Highlights: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (DIS) bests Iron Man 3 China bow with $39.2M; Frozen (DIS) ices competition in Japan with $75.1M total, studio passes $1B in global box office; Rio 2 (FOX) lifts to $55.5M cume on extra $22.2M; Noah (PAR) builds to $106.2M; Divergent (LGF/SUM/var) adds $10.9M in 44 markets; Spanish Affairs (UNI) is Spain’s top local-lingo pic ever…
3RD UPDATE, SUNDAY 3 PM PT: Led by Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this weekend was a big 34% boost on the same frame last year when G.I. Joe: Retaliation, The Croods and Chinese romantic comedy Finding Mr Right were the top three earners. This frame also repped a 19% jump on last weekend. There are no major new wide releases set for next week, although Divergent will continue its overseas rollout hitting Germany, Russia, France and Australia, while Rio 2 takes flight not only in the U.S., but notably lands in China, France and Mexico.
2ND UPDATE, SUNDAY 12:46 PM PT: Concurrent with its massive domestic opening (see Anita Busch’s box office report here), Captain America: The Winter Soldier continued its huge international run, and, with the help of Frozen, pushed Disney past the $1B global box office threshold. The estimated 2014 cume to date for the studio is $1,211M. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, The Winter Soldier added a massive $107.1M this weekend overseas for an international cume to date of $207.1M. That’s bigger than the entire $194M run of the first Captain America — inside of just 10 days. And, surprise, surprise, the bulk of this weekend’s box office came from China. The Winter Solder earned a huge $39.2M in the world’s second-biggest market, scoring the best Disney and Marvel opening weekend there — it was 16% above last year’s Iron Man 3. The China debut is also the 6th biggest industry all-time opening weekend, lending credence to the fact that having Hollywood stars promote movies there can be a big boon — Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L Jackson took a spin in China recently. Out of its China cume this weekend, The Winter Soldier took $4M from IMAX screens, and also set new global ($16.1M) and international ($6.5M) April debut records for IMAX. Behind China, Korea is running as the film’s 2nd biggest market with $19.8M to date. Korea is followed by the UK ($18M), Mexico ($16.2M) and France ($12.1M) in the Top five.
Disney’s Dave Hollis says the muscular performance of The Winter Soldier is a sort of “perfect storm” of the Marvel/Avengers universe. Everything has been so “painstakingly thought out as to how there would be overlapping” from The Avengers, and that film helped change “the material relevance of any character’s individual story. When something is as huge a social event as Avengers, the downstream effect is going to be so big on anything that comes after.” Also, he adds, they “made a really, really good movie. As much as it’s a sequel… it’s an extension of The Avengers storyline… If you’re a fan of superheroes, or action, or espionage thrillers, or great character dramas, or just the Marvel universe, the entry points for the consumer are so broad across the board that it allows numbers like this to be possible.” Overseas, particularly, there is “a recognition that the character is as much a piece of the fabric of The Avengers.” And, “the Americana-ness of a Captain America character is put aside for recognition that he’s a superhero, has a great story, and lives as an integral part of this universe.”
Speaking of Americana, The Winter Soldier also notably enlisted in Russia with a No. 1 debut of $7.4M. There, the film went out with a different title, namely The First Avenger: Another War. The moniker switch follows on from the original film which was called simply The First Avenger. Back in 2011 when Paramount released Captain America: The First Avenger, overseas markets were given the option of changing the title, ostensibly because some audiences might have found it a bit easier to swallow. At the time, Korea, Russia and Ukraine opted to kibosh the Captain America element. This time around, Disney’s overseas offices were relied upon to make the call as to what would be the best fit. In Korea, the first Captain America did $3.8M and then The Avengers earned $50M+ in 2012. The belief going into The Winter Soldier was that Korean auds were now more familiar with the Cap character and so the film went out with its full title in that market. In Russia, however, the local Disney experts went with the changed title, sans reference to America. Hollis tells me that Disney does a lot of local research everywhere and there’s “plenty of nuance that is really about being considerate of the consumer locally.” In Russia, the first Cap did a total $8.6M in 2011 and The Avengers $43.7M in 2012, suggesting there’s now a similar level of familiarity with the character as there is in Korea. Given the first film dropped the U.S. reference, it could be argued it was a natural progression to continue in the same vein. It may also have been wise to again drop the obvious title reference what with the currently strained relationship between Russia and the States. The Winter Soldier next heads to Brazil and Japan.
