MONDAY UPDATE, writethru after Sunday 12:26PM post: The international box office continues to provide welcome surprises during the pandemic era. Where movie theaters are open and people feel safe, they turn up for new or enduringly exciting product that’s on offer.
To wit: Japan’s Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train has perhaps become the story of the year. A runaway success across this period, and in its 9th weekend, it is now estimated to have crossed at least $310M worldwide (largely from the home market, but also including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam). This makes it the No. 3 movie of 2020 overseas, behind The Eight Hundred ($474M in China) and My People, My Homeland ($431M in China) as it overtakes Tenet ($303.5M).
The movie is days away from becoming the top-grossing film of all time in Japan, overtaking Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 Spirited Away. Think about that for a minute: It has taken 19 years to reach this level, and it was done during a pandemic.
In Japan, Demon Slayer has grossed a confirmed 30.3B yen ($291.5M) through Sunday, putting it 500M yen below Spirited Away and making it only the second movie ever to cross 30B yen in the market. Admissions through 59 days total 22,539,385 with giveaways boosting repeat viewings. MX4D and 4DX versions will be on offer in 82 cinemas from December 26, with 300,000 special edition key chains going to moviegoers, Toho/Aniplex said today.
Elsewhere, there was activity in China. Local title Bath Buddy was the leader with $28.7M this weekend (despite claims of copyright violation against China’s Wanda Media, which were lodged on Friday by Korea’s MoonWatcher, the maker of Korean webcomic God Of Bath). DreamWorks Animation/Universal’s The Croods: A New Age had a great -45% hold. The cume after three weeks is $46M, overtaking Mulan to become the 2nd biggest imported title of 2020 in China.
Overall, Croods 2 grossed an estimated $8.4M in 12 overseas markets this session (-45%). Mexico opened at No. 1 with $927K at 843 locations. This is the biggest launch since cinemas resumed operations. The offshore total is $52.1M and global is now $76.3M. DWA/Uni’s Trolls World Tour for its part passed $50M worldwide this frame. From Blumhouse and Uni, Freaky has grossed $6M in 32 international markets with many major releases still TBC given current cinema closures; The Invisible Man has grossed $3.5M in two weeks in China for an overseas cume of $72.4M and 142.8M global.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros’ Tenet is now at $303.5M internationally and $361.3M global. The studio’s The Witches has an offshore cume of $22M. It debuted at No. 1 in Australia this session, taking $1.2M and coming in on par with The Addams Family and ahead of Goosebumps 2, Nutcracker and The House With A Clock In Its Walls. WB’s Superintelligence is at $2.2M in 11 offshore markets.
Monster Hunter — which ran into censorship issues in China last weekend and was pulled from cinemas there — was released by Sony in another handful of markets this session. It added $1.3M to the Sony cume and has now taken $4.8M before domestic’s upcoming bow. Taiwan held the No. 1 spot in its sophomore session to gross $610K for a market cume of $2.6M. Saudi Arabia also remained No. 1 in its second frame with $310K, bringing the local total to $1M. Offshore markets still to come include Mexico, Australia, Brazil, Korea, Russia, Germany, UK, France, Italy and Japan through the first few months of 2021.
This week sees international rollout begin on Warner Bros/DC’s Wonder Woman 1984, before it goes day-and-date domestically in theaters and on HBO Max December 25. Previews start on Thursday in China where the Gal Gadot-starrer is leading pre-sales that day. Friday pre-sales, conversely, are currently led by local actioner The Rescue.