SUNDAY UPDATE, writethru: Warner Bros/Legendary’s Godzilla: King Of The Monsters has come in with a $130M opening weekend launch at the international box office. As we noted yesterday, this is far lower than what the industry was seeing ahead of the debut. The continuation of Legendary’s modern monster series is the No. 1 movie overseas, but the King’s bow is not royal. The 2014 Godzilla opened to $140M in like-for-like markets (unadjusted) and that brings up a host of questions.
Some had this one at potentially upwards of $200M if the emerging markets and China had really popped — our early estimate, based on a combination of industry sources, was $170M-$190M before we downgraded to $150M and then $130M yesterday. The growing SE Asia hubs certainly performed the best, and I hear WB is happy with those. China led, but while it looked critic-proof at the beginning with a 9 on Maoyan, the social scores dropped throughout the weekend and that figure is now an 8.5. The full weekend estimate there is $70M, the low end of the pre-opening range.
The movie was made for Asia, including majors China and Japan as well as the emerging hubs. Although Korea isn’t a big monster consumer, it is a key market. But there was a wrench thrown in the works by the Cannes Film Festival which last week gave Bong Joon-ho the country’s first Palme d’Or with Parasite. The win was followed by a hero’s welcome for Bong and a simply massive turnout at local turnstiles, which resulted in $24.5M through Sunday per Kobiz estimates. Godzilla did $2.2M there.
Latin America couldn’t really be bothered by the King what with a big family movie out in the form of Aladdin, and Europe was meh on the monsters. Last time around, with the 2014 Godzilla, the UK bowed to nearly $11M and France was at $5.7M. They are sharply down this time around (UK $4.4M/France $2.6M). Some of the extra contributing factors here include the wonderful weather, distractions from the Champions League football final and hot competition from Aladdin and Rocketman (see below).
Legs will be an issue for the beast as we are fully in the summer season. Next weekend sees Fox/Disney’s Dark Phoenix release day-and-date everywhere save Japan, while The Secret Life Of Pets 2 expands somewhat in Europe and Latin America and Bollywood icon Salman Khan has his latest, Bharat, on Wednesday. Then comes Sony’s Men In Black: International, followed by Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4 and Sony’s Spider-Man: Far From Home — all before Dis’ The Lion King roars into action mid-July. Warners has Annabelle Comes Home in late June then will really get going again with It: Chapter 2 and Joker in the fall.
So what happens to Godzilla Vs Kong? Dated for March 2020, the movie is the fourth chapter of Legendary’s modern monster series. Certainly core fans are looking forward to it, but some of the criticism surrounding the current film is a lack of connection to the human characters in favor of epic fight scenes. Here’s hoping the story appeals to more general audiences. But even Kong: Skull Island was a well-reviewed pic with major stars that didn’t crack $600M worldwide on a reported $185M production budget.
Legendary contends King Of The Monsters’ net cost before P&A is $170M, but as Anthony has reported, we’ve heard from others the number is just under $185M. Warner Bros. is on the hook for 25% as they wanted to share in any potential spoils of the franchise. The 2014 Godzilla made an estimated $52M-plus in profit on $529M global box office and after all post theatrical streams off combined global P&A and production costs just under$300M. King Of The Monsters was largely shot between 2017 and 2018 in Atlanta with tax credits. Second unit work was done in Mexico. Legendary East is handling China, where we understand the movie does not have co-pro status so the return is about 25%. Toho has Japan.
The budgets are high, but there is a school of thought that suggests if you’re going to deliver to the core audience, you need those costly VFX. The question becomes how to draw in the general audiences. This was indeed a competitive weekend, fair enough. But, perhaps this film played too much to the folks who wanted to see three-headed monsters thrashing about. Marrying Godzilla to King Kong next year may be a better sell. Still, is it worth revisiting this IP quite so soon?
Looking at that competitive landscape and how the rest of this week’s other movies fared. Disney’s Aladdin showed great staying power, holding No. 1 in 32 markets and grossing $78.3M across 54 (and before Japan hops on the magic carpet). The international cume is now $260.9M. Globally, the Genie is at $446M to surpass the lifetime of Dumbo. It’s doing better than the industry expected.
Paramount’s Elton John biopic Rocketman added 39 markets this session to tune up $19.2M. That brings the overseas cume to $31.2M. The musical fantasy that blasted off in Cannes a few weeks ago is currently running on par with the similarly-rated A Star Is Born. Openings were mostly in the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 spots depending on the market.
Illumination/Universal’s The Secret Life Of Pets 2, after bowing in the UK last weekend, added eight markets this frame, including Russia where it kicked off at $11.6M for a No. 1 start that’s over Incredibles 2 by 41%. The full weekend was worth $17.2M in nine markets.
