SUNDAY UPDATE: Blessedly, another busy weekend at the international box office as new titles and eventized reissues hit overseas markets that have resumed operations. The biggest numbers are from China, where Warner Bros’ 4K 3D restoration of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone drew muggles to the tune of an estimated $13.6M on 16,000 screens over the three-day frame (including $2.1M from 594 IMAX screens). The 19-year-old movie set a new single-day gross record in the post-COVID era on Saturday and is now just a little over $2M from becoming only the second movie in the franchise to hit $1B worldwide.
China’s overall three-day weekend was a 65% increase on the last session with about $26.7M. It also helped that capacity restrictions were eased to 50% and that Friday included strong previews of controversial local war pic The Eight Hundred which continues sneaks during the next week before officially launching on August 21.
Sony’s Bad Boys For Life debuted to $3.2M in the Middle Kingdom. The movie, whose previous franchise installments did not release in China, remains the No. 1 film at the worldwide box office for 2020, with its global cume now $426.4M ($220.2M from offshore turnstiles).
IMAX is also a winner during this period with a global weekend of $3M, nearly double last weekend’s gross, and powered by Harry Potter in China and Inception with $640K from 181 IMAX screens in 27 markets. In total, WB’s 10th year anniversary release of Inception in 37 offshore markets generated $1.6M on 2,850 screens. The movie re-releases in the U.S. next weekend, followed by China on August 28 as a tee-up to Christopher Nolan’s Tenet which goes August 26 in some international markets and across Labor Day weekend domestically as well as in China.
Still, as we continue to note, it’s not all about China. In Korea, Deliver Us From Evil continued to deliver at No. 1 with $26M+ to date, and STX’s Greenland saw strong starts in South East Asia and the Nordics. Momentum is building.
Greenland opened at No. 1 in nine new international markets including Taiwan, Singapore, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Switzerland. France and Belgium also continued to play with No. 2 holdovers in Week 2 and Week 3 respectively. The estimated International weekend total is $2.82M from 1,063 locations for an overseas cume of $4.55M.
Taiwan bowed the Gerard Butler-starrer to $1M at 62 locations; 77% ahead of Angel Has Fallen and 174% ahead of Olympus Has Fallen. Singapore was also a No. 1 start with $327K from 45 locations.
In holds, Greenland added $920K from 527 France sites, down just 23% in the sophomore session for a local come of $2.5M behind local comedy Les Blagues De Toto. In France, Greenland is now running well above the Fallen series. Metropolitan Filmexport releases locally and is projecting a lifetime for Greenland in France to surpass that the entire Fallen franchise. Not bad when considering 50% capacity, 25% fewer screenings and a heatwave.
Butler sent a note to say, “It was extraordinary to see Greenland open at #1 in France last weekend generating such robust numbers. Now, with #1 openings in 9 new countries this weekend as cinema’s gradually and safely open across international markets, the timing was certainly right to bring this film to audiences hungry for new and exciting content. The strong international response has been a testament to our belief not only in the movie but in the enthusiasm and desire of audiences to immerse themselves in a theatrical experience during these challenging and unusual times. Greenland is a story of one family’s fight for survival in the face of extreme adversity and we are delighted that it’s receiving the platform it deserves as it expands around the world.”
Director Ric Roman Waugh added, “It’s so rewarding to see audiences connecting with Greenland’s relevant heart-filled story as they dive back into the big action-packed theatrical experience again.”
Elsewhere on the international front, Sony Pictures International Productions’ Spanish comedy Padre No Hay Más Que Uno 2 (Father There is Only One 2) continues its strong run as the top choice in Spain, down just 17% to add $1 in its third frame. The market cume has reached $8.4M to pass Bad Boys For Life as the 2nd biggest film of the year locally.
We’re not out of the woods yet, and particularly as pockets of Europe face renewed threats, but it remains encouraging to see business perking up. We’ll continue to update.
PREVIOUS, SATURDAY UPDATE: Muggles continued to flock to cinemas in China on Saturday to see Warner Bros’ 4K 3D restoration of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone. After setting a new $4.54M benchmark on Friday for single-day grosses since cinemas reopened there, the boy wizard upped the magic to $4.8M today per early estimates from Maoyan. That takes the cume on the re-release to $9.34M and bodes for a weekend in the $13M-$14M range. This would be the biggest Middle Kingdom debut frame of any film in the post-COVID era — not bad for a 19 year old movie.
