UPDATE, writethru: Disney’s Dumbo, the live-action adaptation of the beloved 1941 classic, grossed $71M at the international box office this weekend. Liftoff is below pre-opening projections which sources pegged in the $80M-$90M range for the Tim Burton-directed pic. The main issue here, which we noted in our preview would be a swing factor, is that Asia didn’t significantly prick up its ears for the little fellow. Domestic also flew in lower with $45M for a $116M global start.
First the more positive news: Across 53 material markets, which rep essentially 100% of the worldwide footprint, Dumbo landed No. 1 in such hubs as France, Italy, Spain, Russia, the UK, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico with families providing some nice upticks across Saturday and Sunday. Latin America, which leans into family fare, saw No. 1s across the board. Mexico was especially strong, with a 65% share and a $7.2M weekend. That’s the 3rd highest Disney Live Action opening frame of all time. Europe and Latin America will have some runway ahead as kids in many markets move into Easter breaks.
As for Asia, while Dumbo was No. 1 in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand, none of those markets appears in the Top 10. China leads all play at $10.7M where Dumbo was the best western pic and has a good social score, indicating some positive word of mouth. Reviews aggregator Douban gives it a middling 6.8. Japan – typically a big Burton hub — came in with $2.4M, also the market’s best of the weekend for a Hollywood movie, but No. 9 in the film’s Top 10 this session. Overall, Asia, which has less traditional awareness of the character, didn’t connect in the hoped for manner.
Still, Cathleen Taff, Disney’s President of Theatrical Distribution, Franchise Management and Business & Audience Insights, is hopeful that word of mouth will help grow Dumbo’s prospects. “We’re encouraged that this is an opportunity for families to go out and enjoy and be entertained as they head into holidays,” she says. That goes for Easter breaks while China has a big holiday coming up next Friday in Tomb Sweeping Day, though that’s expected to notably propel Warner Bros’ Shazam! in the market.
Overall, Dumbo came in lower than pre-weekend comps like the Burton-produced Alice Through The Looking Glass, which bowed to $75M in like-for-likes and at current rates, and the live-action Cinderella which did $89M. With Dumbo’s $116M start worldwide, Disney does get bragging rights to the 2nd best bow for a Hollywood title of 2019, behind its own Captain Marvel.
That Brie Larson-starrer is now closing in on $1B globally. Currently at $990.6M, Ms Marvel will hit the mark this week. She fronts what is now the No. 10 superhero movie ever worldwide, and No. 9 in the genre internationally. The offshore cume on Captain Marvel is $636.8M after a $26.4M session abroad.
Disney’s combined weekend totals push its international box office across the $1B mark for 2019 at $1.104B to date.
In other milestone news, Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody is nearing the $900M threshold globally. Currently at $895M, the Oscar-winning Freddie Mercury biopic expanded from its arthouse release in China this weekend where it has grossed $11.6M through Sunday. Japan, in what was the 21st frame, was up 17% and has now cumed $114M.
There will be more horror to come next weekend as Pet Sematary starts its offshore rollout in some key markets while Shazam! powers up pretty much everywhere, including China.
In the meantime, breakdowns on the films above and more have been updated below.
The Tim Burton-directed live-action update on Disney’s 1941 animated classic flapped its way to a $71M start overseas this weekend in 53 material markets. That reps essentially 100% of the global footprint (Turkey and Venezuela open next session). As noted above, the bow is below where sources saw the movie ahead of the debut with Asia the main culprit. Awareness of the character is not as great there and heading into the session there was also prescient concern over whether the pachyderm would find his feet in the region.
China, the top opening market, landed at $10.7M, though again below where some had it coming into the weekend. Word of mouth is solid, and there’s a holiday ahead, but it appears locals may be more focused on next weekend’s Shazam!.
Elsewhere in Asia, there were No. 1s in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. Dumbo was the biggest Hollywood movie in Japan, India, Malaysia and the Philippines. However, of those, only Japan ($2.4M) cracked the Top 10 of opening markets. Burton typically has success there and made a trip to Tokyo recently for the local premiere.
There were more significant No. 1s elsewhere with uptick over the weekend versus the midweeks where the movie opened in step with local schedules. Along with the European No. 1s cited above, Dumbo was also tops in Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Sweden and Ukraine. Germany, notably, did not crack the Top 10 Dumbo hubs.
Latin America leaned in to Dumbo with No. 1s across the region. Mexico’s strong start was the 3rd best for a live-action Disney pic (same goes for Colombia). Co-star Danny DeVito had done a press tour there in early March. Promotional efforts overseas were in fact wide and varied with Burton and members of the cast hitting several hubs while influencers weighed in and immersive exhibits were set up in large-scale mall takeovers, among other marketing moves.
