UPDATE, writethru: It was a busy weekend at global turnstiles, with a particularly noisy start for Paramount’s A Quiet Place Part II. The John Krasinski-helmed sequel came out shouting with a $22M overseas debut in just 12 markets for a worldwide opening of $70.4M including the three-day $48.4M North American haul (if we add in domestic projections for Memorial Day Monday, that lifts to $58.5M domestic and $80.5M global, but does not include the overseas Monday).
AQP2 did better than expected in China with a $15M FSS, and that’s despite a super short lead time as its date there was only made official on Tuesday. The film has a 7.8 on Maoyan and a 7 on Douban, the latter of which is higher than AQP1‘s 6.3. Notably, if we back out the China start this weekend, AQP2 debuted 66% ahead of the original 2018 film (including previews). While the international box office had already begun to show strong signs of recovery, and as summer kicked off in some markets amid the early release of Universal’s F9 last session, it’s also refreshing to have domestic pump up those global numbers.
Originally, our sources were being conservative with AQP2 estimates of $10M-$15M for the full offshore weekend given lingering uncertainties in some markets — and in today’s world, it’s wise to remain prudent. Even Australia, which had been doing great business of late, shuttered cinemas in Victoria just shy of the weekend; the area reps 30% of the country’s box office. Still, AQP2 opened there at No. 1, grossing an excellent $4M including previews at 304 locations and 29% ahead of the original.
In China, Paramount was fully armed, energizing a major word of mouth push with fans and influencers, and organizing screenings in eight cities which culminated in a Beijing Premiere on Thursday (see more below).
Also new was Disney’s Cruella with $16.1M in 29 material markets, or about 60% of the offshore footprint. That’s good for a global opening of $37.4M through Sunday. The film also premiered on Disney+ for an additional fee in markets where the service is available. The overseas weekend take is under the $20M projections we were hearing ahead of the debut — likely impacted by recent closures in Australia and Japan — although critical and social sentiment is encouraging.
Last weekend’s champ, F9, retained the No. 1 spot in all eight markets where it has opened, adding $31M and crossing $200M internationally — despite the 81% drop, and that’s something to celebrate. Behind Godzilla Vs Kong, F9 has become only the second Hollywood film to the milestone this year. The estimated cume through Sunday is $229M with just those eight markets in play. The Vin Diesel-starrer took an 85% tumble in China in the sophomore frame, but held No. 1 and held off newcomers, to cume $185.3M locally, running ahead of Hobbs & Shaw at the comparable point in release. Korea continues to show strength with F9 at $15.2M, on par with Furious 7.
New Line/Warner Bros’ The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It launched in two markets with a strong $3.9M ahead of much wider release next session.
Meanwhile, Demon Slayer – Kimetsu No Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train is nearing $500M worldwide, and may indeed have crossed the mark this weekend. The estimated global total we’ve heard is $494.5M (updated figures to come). The Japanese sensation debuted in the UK this frame via Sony and grossed $1M while also lifting its Russia cume to $1.4M.
Breakdowns on the films above and more have been updated below.
A QUIET PLACE PART II
Paramount’s anticipated sequel made itself heard loud and clear overseas this session, debuting to a better than expected $22M in just 12 markets. This represents 30% of the international footprint and the bow is on par with the previous 2018 hit. China was good for $15M from 10,212 locations, almost even with the original. The other markets including Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Ukraine grossed $7.1M (with paid previews). That cume is 66% above A Quiet Place.
Australia, where cinemas were closed in Victoria, did an impressive $4M including previews at 304 locations. That’s 29% above the original, despite 30% of the market being shuttered. Indonesia’s No. 1 start was a strong $1.5M from 323 locations; New Zealand also bowed tops with $790K including previews at 90 locations and Ukraine was another No. 1 with $315K including previews at 190 locations. In IMAX, AQP2 grossed $1M.
Russia and the UK go next weekend (in the UK on Sunday, Vue hosted a special double bill of A Quiet Place and A Quiet Place Part II to amp up excitement), followed by another 51 markets which roll out through June and July; the film should act as genre counterprogramming versus the Euro Cup football tournament in some areas.