Avengers: Endgame has now risen to $2.713B, and with Aladdin helped push Disney past the $5B worldwide mark with $5.147B to date. Of that, $1.638B is from domestic and $3.509B is from overseas. Including Fox’s 2019 grosses to date, those totals rise to $1.841B domestic, $4.284B international and $6.125M global.
Elsewhere, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is closing in on $100M overseas.
Breakdowns on the above films and more have been updated below.
GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS
The Warner Bros release, which also depends on its partners in China (Legendary East) and Japan (Toho) and which is produced by Legendary, tumbled off initial projections to land a $130M international opening. That’s a big number either way, but we watched as those estimates fell through the weekend.
The lowdown is that this is the No. 1 movie overseas, but met with difficulty caused by factors that we outlined above. In like-for-like markets it did not meet 2014’s Godzilla. The questions surrounding the movie are: who is it for? and how does the IP ignite a fresh audience? There’s time before Godzilla Vs Kong thunders in next March — and maybe more global audiences will be goosed by the big ape — but this movie’s start was ignominious. Despite fan fervor, it isn’t pulling in general audiences, however, to be fair, it also suffered from a lot of competing factors.
Either way, it’s the No. 1 movie internationally this weekend, and with $130M overall, including $70M in China, it’s nothing to sniff at. But the budget and expectations, as well as how it sets up Godzilla Vs Kong, have left some industry insiders scratching their heads. Let’s look at the individual markets.
Predictably, the top result was in China with an estimated $70M (RMB 480M). That’s better by 116% on the 2014 Godzilla, but just on par with Skull Island.
Japan took in an estimated $8.4M on over 600 screens, ranking No. 1 and surpassing all comps including Godzilla and Skull Island.
Mexico’s opening ranked No. 2 with $4.6M. France’s cume is $2.6M from 613 screens at No. 2.
The UK was just dismal at $4.4M from 981 screens. Even at No. 2 per WB that’s way lower than Godzilla. It’s only on par with The Meg.
Taiwan fared better at $4.1M to land No. 1 by a large margin and topping all comps. Indonesia ended up with the monster movie at No. 2 with $3.5M from 727 screens. Thailand posted $2.3M on 705 screens, ranking a dominant No. 1 and coming in 7% ahead of the previous Godzilla movie. Malaysia made $2.2M from 653 screens to rank No. 1.
Russia, which went largely to the dogs of Pets 2, made $2.5M for a No. 3 start.
India opened to an estimated $2.5M from 1,721 screens, ranking No. 1. There’s not much space left in this market which has a Salman Khan movie opening for the Eid-al-fitr holiday this week.
In IMAX, the news appears rosier. There was $22.7M from 1,400 screens worldwide for the 5th highest global IMAX bow ever. Of that, $14.6M is from overseas for the 2nd highest WB international IMAX opening weekend ever. The IMAX China network delivered $9.4M of the offshore total.
To some surprise, Disney’s Aladdin has had great staying power, holding to No. 1 in 32 markets overseas and grossing $78.3M across 54 this weekend (and before Japan hops on the magic carpet). The international cume is now $260.9M. Globally, the Genie is at $446M to surpass the lifetime of Dumbo.
The midweeks were strong with Monday-Thursday conjuring $66M for 61% of the initial weekend.
Regionally, Europe dipped 34% and was still No. 1 in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE and UK. Impressive holds were in such markets as Poland (+21%), Denmark (+17%), Belgium (+7%), France (+2%), Germany (+2%), Netherlands (-8%), Austria (-13%), South Africa (-17%), Portugal (-20%), UK (-26%), Switzerland (-27%) and Sweden (-28%).
Asia Pacific dipped overall by 35%, with strong holds in Korea (-11%), Indonesia (-16%), Hong Kong (-17%), New Zealand (-21%), Philippines (-23%), Australia (-26%), Taiwan (-32%), Singapore (-32%), Malaysia (-35%), Vietnam (-38%), Thailand (-43%) and China (-49%).
Latin America remained keen on the Genie with a 26% overall drop. Aladdin is No. 1 again in each of the region’s markets.
The Top 5 so far are China ($39.4M), the UK ($24.2M), Mexico ($19.2M), Korea ($15.2M) and Italy ($12.7M).
After his early UK bow last weekend, the madman across the water has made $19.2M this session. That brings the total to $31.2M in 40 offhshore markets. On a like-for-like basis for all markets in release, this weekend’s result is on par with the similarly R-rated A Star Is Born, and just 6% below The Greatest Showman and 28% below La La Land.
Australia was the top grosser this weekend for this Dexter Fletcher-helmed musical fantasy with $3.9M from 310 locations. France came in next with $1.8M at 472. Germany was worth $1.5M from 523.