A silver lining for this $170M proposition is, as Anthony has noted, that the character has a robust off-screen life which stretches into merchandising and theme parks, having done so already for decades. And, yes, Disney can afford this sort of live-action family box-ticking, particularly with what it’s got lined up in the coming months.
And, the fact that word of mouth is better than critical notes on this re-telling should help throughout the upcoming holidays in markets like France, Germany, Spain, the UK, Australia and perhaps even the Middle Kingdom.
Overall, the Top 5 openers were China ($10.7M), the UK ($7.4M), Mexico ($7.2M), Russia ($4.4M) and Italy ($3.8M).
In the fourth frame, Disney/Marvel’s Captain Marvel added another $26.4M from 54 markets, bringing the offshore cume to $636.8M. She’ll be rounding the $1B global mark this week, currently flying at $990.6M. Worldwide, the Brie Larson-starrer is now the No. 10 superhero movie ever. Overseas, she is passing The Dark Knight Rises to land the No. 9 spot on the all-time charts.
China topped the $150M mark this weekend, cuming $151.5M to date. Across Asia, the best holds were in Korea (-26%) and Japan (-32%).
Europe overall dropped by just 44% with solid play continuing in Germany (-35%), Denmark (-37%), France (-39%), the Netherlands(-45%) and the UK (-49%), among others.
Across Latin America, Carol Danvers topped $100M to pass Black Panther and saw strong holds in Chile (-27%), Brazil (-43%), Argentina (-48%) and Peru (-49%).
Overall, the Top 5 hubs are China ($151.5M), the UK ($42.7M), Korea ($42.4M), Brazil ($34M) and Mexico ($31.5M).
Jordan Peele and Universal’s scarer, which is releasing in staggered fashion overseas, had a $22.6M second frame including a strong start in Korea. Now in 60 markets, the international box office total is $46.3M for $174.5M global.
The follow-up to Peele’s 2017 Oscar winner Get Out — which ultimately made about 31% of its money internationally — added 14 markets this session and saw great holds in places like Germany and Spain which were down just 9% and 27%, respectively (comparatively, Get Out in those markets had dipped 32% and 43% in its sophomore frame).
Korea led opening play with $6.9M from 442 locations for the No. 1 spot. The first day was the biggest ever debut for a foreign horror film while the weekend is the 2nd best in the genre for an import, behind Get Out (-15%) and tying with Split.
Australia debuted to $2.72M at 245 locations, also a No. 1 launch and 95% above Get Out, 53% over A Quiet Place, 33% above Halloween and 11% ahead of Split. In Russia, Us took the No. 2 slot behind Dumbo with $1.4M at 771 and 153% over Get Out.
In other bows, New Zealand ($281K/72 locations/No. 2), Central America ($274K/148/No. 3), Thailand ($268K/106/No. 2) and Ukraine ($214K/171/No. 2) all are tracking well above Get Out.
The top holdover hubs were led by the UK which has now grossed $8.2M and stuck the No. 2 spot. France is next in overall cumes at $3.5M, followed by Germany at $3M, Spain with $2.3M, Brazil’s $1.5M and Taiwan’s $1.35M.
Italy releases next weekend with Mexico going in early May and Japan cutting in August 23.
MISC UPDATED CUMES/NOTABLE
Five Feet Apart (LG): $6.2M intl weekend (39 markets); $14.8M intl cume
Bohemian Rhapsody (FOX): $3.5M intl weekend (16 markets); $680.3M intl cume
How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (UNI): $2.6M intl weekend (58 markets); $348.9M intl cume
Wonder Park (PAR): $2.5M intl weekend (23 markets); $14.4M intl cume
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (WB): $1.8M intl weekend (54 markets); $78.7M intl cume
Escape Room (SNY): $1.6M intl weekend (29 markets); $94.5M intl cume
Bumblebee (PAR): $1M intl weekend (Japan only); $338M intl cume
What Men Want (PAR): $1M intl weekend (15 markets); $15.3M intl cume
Fighting With My Family (UNI only): $800K intl weekend (5 markets); $3.2M intl cume ($13.2M with non-Uni markets included)
Alita: Battle Angel (FOX): $747K intl weekend (32 markets); $317.7M intl cume
Mary Queen Of Scots (UNI): $400K intl weekend (17 markets); $28.4M intl cume
Boy Erased (UNI): $300K intl weekend (9 markets); $3.4M intl cume