Also from Disney, Frozen reached $1,097M this weekend, passing The Dark Knight Rises to become the No. 9 highest-grossing movie of all time. It added $8.2M overseas from nine territories with Japan moving up to $75.1M and becoming the film’s 2nd biggest international market – after four weeks. Frozen‘s also become the biggest Disney/Pixar animated release ever across the Asia-Pacific/Russia region. In other Disney titles, Muppets Most Wanted added an estimated $1.9M in 10 territories, bringing its overseas cume to $10.1M. Need For Speed clocked another $4.7M for an overseas total of $143.7M. China is still its best market with $65.5M to date.
Fox‘s Rio 2 figures bring the international cume to $55.4M. The animated sequel opened two weeks ago in Russia and Ukraine, followed by Brazil last weekend where it had the biggest opening ever for an animated film. This weekend, it flew to an additional nine markets, earning $22.2M from 6,155 screens in 12 total markets. It was No. 1 in the UK with $4.68M at 1,295 locations. In Germany, Fox is claiming the No. 1 slot with $3.97M on 1,026 screens (including previews). As noted below, Paramount earlier said Noah would be No. 1 in that market with $3.3M, and it’s not backing down from what it believes the eventual outcome will be when final figures are tallied. Fox tells me that because business tends to be slower for family films on a Thursday, when movies open in Germany, and pick up over the weekend, they’re bullish on the Sunday actuals. I’m told there was significant uptick for Rio 2 on Saturday, and that’s expected to continue through today. It did drop to No. 2 in Brazil where Noah washed ashore in the top position. Among its other debut markets, Carlos Saldanha’s bird tale was No. 1 in Austria, Switzerland and Portugal.
Across other Fox titles, The Grand Budapest Hotel added $5.7M from 2,354 screens in 34 markets for a cume of $54.7M. There are still 21 markets to release including Australia and Italy next weekend. Mr Peabody & Sherman took $11M from 9,215 screens in 66 markets this weekend. It notably held in China with $6.5M for an overseas cume of $138.2M. George Clooney’s The Monuments Men has now cumed $76.4M, and The Book Thief held well in Italy, dropping just 2%, for an international total of $53.4M.
Warner Bros‘ The Lego Movie snapped into place in Australia, with an estimated $5.7M (which included sneaks) on 537 screens – a very big debut in the territory that has been a bit of a dud recently. (The Winter Soldier was just ahead of it with $6M.) Lego gets boasting rights in the market as the biggest opening weekend for an animated film during an Easter holiday corridor, surpassing titles like Ice Age 2, The Croods and How To Train Your Dragon. In total, Lego had an estimated weekend gross of $7.4M on 2,500 screens in 34 markets, taking the international cume to $160.1M. Lego still has Germany on April 10. 300: Rise Of An Empire grossed an estimated $3.3M its 5th weekend on 3,021 screens in 63 markets. The cume overseas is now $220.3M which $17.4M coming from Russian and $17.1M from Brazil.
*There will be no individual territory reports this week; they will resume next weekend.
