UPDATE, 5:20 PM PT: Depending on how we slice it, the international weekend was down about 13% across the Top 10 studio titles versus last weekend. Then again, it was up about 15% if we factor in big local movies from China and India. Regardless, The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies continued its assault on the offshore box office with a $ 105.5M take in its 2nd frame while the No. 2 (non-studio) title was China’s Gone With The Bullets at $ 36M, and the 3rd major player was Aamir Khan-starrer PK which opened in India and 21 other markets for a $ 25.6M cume. Among other solid performers, Penguins Of Madagascar was up over last frame with an added $ 16.5M, including from openings in Mexico and France, where, in the latter, a local movie about a deaf family is making a lot of noise.
New studio entry, Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb opened in 28 markets, two of them major, with $ 10.75. In both the UK and Germany, the film had stiff competition from The Hobbit, but also from Paddington which is providing a warm and fuzzy tinge to the box office this December for Studiocanal. That David Heyman-produced family film now has a $ 28.3M cume in the UK (and an estimated $ 60M worldwide before releasing in the U.S. in January) and its weekday numbers are expected to benefit from the holidays. Museum business is also expected to pick up during the period as the threequel continues to roll out in 23 more markets over that time. Elsewhere, Disney’s Big Hero 6 had a Baymax-sized bow in Japan where it was just 18% off the start of Frozen earlier this year. Also, Sony’s Annie which was one of the films that got an unwanted early release online as part of the hacking debacle, is said by Rentrak to have taken $ 1M in two offshore markets.
Turning back to The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies, Warner Bros today touted the film’s $ 353.63M cume after 12 days in release. In all markets, it has surpassed the openings of both previous films in Peter Jackson’s trilogy. On the comparable weekend last year, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug had earned $ 97.4M from 16,840 screens in 56 markets. This weekend’s Five Armies play was on 19,315 screens in 59 total territories and the international cume is now $ 265M. While Smaug was at $ 278.4M at this juncture in 2013, local currency fluctuations are important to bear in mind.
Looking again at local titles, also making Rentrak’s top international chart this frame was Korea’s Ode To My Father (aka International Market) which grossed $ 9.3M over the weekend for a $ 10.7M cume. That’s a particularly timely title given its subject matter — it’s set against the backdrop of the Korean War. Also in Korea, documentary sleeper My Love, Don’t Cross That River, added $ 6.3M for a $ 14M cume after several weeks in release. China’s Fleet Of Time is proving fleet of foot at the box office with a cume now situated at the $ 75M mark. In France, heartwarmer La Famille Bélier is targeting holiday legs with a $ 4.5M start. (More on the local titles above in the key market round-ups below the original post.)
Up next week: Disney’s Into The Woods starts its rollout with Korea and Russia opening on Christmas Eve; Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken bows in the UK on December 26, aka Boxing Day, which is also a holiday there. Tim Burton’s Big Eyes also goes out in the UK on the 26th as does Exodus: Gods And Kings and Annie brings the hard-knock life to a slew of new markets.
See below the original post for key market tidbits.
PREVIOUS, 12:12 PM PT:Highlights: The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies (WB) at top of the ranks with $ 105.5M — passes $ 350M worldwide; Gone With The Bullets cumes $ 48.5M in four China days; India’s PK (UTV) scores record North American bow; Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb (FOX) unearths $ 10.75M; Big Hero 6 (DIS) big in Japan at $ 5.3M; more…
On the march in a further 22 markets this frame, The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies grossed $ 105.5M from 19,315 screens in 59 total territories. The 12-day overseas cume is now $ 265M and the global haul is now $ 355.63M. IMAX screens have generated more than $ 15M to date.
A key bow this frame came in Korea with a No. 1 that outpaced local opener Ode To My Father, as well as documentary juggernaut My Love, Don’t Cross That River. The bow was worth $ 10.4M on 927 screens, besting the opening weekends of the previous Hobbit installments by 26% (An Unexpected Journey) and 50% (The Desolation Of Smaug).
Five Armies enlisted Spain for the biggest debut of 2014 at $ 6.3M on 733 screens and with 54% of the Top 5. Italy’s bow was $ 5.6M on 578 screens. The No. 1 start put it ahead of other openers Big Hero 6, Gone Girl and local holiday title Un Natale Stupefacente. Five Armies is 3% over the opening weekend of HAUJ and 19% ahead of HDOS.
