UPDATE, WRITETHRU: After getting off to an early start in Asia last weekend, Fox/Lightstorm’s Alita: Battle Angel moved into wide offshore release this session with $56.2M in 86 markets. That brings the total on the expensive James Cameron-produced pic to $94.4M at the international box office. Key releases in China and Japan are on deck for Friday.
Fox had earlier taken advantage of the Chinese New Year to push Alita out in South East Asia where the source material and next-level 3D are particular draws. Turnstiles typically, and naturally, slow down after the holiday period in that part of the world, and Alita saw a significant drop in Korea which had led the previous session. However, she maintained strong holds and No. 1s in most of the Asian hubs.
Alita’s $56.2M weekend is higher than estimates we were hearing ahead of the frame which included strong starts in Russia and Mexico. A question is what her legs will look like in Europe and some of the more mature markets moving forward — the UK this weekend dipped about 57%, for example, and Spain was the only No. 1 opener of the continent’s majors. There are school holidays and some runway ahead, before Captain Marvel takes flight.
Currently, Alita is outpacing Ready Player One (+5%) and The Maze Runner (+43%) in the same group of 86 offshore markets and at today’s rates. The Maze Runner in 2014 finaled at about $246M internationally and RP1 did $445M including over $200M in China (all historic rates). At what Cameron recently called a “battle-cruiser class of budgets,” Alita remains an expensive break-even proposition.
China, which joins the Battle on Friday, is getting a visit from Cameron tomorrow. A beloved figure in the Middle Kingdom, he’ll be in Beijing for the premiere. Early estimates on next weekend’s opening are in the $50M zone. Alita could see terrific play in China if she taps into a similar Middle Kingdom vein as Ready Player One did last year (that film had extra local muscle via Alibaba). Of course, even if she does kick-ass business in China, the mo-cap heroine will return just 25% of the box office to Fox’s coffers.
Also in China next weekend, Alita will be contending with holdover business from sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth. The overall leader at the international box office last frame and this, the pic has now cumed RMB 3.789B ($560M) to become the 2nd biggest local film ever in the Middle Kingdom, behind only Wolf Warrior 2 (based on local currency). It reached the mark in 13 days and will soon get across $600M.
The Wu Jing-starrer also hit another milestone in the current session, topping Avengers: Infinity War to become the top-grossing IMAX release ever in China. The total there is now $43.7M.
With a 50% drop for the FSS this session to $90M, Wandering Earth is still dominating showtimes in the Middle Kingdom. It is expected to jockey with the arrival of Alita on Friday, though screen counts won’t be wholly clear until later in the week.
Elsewhere, Universal/Blumhouse’s Happy Death Day 2U blew out candles in 41 overseas markets with an $11.8M start. Majors in the mix are led by Korea ($2.17M). Overall, the sequel is tracking ahead of the original in 23 markets with Italy, Russia and Japan still to come.
And in milestones, Disney’s Ralph Breaks The Internet has crossed $300M internationally and $500M worldwide. Warner Bros’ Aquaman, meanwhile, is swimming right up alongside $800M overseas and has now reeled in $1.13B global.
There is not much on deck offshore until Disney/Marvel’s Captain Marvel releases beginning March 6. The next two weekends will see expansions and turn attention yet again to China as Alita opens there on Friday, followed byon March 1.
Breakdowns on this week’s films have been updated below.
HAPPY DEATH DAY 2U
The sequel to Universal/Blumhouse’s 2017 $125M+ worldwide microbudget horror pic opened in 41 offshore markets this session to $11.8M. With an estimated $9M cost before P&A, the second film in the series is again directed by Christopher Landon and now has a global cume of $26.9M. The previous pic did $69.8M overseas ($125.5M WW) and was the first Blumhouse title to score a China release which resulted in a $9.6M take. Korea was the lead on the last movie at $10M, followed by China, Brazil, France and the UK.