UPDATE, SUNDAY 10 AM PT: Noah crossed the $100M mark this weekend, reeling in $45.6M from 7,050 locations in 45 markets. The estimated overseas cume to date for the Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises epic is $106.2M. There were 24 new territories including the big-ticket markets of the UK, Germany, Spain and Brazil. The full catch for the frame was an estimated $31.5M. Brazil was a No. 1 bow and the 4th biggest opening of all time with $8.5M at 528 dates. Paramount says that’s the best-ever debut for a non-sequel. Noah also anchored in Britain with a No. 2 opening and $4.2M in 452 cinemas — Divergent also hit the UK at No. 4 with $2.9M from 424 screens. Look for Rio 2 in its first frame or Captain America: The Winter Soldier in its 2nd frame to snag the No. 1 position there (details to come). In Germany, there’s a tight race between Noah and Rio 2. Paramount says Noah is 500K euros above the animated sequel going into Sunday and will end up at No. 1 with $3.3M from 502 sites. Spain was good for $3M at 363 dates and in Peru, Noah had the biggest opening of 2014 with $1.6M from 73 locations and 66% of the market for Paramount’s 2nd highest opening weekend of all time there, just behind World War Z. In other markets, Turkey delivered $1.5M from 240 locations and the biggest April opening ever; Argentina was also a No. 1 bow with $1.6M from 114 locations.
In holdovers, Noah summoned $6.2M from 946 cinemas for an 11-day cume of $26.6M in Russia, and Australia served up $2M from 264 sites for an 11-day cume of $7.5M. In Mexico and Korea, where the film originally debuted two weeks ago, it added $1.5M and $1.1M, respectively. The cumes are $13.3M in Mexico and $14.3M in Korea. The major markets to open next week are France and Italy, Japan follows on June 13.
Turning to Divergent, the franchise hopeful initially was released in 18 overseas markets two weeks ago, but this frame marks the first time we are getting numbers. It added $10.9M from 44 territories this weekend. The new openings were in a handful of European markets, plus Mexico. The running international total is $22M. Divergent faced stiff competition from Rio 2 and the continued run of The Winter Soldier as some territories head into school vacations. Breaking down Divergent‘s new bows, Benelux was a No. 1 start with $1.4M; Belgium posted $724K from 78 screens, twice as big as the original Twilight; and the Netherlands about tripled the Twilight take with $618K from 92 dates. Italy was a No. 2 debut with an estimated $1.4M from 484 screens behind The Winter Soldier. Mexico brought in an estimated $2.5M from 600 screens, it was also No. 2 behind Captain America. Divergent still has big territories to come including France, Germany and Russia on April 10, followed by Korea and Brazil over Easter weekend, among others going forward.
PREVIOUS, 8:08 AM PT: While we wait on official overseas weekend estimates for the likes of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Divergent and Noah, here’s a sunny spot of news for the Universal-distributed local-language Spanish Affairs. With today’s numbers added in, the studio says the romcom will become the highest-grossing Spanish-language movie of all time in the home market. The 24-day total is $34M (25M euros), also making it Universal’s biggest box office hit ever in the country. The previous record holder was Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Orphanage which earned 24.8M euros in 2007. However, Bayona’s 2012 The Impossible, which was in English, remains the top Spanish movie of all time at $50M+.
Spanish Affairs (aka Ocho Apellidos Vascos) is No. 1 in Spain for the fourth weekend in a row with an estimated take in the frame of $6.8M at 354 dates. Other openings this weekend included Noah, Need For Speed and Rio 2. The Emilio Martínez Lázaro-directed Spanish Affairs scored the biggest original Spanish comedy opening of all time on March 14 and was the biggest debut for all films this year in Spain. It’s the story of rigidly Andalusian stud Rafa who falls for a Basque woman and plays the part of a local to win her over. The fish-out-of-water comedy has cultural resonance given the historical strife between the Basque country and the rest of Spain. After decades of violence, the Basque separatist movement, ETA, announced a cessation of its armed activity in 2011, and now it seems enough time has passed for locals to be OK with laughing at a film that uses the cultural divide as a comedic device. What’s more, the film comes at a time of an increasing independence movement on the part of Catalonia (made up of the provinces of Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona). “It is very, very healthy for all of us that we are laughing at ourselves and especially that people in troubled areas of the country are able to laugh at themselves,” Spanish Film Academy president Enrique Gonzalez Macho told local television last week, according to Reuters.