As noted yesterday, capacity restrictions have been shifted from 30% to 50% in some areas and there are now over 8,000 locations reopened throughout the Middle Kingdom (see more below).
Sorcerer’s Stone (also known as Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone) has, through today, already topped its original release in China (RMB 56M/$6.77M at historic rates). It is also now about $6.5M from the $1B worldwide mark based on all releases of HP1 combined since 2001. Though local title The Eight Hundred, which was in previews on Friday — and has an encouraging 9.4 score on Maoyan and an 8.3 on Douban — is leading pre-sales for next week’s sneaks (ahead of the official launch on August 21), Sorcerer’s Stone is generating the next best advance ticket buying.
When the first Harry Potter movie crosses $1B global, it will become only the second film in the franchise to the milestone.
Overall, China was up just a touch on Saturday to $9.15M versus Friday’s $9.09M per Maoyan actuals.
Also increasing was Sony’s Bad Boys For Life which rode to another $1.19M on Saturday. The cume so far is $2.1M with a 5.7 on Douban and an 8.4 on Maoyan. The previous films in the series did not release in China.
Meanwhile, WB’s re-release of Interstellar in China has crossed $15M. WB is also reissuing Christopher Nolan’s Inception in 35 overseas markets this session and looking at a relaunch of $1.5M+. It goes to China on August 28, a week before the market gets Tenet.
Elsewhere, Deliver Us From Evil is still delivering in Korea where it leads the market and has a $24.1M gross through Saturday. Local comedy OK! Madam is currently running behind it with a $4.3M gross since releasing on Thursday.
We’ll have a further update on Sunday.
PREVIOUS, FRIDAY: Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone worked some magic in China on Friday with Warner Bros’ 3D reissue conjuring $4.6M. This is by far the biggesst single-day gross since cinemas resumed operations, overtaking the opening of WB’s earlier re-release of Chirstopher Nolan’s Interstellar by 66% (though that film bowed on a Sunday). Overall, China’s fourth Friday back to the movies is the biggest yet, crossing the RMB 60M mark to hit about $9.2M. This was aided by capacity restrictions being shifted from 30% to 50% in some areas. There are now over 8,000 locations reopened throughout the Middle Kingdom.
Harry, Ron and Hermione are not the only game in town, however, as local Chinese war epic The Eight Hundred began previews today, generating about $2.1M from roughly 6,000 screenings. The controversial title was originally scheduled to debut at the Shanghai Film Festival in 2019, but was abruptly yanked and never made its summer release date last year. No official reasons were given, but it’s believed that the movie was sending a political message that was not acceptable to key members of the Chinese military regarding revolutionary history. Edits were subsequently made and while there are no social or critical scores as yet, buzz is good.
This is the first Chinese movie fully shot with IMAX cameras and has a big IMAX component in China where it will also be in sneaks during the week running up to the official launch day of August 21. It will then go out via CMC Pictures in North America, Australia and New Zealand beginning August 28.
Turning back to the boy wizard, when the first Potter movie (also known as Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone) was released in the Middle Kingdom it made RMB 56M ($8M at current rates/$6.77M historic), a number it will handily pass this weekend. The movies increased in popularity over the course of the franchise and as the Chinese market grew. If Sorcerer’s Stone can get $15.8M to apparate during this run in the Middle Kingdom, it will become only the 2nd title in the series to cross $1B worldwide. That’s based on all releases of HP1 combined since 2001.
Also releasing in China this weekend, Sony’s Bad Boys For Life grossed $950K on Friday, landing in 3rd place. The previous movies in the series did not make it to the market so there’s no straight comp, but this one is carrying a solid 8.5 on Douban.
Interstellar for it’s part has grossed $14.7M so far in this China run, was the No. 1 movie during the midweeks and has passed $700M worldwide.
While Universal’s Dolittle has enjoyed a strong stint since getting to China on July 24 ($18M through Friday), some of the so-called ‘new’ Hollywood titles haven’t made a giant splash. This is to be expected as the market has only just come back online with stringent capacity and screening restrictions in place. Even if scores have been very positive (as in the case of Ford V Ferrari, for example), factors also impacting the return to cinemas include demographics (families are not rushing out with little kids), piracy and the event nature of some of the re-releases.
In the latter case, movies that demand the big screen experience have been the top choice: think Interstellar, Sam Mendes’ 1917 which won last weekend, and this Harry Potter which has been eventized in a 4K 3D restoration.
More updates to come through the weekend.