The increasingly lucrative Malaysian market saw Bilbo, Thorin, Legolas & Co dominate the Top 5 with an 83% share. The gross was $ 3M including previews from 390 screens and outperforming HAUJ by 94% and HDOS by 42%. Taiwan also opened this frame with a No. 1 that was worth $ 2.75M from 196 screens. The results exceed HAUJ by 138% and HDOS by 57%.
In holdovers, HBOTFA dropped 29% in Germany which is still the biggest ex-U.S. market by far. The Orcs added $ 12.4M this frame on 1,442 screens for a cume of $ 37.7M, widely outpacing the debut of Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb (see below). The UK was also No. 1 again with an estimated gross of $ 8M on 1,490 screens. The cume there is $ 31.4M. France held at No. 1 ahead of new entries, the buzzed-about La Famille Belier, and Penguins Of Madagascar. The weekend brought $ 7.5M in treasure on 914 screens for a $ 24.85M chest. Russia is still No. 1 by a wide margin with a 71% share of the Top 5 and an estimated gross of $ 4.8M on 2,390 screens. The local tally is now $ 21.5M. Brazil and Sweden are still also No. 1 with $ 3.3M/$ 13.1M and $ 1.9M/$ 9M, respectively.
Mexico dropped to No. 2 behind the debut of Penguins Of Madagascar and added $ 2.7M from 1,831 screens. The cume is $ 10.9M. Japan grossed an estimated $ 1.3M on 640 screens, bringing the total to date to $ 5.3M. Australia opens next on December 26.
Moving on, China‘s highly-anticipated Gone With The Bullets released on December 18 despite some last minute changes by the censors. With a $ 36M weekend, the cume is now an estimated $ 48.5M. The Jiang Wen-directed action/comedy/drama is a sort of sequel to 2010’s Let The Bullets Fly, which made $ 117.5M in China and $ 140M worldwide. As of late November, Gone With The Bullets had already pre-sold about $ 20M worth of tickets. Sony Pictures Releasing International has rights to the film outside China.
In a strong weekend for local titles, India‘s PK, a fish-out-of-water comedy/drama featuring an alien who asks uncomfortable questions about people’s belief systems, opened to a fantastic $ 25.6M in 22 territories. We do not have an international market-by-market breakdown, however this is a record-setting bow for a Bollywood film in North America where the Aamir Khan-starrer earned an estimated $ 3.46M. If that number holds, it bests Khan’s own record holder Dhoom 3 which released in the same corridor last year to $ 3.44M.
Penguins Of Madagascar waddled into three new markets this frame earning a hot $ 16.5M for a cume of $ 135.6M. Mexico was worth $ 4.85M on 2,320 screens. France also opened well with $ 4.24M on 727 screens, behind The Hobbit and local winner La Famille Belier. In the holdover markets, after four weeks, Germany had a minimal drop of 29% earning $ 1.15M for a cume of $ 10.2M. The UK, in its 3rd weekend, dropped 31% earning $ 1.14M with its cume now at $ 6.53M. There are still 19 markets yet to open.
Big Hero 6 made its way to Japan this week, giving locals their first glimpse at Baymax and San Fransokyo. Titled Baymax locally, the film was the No. 1 Western movie in the frame with $ 5.3M (video game adaptation Yokai Watch looks to be No. 1). Big Hero 6 is the second biggest opening for a Disney Animation movie in Japan, coming in 18% behind Frozen which of course went on to earn a staggering $ 250M there. (Japan can often have multiples of 8-10). Big Hero 6’s $ 11.5M weekend take across 38 territories (42% of its international footprint) gives it an overseas total to date of $ 81.6M and a global cume of $ 272.04M. Besides Japan, Don Hall and Chris Williams’ movie opened in Italy ($ 1.4M) and Spain ($ 1.7M), as well as Portugal and Hong Kong this weekend and heading into the holidays. Next weekend Baymax and Hiro head to Brazil and Australia among others. Korea, Germany and the UK open in late January and a China date has been set for March 1.