The original film did over $34M (RMB 221M) in China (opening against the hold of Avengers: Infinity War). Similarly, the sequel had some stiff competition this weekend with F9 still in play and Stand By Me Doraemon 2 joining the roster. The Emily Blunt-starrer held its own, however, in a fairly tight race for 2nd place with Doraemon just edging it. Maoyan is currently predicting an RMB 205M finish for AQP2.
The timing of the greenlight from local authorities gave Paramount just a small window to get the word out, but the studio was quick on the draw, making a major word of mouth push with fans and influencers, screenings in eight cities and a Beijing premiere on Thursday. Local press praised the advance IMAX screenings held in Beijing on Thursday, with China.org saying they showed “that the unspeakable terror can be magnified and extremely immersive and breathtaking, with the audience gasping in their seats.”
MTIME, Maoyan Movie – Kanpian, CCTV6 China Movie, Movie View, Youku, Kuaishou Big Star, IMAX and IQIYI Movie Fantasy all participated in a series of virtual press days with Krasinski, Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe and Djimon Hounsou.
The digital campaign was fan-focused with Krasinski and Blunt answering questions, supported with a series of game-ified assets to use across platforms. Social influencers from major platforms, including Weibo, WeChat, Toutiao, Douyin, Kuaishou and Bilibili supported the release with series of content including word of mouth and reaction videos.
In Australia, which had bounced back strongly before the recent closures that include Melbourne, media leaned into broad cultural events including the Eurovision Song Contest, sponsorship of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 launch, 3D Audio with Spotify and takeovers across TikTok, news and entertainment digital channels. A screening event for press, influencers and fans was held on May 19 with a live virtual post-screening Q&A with Krasinski streamed to Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide.
Virtual press days with the cast delivered strong TV coverage running across Channel 9, Pedestrian.TV, leading morning show Sunrise, and a Blunt appearance on The Project. The digital campaign includes a Twitch integration, tapping into the platform’s most popular thriller/horror game, Dead By Daylight. Loserfruit, Australia’s biggest female streamer, has been challenged to play the game in silence on a two-hour livestream supported across Twitch.
Disney’s live-action origins story opened to $16.1M in 29 material markets, taking No. 1s in many with encouraging reviews and social sentiment. Markets are open to varying degrees and not all exhibitors are currently operating. Capacity restrictions are also in place in most areas, but as with domestic, there is limited family competition ahead. The global bow was $37.4M including the FSS in North America. With Memorial Day Monday factored in, the start was $42.6M worldwide.
Cruella started its overseas tour Wednesday in Italy, Switzerland and Indonesia and added the UK, Spain, Australia, Japan, Korea, Brazil and Mexico through Friday. In total, covering about 60% of the international footprint, the film also played on Disney+ Premier Access for an additional fee in territories where the service is available. Notably not included this session were China, Russia and France. France is a particular case as its media chronology laws do not allow for a simultaneous streaming release, so it will be a purely theatrical play and Disney is waiting until the market’s capacity restrictions move from 35% to 65% in mid-June. China, meanwhile, late last week gave Cruella a June 6 opening (which is a Sunday).
Pre-weekend estimates put Cruella at a $20M offshore start, though it came in lower with impact from Australia and Japan closures (as well as potentially its availability in homes).
Mexico, which is about 78% operational (and has a capacity cap of 40%), led play with a No. 1 of $2.6M and a 64% market share. This was the second biggest debut since theaters reopened, behind Godzilla Vs Kong. In Korea, Cruella was No. 2 behind F9. The $2.5M start is 114% ahead of Raya And The Last Dragon and 98% ahead of Onward, which Disney is using as comps since they both released during the pandemic. Social scores are strong (Naver 9.56/CGV 97%).
The UK came in at No. 3 with $2.2M. However, Monday is a public holiday so Cruella is opening into a four-day weekend and a week of school holidays. The market is around 70% open with the Republic of Ireland still closed until June 7. There are 50% capacity restrictions.
Australia bowed Cruella at No. 2 with $1.3M, trailing A Quiet Place 2. The opening is 2% ahead of Raya. Spain grossed $900K at No. 1 with an estimated 40% market share. Social scores are positive with 3.4 on Sensacine. Other markets where Cruella was No. 1 include Italy, Brazil, Finland, Kuwait, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Argentina, Panama, Venezuela, Paraguay, Trinidad, Ecuador, Bolivia and Colombia.