New Zealand notably delivered a huge No. 1 at $911K from 111 sites.
The UK in its second weekend grabbed another $3.2M from 720 to cume a captain fantastic $15.3M.
THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2
Illumination/Universal’s menagerie made a further $17.2M overseas in what is a slow rollout for the sequel. The international cume is now $28.4M after two frames that include only the UK and Russia as majors.
During a holiday week, the UK came in a No. 2 and has now grossed $14.4M. New to the household was Russia with $11.6M from 1,863 locations and including previews. The Chris Renaud-helmed sequel had 52% of the market.
Smaller markets were strong against comps as the pic is poised to wag its tail through many more overseas hubs through the summer.
POKEMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU
The little yellow sleuth is still pulling in overseas markets with an extra $14.6M on 10,319 screens in 73 markets. The overseas running cume is now $261.5M and the worldwide total is $392.1M.
China has kept up apace with the movie at No. 4 amid a lot of competition this weekend, and with a cume of $90.4M. Japan has risen to $23.7M.
The Top 5 at this point are those two, followed by the UK ($16.1M), Mexico ($11.2M) and Germany ($11M).
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 – PARABELLUM
Spain was the new opener for the assassin this weekend with a No. 2 debut at $769K for +195% on John Wick 2.
Overall, the Lionsgate movie added $12.7M offshore for an international cume of $95.9M and a global tally of $221.7M.
The Top 5 cumes so far are the UK ($10.2M), Australia ($7.5M), Russia ($7M), Germany ($6.7M) and Mexico ($5.9M).
Still in the game, Disney/Marvel’s series-ender added $8.6M this weekend offshore. That lifts the international cume to $1.898B and global to $2.713B
*Ma (UNI): $2.8M intl weekend (31 markets)
The Hustle (UNI/var): $1.8M intl weekend (32 UNI markets); $40.8M intl cume (including non-UNI hubs)
Brightburn (SNY): $1.4M intl weekend (51 markets); $10.5M intl cume
A Dog’s Journey (UNI/var): $700K intl weekend (16 UNI markets); $36.8M intl cume (including non-UNI hubs)
SATURDAY UPDATE: Much as it is domestically, Warner Bros/Legendary’s Godzilla: King Of The Monsters is sinking overseas versus earlier industry estimates with an opening weekend now on either side of $130M at the international box office. The mash made $31.4M on Friday in 75 markets for an offshore cume through yesterday of $48.2M. The 2014 Godzilla bowed to $140M in like-for-like overseas markets at unadjusted rates.
So what’s happening here and why were the pre-weekend estimates so off? While it appears that creature feature fans — and those who have warmed to this particular giant beast in the past — are keen on the film, general moviegoers aren’t making a beeline. One international distribution source suggests folks may feel like this is a rehash. Posits this person, “What’s the difference between this one and the 2014 movie in people’s minds?”
The “who-is-this-film-for?” question indeed has some folks scratching their heads. “Seeing a giant sea monster fight other giant creatures as the key moments in a picture lacks the audience’s ability to have an emotional journey tied to the central character,” notes another source.
The film was built for the Asian markets, and the bulk of international promotion was done in China and Japan. Many of the smaller and more emerging SE Asia hubs are giving off No. 1s, as expected. Japan, Godzilla‘s home market, bowed to $2.2M on Friday on over 600 screens (via WB’s partners at Toho) to rank No. 1 and outperform all comps including +37% over the previous Godzilla.
As noted yesterday, China is coming in softer than projected. Not included in the total above is the Saturday flash estimate from Legendary East which is an estimated $30M (RMB 210M). That lifts the Middle Kingdom’s running cume to $48M through Saturday. Today was the Children’s Day holiday, and the Sunday drop is expected to be steep. We are seeing a potential $67M-$70M launch for the three-day.
Elsewhere in Asia, and although it is not a major monster market, Korea is just head-over-heels for Bong Joon-ho’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner Parasite with over $17M through Saturday versus Godzilla’s $1.67M, per local reporting outfit Kobiz. The monsters are in 3rd position behind that film and Aladdin‘s hold.
Another issue is the staying power of Disney’s Aladdin which is expected to be No. 1 throughout Latin America when full-weekend estimates are tallied on Sunday. That’s not a major surprise since the region leans into family fare, but Europe is also meh on the monsters. There is extra competition in the UK, not only from Aladdin, but also Rocketman and The Secret Life Of Pets 2 (plus fantastic weather and a major football match tonight). Regardless, Godzilla is anything but king there with a No. 4 bow.
Below is a look at the individual markets that opened on Friday as well as the cumes in those that bowed Wednesday and Thursday. We’ll have a full update on Sunday.
