in 52 markets this weekend to raise the international cume to $482.2M and global to $667M — and that’s all without China. Holds continue to be strong with Japan down just 11% in the 7th weekend and France and Australia dipping by 9% and 21%, respectively, in the 8th. Germany and Holland both increased this session.
All play is led by Korea with $65.2M and the 2nd best gross of all Hollywood movies in 2018 (7th ever), followed by the UK at $59.8M and Japan at $55.3M. In the latter, Bo Rhap has exceeded the lifetime of Les Misérables.
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET
Disney’s Ralph broke into Japan this session, kicking off at No. 1 with $4.7M. The overall weekend was $9.3M in 26 material terrs (66% of the overseas footprint) for an international cume of $145.5M and $307.6M globally.
Strong holds this weekend include the Netherlands (-3%), Portugal (-7%), the UK (-27%), Belgium (-32%), Israel (-39%), South Africa (-40%), Colombia (-43%), and Chile (-47%).
Before play moves on to Australia this week, followed by Italy, Korea, Brazil and Germany in January, and France in February, the Top 5 markets are China ($39M), Mexico ($17M), the UK ($14M), Russia ($12.5M) and Spain ($8.2M).
FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD
Warner Bros’ spinoff sequel crossed $600M worldwide this week, now having conjured $611.5M through Sunday. Adding $7.4M in 72 offshore markets this weekend, the overseas cume is $457M. The drop was 38% with Japan leading the frame in its 5th session. Overall, the top markets are China ($57.3M in a sizable dollar shift from the previous film’s $86M), Japan ($44.9M), the UK ($40.4M), Germany ($37.7M) and France ($31.2%).
MISC UPDATED CUMES/NOTABLE
Mortal Engines (UNI): $4M intl weekend (53 markets); $42.3M intl cume
A Star Is Born (WB): $3.5M intl weekend (56 markets); $182M intl cume
Second Act (STX): $836K intl weekend (28 markets); $4.6M intl cume
Widows (FOX): $800K intl weekend (34 markets); $31.5M intl cume