Russia and Netherlands open this coming week along with China on Sunday and France goes June 23.
In terms of international promotions, there were photo op standees for special events and theater lobbies, and costume replicas for display in theaters and malls in several markets including the UK, Spain and Japan.
In Mexico City, there was exclusive space in the El Palacio de Hierro department store featuring outfits inspired by Cruella’s style along with film stills and Thom Botwood sketches. Dis had an exclusive partnership with Westfield UK which kicked off on May 17 to run until June 27, featuring Cruella in a center takeover, with a digital campaign that invited shoppers to join a social challenge by posting their own #InnerDeVil with a bespoke black and white Cruella filter. Also in the UK, signature graffiti was projected onto the Odeon building in Leicester Square on opening day, and high impact panels on London’s Cromination/Cromwell road feature Cruella looks and quotes from May 21-31. During opening week in Italy, Cruella and her iconic phrases were projected on the Arco di Porta Ticinese building in Milan.
Japan’s Ko Shibasaki sang Florence + the Machine’s “Call Me Cruella” in Japanese as an ECV in the local version of the film. Italian rock band Maneskin, which recently won Eurovision, lent their voices for a dubbing cameo in the Italian version of the film.
A series of inspired-by art in various formats was created around the world and will be amplified on social media, and a group of female artists created custom art using different mediums that rolled out leading up to Cruella’s release in Korea, the UK, Germany and Japan.
THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT
The latest in New Line/Warner Bros hit horror series began offshore rollout in two markets this weekend, the UK and Egypt, and uncovered a strong $3.9M. The James Wan-helmed return of paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren scared up a terrific $3.8M on 975 UK screens since opening on Wednesday and ranked No. 1 across that frame. Based on the FSS weekend, results are 24% ahead of Annabelle Comes Home. The film goes much wider next weekend, adding 45 markets including Italy, Spain, Australia, Korea, Brazil and Mexico.
After a pandemic-era record-breaking start last weekend, Universal’s F9 added $31M this session. That’s an 81% drop, although the film maintained No. 1s in all eight markets where it’s in play. Fueled by the early overseas performance, F9 has raced past the $200M international box office mark, grossing an estimated $229M to date. Despite being dinged by poor word of mouth after a muscular start in China, F9 has now grossed $185.3M there, running above Hobbs & Shaw at the same point of release and holding off new Middle Kingdom additions Stand By Me Doraemon 2 and A Quiet Place Part II. In IMAX, F9 added $2.6M this weekend for a $19.2M cume (including $16.5M just from China).
Behind China, Korea — which has not typically been a big Fast Saga market — has shown rebound strength with F9 grossing $15.2M to date after a 42% drop from opening. Russia is the next biggest hub at $13.3M (-59%), followed by Saudi Arabia ($5.5M cume/-46%) and UAE ($4.26M/-62%). The next international markets begin rollout in mid- and late-June.
PETER RABBIT 2: THE RUNAWAY
In 11 markets this session, Sony’s sequel put another $4.6M in the basket to bring the offshore total to $36.8M before releases in such major markets as China, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Brazil. The bunnies were hopping again in the UK this weekend after leading the market upon cinema reopenings May 17. There, the current frame was good for $3.2M to lift the market total to $10.8M. With midterm holidays starting Monday and great word of mouth, the film is well-positioned for a summer run.
MISC UPDATED CUMES/NOTABLE
Wrath Of Man (MIR): $3M intl weekend (30 markets); $57.7M intl cume/$80.5M global
Spiral (LGF): $1.23M intl weekend (38 markets); $9M intl cume/$29.4M global
Godzilla Vs Kong (WB): $854K intl weekend (48 markets); $337.6M intl cume/$435.1M global
Those Who Wish Me Dead (WB): $800K intl weekend (40 markets); $9M intl cume/$15.4M global
The Unholy (SNY): $780K intl weekend (26 markets); $15.3M intl cume/$30.6M global
Mortal Kombat (WB): $600K intl weekend (44 markets); $39.5M intl cume/$81.1M global