On Friday, Mexico opened to $1.2M from 2,668 screens, ranking No. 2. The opening day is over Godzilla by 25% and on par with Kong: Skull Island.
India debuted to an estimated $543K from 1,721 screens, ranking No. 1. In Vietnam, the gross was $401K on 710 screens for No. 1 and 66% of the Top 5 titles on Friday. That’s ahead of nearly all comps, including Godzilla but not Kong: Skull Island which had special status in the market as it partially shot there.
Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia has a $2.2M cume after three days and is running a close No. 2; Taiwan has cumed $1.9M after three days at No. 1; Malaysia has $1.1M at No. 1 after two days; Thailand is still dominating at No. 1 with $1M, also after two days; and Hong Kong is at $523K from Thursday and Friday.
In Europe, the UK has grossed $2.5M in three days while France is at $1.8M also after three. Germany in two days has made $1.3M and Russia $1.1M.
Australia has taken $696K at No. 3 after two days. Rocketman has blasted off both there (at No. 2) and in New Zealand where it is expected to be the No. 1 film this weekend.
More to come on Sunday…
PREVIOUS, FRIDAY UPDATE: Warner Bros/Legendary’s Godzilla: King Of The Monsters started thrashing about overseas on Wednesday, taking $12.7M from approximately 16,500 screens in 51 markets through Thursday. Openings in Asia (outside Korea) are so far, and predictably, the best results with No. 1s in several. Europe is not crushing on the creature feature in early play, however, and the revised projected weekend at the international box office now looks closer to $150M than the $170M-$190M the industry saw ahead of the session. Latin America is still to weigh in. In like-for-like markets, but unadjusted for exchange rate fluctuation, 2014’s Godzilla bowed to $140M.
Not included in the above total is the early China flash from today which Legendary East has coming in at an estimated $18M (RMB 124.5M). The movie is a solid No. 1 in the Middle Kingdom and has a combined $21.8M (RMB 150.9M) including sneaks through Friday. The figures are above 2014’s Godzilla (+94%). China has the Children’s Day holiday on Saturday which could help boost play. Nevertheless, the opening weekend now looks closer to $70M for the three-day.
The swing on this movie was always about China, although we understand the recoup in the market will be the standard 25%. The Michael Dougherty-directed mash kicked off in the Middle Kingdom with a solid 9 score on ticketing platform Maoyan, but has dipped to an 8.8 today. Japan, which has a discount ticket day tomorrow, will also be key to play.
One market where Godzilla is perhaps more irate than usual has to be Korea in which he’s being pummeled by Cannes Palme d’Or winner Parasite. The running cume for the monsters is $752K through the first two days (Wednesday and Thursday) there. Per Kobiz today, the movie was No. 4 on Friday with an estimated cume of about $1M. Parasite is at $8.7M through Friday and is still topping the local box office by a mile (also over Aladdin at No. 2). This is a market that doesn’t typically overindex on Hollywood creature features, however, and the Parasite phenomenon was not foreseeable.
Elsewhere, the King is beating its main comps of Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island in some markets. The UK bowed on a non-traditional Wednesday where he generated an estimated $837K on 490 screens (two-day cume is $1.5M). The launch score is 8% above Kong: Skull Island but still relegates the movie to No. 4 amid strong competition (Aladdin, Rocketman, Secret Life Of Pets 2) and under sunny skies.
Taiwan on Wednesday was the next best start at $704K from 320 screens with a 73% share of the Top 5 films and surpassing Skull Island by 22%. In two days, Godzilla has grasped $1.2M.
Indonesia had a $585K start on Wednesday from 727 screens for the No. 2 position. The launch doubled Godzilla and Skull Island, as well as San Andreas. The running two-day tally is $1.5M.
Russia bowed Thursday to $574K from 2,982 screens, ranking No. 2. That’s on par with Skull Island.
The beast ranked No. 3 in Germany on Thursday with an estimated $569K from 852 screens for 33% over Skull Island. Including previews, the running cume is $806K.
Thailand on Thursday gave the monsters a No. 1 start with $550K from 705 for 8% ahead of the previous Godzilla and 15% over Skull Island.
France launched at No. 2 with $507K from 613 screens (including previews) and has a two-day total of $1.3M.
Malaysia has cumed $630K through two days at No. 1; Australia gave the pic a No. 3 start on Thursday with $307K from 378; Hong Kong also had a No. 1 debut with $255K from 76; and Italy is a No. 2 Thursday launch with $190K on 486 — the latter bested Skull Island by 14% and has a cume with previews of $216K.
An additional 24 markets open today, that includes China and Japan, as well as Latin America. The latter should lean in, but Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and the three-headed King Ghidorah have stiff competition in the family-friendly market from holdover Aladdin. A total 75 markets will be open through today.
We’ll be back with more throughout the weekend.