Korea leads the opening session on 2U, slotting in at No. 4. The gross there was $2.17M from 399 locations. France and Germany tied at about $1M each, coming in at local Nos. 9 and 5, respectively. The UK did $930K at No. 5 and Indonesia scored $850K at No. 2 to land 11% higher than the original. Peru’s opening day was Universal’s best for a horror pic.
Overall, the movie is tracking ahead of the original in 23 markets and beating Ouija: Origin Of Evil in 28. Key upcoming markets include Italy and Russia later this month.
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL
Adding $56.2M in a total 86 markets this session, Fox/Lightstorm’s Alita has now grossed $94.4M internationally with China and Japan to come this weekend. Out of the current hubs in release, Alita is No. 1 in 41 and is running 5% above Ready Player One and 43% over The Maze Runner in like-for-likes and at today’s rates.
Asia is the big driver on the Robert Rodriguez-directed/James Cameron-produced pic, with holds at No. 1 in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia. In Korea, which led all play last session, the drop was about 77%. The market is crowded coming out of Chinese New Year and Alita’s cume there is $14.8M.
Amongst openers, fast-burn Russia led with $6.5M from 1,531 screens for No. 1 and 4% over Ready Player One. France was next at $5.9M from 594 to slot No. 2 (the annual Paris Manga & Sci-Fi show, by the way, was held this weekend, making national news in the manga-happy market). That was followed by Mexico’s $4.2M at 2,205 and No. 1 (+70% over Maze Runner). Australia ($2.97M/413/No. 1) and Germany ($2.97M/945/No. 2) round out this session’s Top 5 debuts.
Elsewhere in Asia, Thailand gave Fox its 5th best opening ever at $2.49M from 730 screens and Vietnam logged $1.5M to top Ready Player One by 129%.
With school holidays afoot in Europe and no major title release until Captain Marvel in March, there is runway ahead. Midweeks will be telling, but ultimately China will be key to getting the overseas numbers significantly up — even if only 25% of the box office comes back to the studio. As Anthony has pointed out, Alita has a theme that’s similar to Ready Player One, and the latter did great business in China. With a $61.7M opening, it finaled at $218.4M. The hope is that Alita can emulate that, although currently its Douban score is 7.6 vs RP1‘s 9.2 at the time of release. (The latter film also got a boost from Alibaba.) Cameron heads to China on Monday to attend the premiere and estimates are putting the opening weekend in the $50M zone. However, there will be competition depending how well local sci-fi opus The Wandering Earth holds (it was down 50% this FSS) and how many screens it continues to be allotted. Then there’s Japan where appetite is strong. Some audience members have already watched Alita, the feature adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s manga Gunnm, four times in previews.
The current Top 5 markets on Alita are Korea ($14.8M), the UK ($7.38M), Taiwan ($6.8M), Russia ($6.5M) and France ($5.9M).
Overall, IMAX and 3D box office contributed well to the weekend at 35% and 10% of the overseas total, respectively. IMAX’s Alita cume is now $17.6M.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD
Still zooming around the globe before they land in North America, Hiccup and Toothless swooped in on another $21.7M in 49 offshore markets this session. The international cume on the Universal/DreamWorks Animation threequel is now $172.5M.
The main opening this weekend was Poland at No. 1 with $1.9M from 180 locations. This tops the previous movies by 305% (HTTYD) and 70% (HTTYD2). France was the top holdover, totaling $12.6M after two frames while Germany held No. 1 in the sophomore session to cume $11.5M. The top markets are a mix of Australia, Mexico, the UK and Brazil.
Along with domestic, Russia and Spain both open next weekend, followed by China on March 1.
THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART
The Warner Bros sequel picked up $12.1M on 11,107 screens in 69 overseas markets during the sophomore session. The international cume is now $34.7M and the worldwide total is $97.7M. France and Italy release next week with Australia on March 21. Of the three previous Lego movies, only Ninjago did better overseas than domestically. This one is currently running at about 36% from abroad with the UK in the lead at $9.6M.
