UPDATE: After a couple of relatively slow sessions, China turned up the heat again this weekend as the five-day May Day/Labor Day holiday dawned. At least 10 new local titles released across Friday and Saturday with romance drama My Love in the lead through Sunday at an estimated RMB 424M ($65M). It was followed by Zhang Yimou’s better-reviewed Cliff Walkers with RMB 260M ($40M) and Leste Chen’s crime thriller Home Sweet Home RMB 126M ($19.5M). Those three films, plus others in the pack of new offerings from the Middle Kingdom, were the top grossers globally this session. Overall, IMAX had a solid China weekend with Cliff Walkers at $2.3M, and gaining $1M from Home Sweet Home.
The China May Day holiday this year sits in stark contrast to 2019 when Avengers: Endgame was in its second frame and maintained a massive lead over everything else in its wake. Indeed, though one may be prone to think that a China holiday equals an unofficial import blackout, May Day is not normally the case. Instead, sans Covid, this would normally be a time that studio movies are in rollout or holdover mode (think Endgame, plus 2018’s Rampage and Ready Player One, or 2017’s The Fate Of The Furious).
Typically in this comparable frame, new local movies sit side-by-side and jockey with studio fare. One person opines that given China has so many movies lined up, it could spell a turning point. Still, let’s be bullish: the next major title to hit China is Universal’s F9 on May 21, a date that gives it lots of vroom room in a market where it excels before a real unofficial blackout descends for the July 1st 100th anniversary of the founding of the communist party. Just ahead of F9 is Guy Ritchie’s Wrath Of Man on May 10 and starring China favorite Jason Statham.
Elsewhere, New Line/Warner Bros’ Mortal Kombat, which came in slightly behind Demon Slayer domestically, added $3M from 39 markets for an international box office cume of $32.8M and $67M global. Russia is leading MK play with $11M, followed by Australia ($5.2M), Mexico ($1.7M), Indonesia ($1.4M) and Spain ($1.3M). Still to come are the UK on May 17, Brazil on May 20 and Japan on June 18. (Demon Slayer for its part has now grossed over $460M worldwide as it continues its dominance as the No. 1 release of 2020.)
And, as Warner/Legendary’s Godzilla Vs Kong starts to wind down in some markets, it will be getting a release in the UK on May 17. Further dates are to be confirmed as Europe continues to open up. The current offshore cume is $325.1M (including $185.5M from China) for $415.4M global.
In local-language play, Sony Pictures International Productions had three titles in various stages of play overseas. In Korea, romantic drama Waiting For Rain debuted No. 1 with $1.5M. In Russia, the Timur Bekmambetov co-directed war drama Devyataev (aka V2 Escape From Hell) launched No. 2 with $1.1M, landing under Guy Ritchie’s Wrath Of Man (the latter film also bowed in Australia; we are awaiting figures which will likely be rolled up into next weekend’s wider grosses). Devyataev is based on the true story of a Soviet pilot during WWII who escapes from a Nazi concentration camp by hijacking a secret German aircraft. And Taiwanese hit Man In Love again held the No. 1 spot in the market. With a cume of $13.3M, it is now Taiwan‘s 6th highest grossing local-language release of all time.
Warner Bros’ Rurouni Kenshin The Final added $3.7M on 480 screens to bring the Japan total to 1.6B yen ($14.5M). Unfortunately, the market is suffering some closures which is denting the typically robust Golden Week period.
MISC UPDATED CUMES
The Unholy (SNY): $2.1M intl weekend (14 markets); $7.9M intl cume/$21M global
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (SNY): $700K intl weekend (2 markets); $17.4M intl cume