UPDATE, writethru: James Cameron’s Avatar held the top spot at the global and international box office this weekend with $14.1M in China for the Friday-Sunday frame. The 2009 sci-fi epic re-released in the Middle Kingdom last weekend — when it reclaimed the title of all-time highest-grossing movie worldwide from Avengers: Endgame — and now counts an overseas cume of $2,073.2M for $2,833.7M global (all releases included).
Avatar remained at No. 1 in China this session, dropping just 33%, and has grossed $44M across two weekends. The film is now the market’s biggest re-release of the Covid era, well above Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone whose 3D version came out last August and resulted in an added $30M. Avatar will cross $50M in China during this run which will bring its total there to more than $250M; the movie leads pre-sales through Wednesday next week and Maoyan is predicting a finish around $57M. The current release has already topped Disney’s Mulan ($40.7M) and Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman 1984 ($25.5M), which were both new releases in the market during Covid.
In IMAX, Avatar grossed another $4.1M (30% of the nationwide weekend on just 1% of screens) to take the estimated reissue cume to date to $13.1M. In total, IMAX’s global Avatar gross is now $256M, the only film in the company’s history to exceed $250M.
Avatar’s performance in China — which has topped Lunar New Year holdovers Hi, Mom (RMB 5.32B/$818M cume) and Detective Chinatown 3 (RMB 4.5B/$692M cume) the past two sessions — bodes well for the upcoming sequels, but it’s not necessarily a slam-dunk for new Hollywood movies that are prepping for release. We’ve heard positive buzz towards Godzilla Vs Kong next weekend, though pre-sales are not being reported by Maoyan in China. Communist Party mouthpiece The Global Times posted a story on Thursday that said, “Hollywood tried to use the classic blockbuster Avatar to recapture the hearts of Chinese audiences. However, Hollywood studios have not realized that their traditional marketing plans in China can no longer stir up interest in their films and that it is time to make an adjustment by localizing their marketing.” Still, Hollywood movies get very little advance notice of release dates in the current China configuration, and the market, like the rest of the world, needs all the product it can get. Nevertheless, the piece, which sources have cautioned is a China perspective, warned that Avatar’s “nostalgic sentiment that got Chinese audiences in theaters will not last long.”
The Global Times did praise marketing for Raya And The Last Dragon, noting Disney had worked with vloggers on Bilibili for interviews that enabled audiences to have a better grip on the film.
Raya is nevertheless at a low running cume of $17.4M in China. The good news is it led a blessedly reopened Los Angeles (and thus all of domestic) this weekend. Overseas it added $8M from 29 markets. The offshore total is now $47.8M for $71.2M global.
This weekend was better for Raya in a number of hubs including Singapore (+30%), Spain (+23%) and Australia (+1%). Elsewhere it posted strong holds in New Zealand (-10%), Hong Kong (-16%), Vietnam (-26%), Japan (-30%), Korea (-35%), UAE (-37%), China (-38%) and Russia (-40%). Overall, the markets that were also open last weekend dropped by just -31% combined.
Strong word of mouth and a lack of competition are helping Raya with continued No. 1s in Spain, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Trinidad and Uruguay. The Top 5 markets on Raya are China ($17.4M), Russia ($9.1M), Australia ($3.8M), Korea ($2.3M) and Japan ($2.1M). European majors are still to come pending reopenings.
Japanese hit Shin Evangelion grossed 679.4M yen ($6.25M) in its second weekend, lifting the cume to 4.9B yen ($45.4M). It is the highest grossing movie of the year so far in Japan and is expected to pass 5B yen today. In IMAX, it added $1M for a local cume of $5.1M to make it the 4th biggest Japanese title ever in the format.
Warner Bros’ Tom & Jerry was up next with $4M from 40 offshore markets to bring the international running cume to $43.5M, and the global total to $77.2M. Japan was a new start with $1.7M to rank No. 3 behind local titles and land 200% ahead of Sonic and 286% above Trolls World Tour. Saudi Arabia also opened this weekend to $804K, ranking No. 2 and coming in +349% ahead of Scoob!. Spain, which is currently the only European major that is operating, will release Tom & Jerry this coming weekend.
Universal’s Bob Odenkirk-starrer Nobody began its international rollout with $2.64M from four markets including a No. 3 start in Russia/CIS. The $1.25M debut at 1,042 locations was the best bow for an action title since Tenet and despite Kazakhstan going into lockdown which impacted 61 sites. The Middle East (including Saudi Arabia) also performed well with $976K from 65 locations. In total, the opening weekend is double the original John Wick. Future releases are spread throughout April, May and June.
Fresh off of six Oscar nominations, A24’s Minari continues to lead the Korea box office, adding $1.1M this weekend for a $5.6M local cume.
The coming weekend sees Legendary/WB’s Godzilla Vs Kong release in China, Russia, Korea, Spain, Australia and much of South East Asia.
MISC UPDATED CUMES
The Little Things (WB): $583K (24 markets); $13.8M intl cume/$28.5M global
The Croods: A New Age (UNI): $316K intl weekend (17 markets); $104.8M intl cume/$160M global
Judas And The Black Messiah (WB): $100K intl weekend (13 markets); $450K intl cume/$5.5M global
Wonder Woman 1984 (WB): $119.5M intl cume/$165M global