The major opener in the frame was Mexico, where the brand was fairly new when the first movie opened. It bowed to $1.5M from 1,716 screens this weekend to double Ninjago. Below the UK, the Top 5 is rounded out by Russia ($2.8M), Poland ($2.3M), Germany ($2.1M) and Mexico.
After crossing $100M worldwide this week, Best Picture Oscar nominee Green Book added a combined $9M from 59 Lionsgate and Amblin markets with strong holds this session. The international total is now $60.6M with a split of $33.1M for Lionsgate and $27.5M for Amblin. France is still the top-grossing market with just a 15% drop this frame for $7M to date. The UK ($6.8M), Italy ($5.7M), Australia ($5.4M) and Russia ($5.2M) make up the rest of the Top 5. Denmark opens this coming weekend followed by China and Japan on March 1.
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET
Reaching its final market this weekend, Disney’s sequel knocked out another $7M in 28 overall. France is the last hub to join Ralph and pals, kicking off with $4.8M including previews as kids’ holidays begin. The opening weekend was 84% ahead of the original. In holds, Denmark saw a terrific 62% jump to take over the top spot in its 2nd session. With this weekend, the overseas total is now $306.8M for $505.4M worldwide. China is still the top hub at $39M, followed by Japan ($34.7M), the UK (23M), Mexico ($17.4M) and Brazil ($17M).
MISC UPDATED CUMES/NOTABLE
The Mule (WB): $4.5M intl weekend (44 markets); $40M intl cume
Instant Family (PAR): $4.4M intl weekend (21 markets); $37.3M intl cume
Bohemian Rhapsody (FOX): $4.3M intl weekend (49 markets); $642M intl cume
The Favourite (FOX): $3.7M intl weekend (46 markets); $45M intl cume
Escape Room (SNY): $3.6M intl weekend (44 markets); $59.6M intl cume
Glass (DIS): $3.6M intl weekend (44 markets); $130.3M intl cume
Aquaman (WB): $3.4M intl weekend (68 markets, led by Japan); $799.4M intl cume
Nicky Larson And Cupid’s Perfume (SNY): $2.6M intl weekend (France only); $7.4M France cume
Mary Poppins Returns (DIS): $2.3M intl weekend (20 markets); $171.1M intl cume
What Men Want (PAR): $2.2M intl weekend (6 markets); $2.5M intl cume
Creed II (WB): $1.5M intl weekend (39 markets); $94.8M intl cume
Mary Queen Of Scots (UNI): $900K intl weekend (26 markets); $23.4M intl cume
The Kid Who Would Be King (FOX): $856K intl weekend (UK only); $6.8M intl cume
A Dog’s Way Home (SNY): $850K intl weekend (25 markets); $19.9M intl cume
Under The Same Roof (SNY): $500K intl weekend (Spain only); $3.3M Spain cume
Local cop comedy Extreme Job has drummed up $98.5M in a little under four weeks in Korea, maintaining the No. 1 spot again. New entry Innocent Witness was the No. 2 movie there this weekend with $4.3M. The crime drama from director Lee Han sees a housekeeper charged with the murder of her employer and the only witness to the crime a teenage girl with Asperger’s.
In Russia, Sony released Gromkaya Svyaz (aka Loudspeaker), a comedy directed by Alexey Nuzhny that’s a remake of Italian hit Perfect Strangers (which was also recently remade in China as Kill Mobile, as well as other offshore incarnations). The story of a group of friends who share their cell phones at a dinner party, revealing all, launched to No. 2 with $3.3M from 1,259 screens. Sony also has Boda De Mi Mejor Amigo in new release in Mexico. Opening at No. 2 with $2.6M from 1,621 screens, it’s a remake of hit 1997 Julia Roberts romcom My Best Friend’s Wedding.