New entry, the Shawn Levy-helmed Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb unearthed $ 10.75M in two major territories and 26 other smaller markets this frame. The UK earned $ 2.98M on 659 screens for the No. 3 slot behind Hobbit and Paddington. (With a large part of the movie set in London and the movie having been heavily promoted on holiday banners strung up and down Regent Street, that looks like a lower-than-expected number, but weekday numbers generally grow on family titles through the period and competition is fierce from that little Peruvian bear). Germany earned $ 2.15M at 611 dates for the No. 2 spot and Hong Kong was a No. 1 start with $ 1.54M. Over the festive period, the Ben Stiller comedy that features one of Robin Williams’ last performances will head into an additional 23 markets, including Mexico, Spain and Australia.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 added $ 9.3M from 82 territories this frame, taking its cume to $ 350.5M. The UK is still rocking Mockingjay as the top ex-U.S. market with $ 44.9M, followed by Germany at $ 35.2M and Australia with $ 26.5M.
Exodus: Gods And Kings parked its chariot in 11 new, mostly smaller, markets to conjure up $ 7.62M. The cume is now $ 61.9M. Mexico led the charge with $ 1M and now has a cume of $ 9.63M. In many markets, the Fox film is riding at No. 2 behind the Peter Jackson’s Armies.
Interstellar is still shining with an estimated $ 4.5M from 2,510 screens in 57 markets. The offshore cume is now $ 464M, still led by China where the movie has wrapped its run but took $ 122.6M in four weeks. Korea is in the runner-up position with $ 72.8M, and the UK is the 3rd biggest ex-U.S. market at $ 31.6M.
In its 4th frame in the UK, polite little Peruvian bear Paddington jammed his way to a further $ 3.9M, a slight 15% drop in a market that saw the continuation of Five Armies and the arrivals of Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb and Dumb And Dumber To. The cume is now $ 28.3M. With schools out for the holidays, business is expected to be brisk on weekdays (Friday was up 36% while Saturday was down 26%, says Studiocanal).
Universal brought Lloyd and Harry to the UK and Switzerland this weekend, adding $ 3.1M at 750 dates in a total five markets. The international cume on Dumb And Dumber To is $ 11.9M in Universal’s territories with folks Down Under to get Dumb-ed down on January 8 when the Farrelly brothers’ comedy travels to Australia and New Zealand. The UK bow this weekend resulted in $ 2.9M at 460 dates. Although that’s among the top openings in the market for directors Bobby and Peter, as well as one of Jim Carrey’s best debuts, the film placed No. 4 as it faced stiff competition from The Hobbit: Battle Of The Five Armies, Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb and stalwart ursine Paddington.
Those Horrible Bosses snatched a further $ 2.7M this frame from 1,945 screens in 49 markets. The international cume to date on the sequel is now $ 37.2M. Australia held with $ 988K in its 2nd frame for a cume of $ 3.8M. Warner Bros notes the holiday season (which also falls during Oz summer) is afoot with no other comedies on the horizon – then again, Warner’s own Hobbit plants its big feet into the market next week.
Fox’s Gone Girl finally found its last market — Italy — with $ 1.01M. The total weekend in 13 territories was $ 2.33M for an international cume of $ 184.7M.
Universal is releasing Legendary’s Seventh Son worldwide with openings in France and Lebanon this weekend tallying an estimated $ 1.2M. The Sergei Bodrov-directed fantasy adventure had a solid opening in France with $ 1.2M at 287 dates. No. 6 for the weekend, it was 3rd among new openers on its first day Wednesday. In Lebanon, Seventh Son had a No. 3 start with $ 48K at 19 dates. The international rollout continues over the next few months.
Ouija has hit the $ 25M mark internationally with an additional $ 1M at 450 dates in 10 territories this weekend. Peru and Bolivia bowed at No. 2 with $ 310K at 91 dates, and Brazil held at 150 locations with $ 384K for an 11-day total of $ 1.2M. Ouija’s next releases are Argentina and Chile on January 1.
In Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland, Universal’s romantic comedy Alles Ist Liebe had zero drop from last frame. That’s despite such big guns in the markets as Five Armies, Night At The Museum 3, Mockingjay and new animated entry Der Kleine Drache Kokosnuss. The Universal cume is now $ 3.8M.
The Imitation Game deciphered another $ 565K in the UK for a Studiocanal total of $ 20.8M to date. The weekend take was just a 33% drop, which is healthy for a movie in its 6th frame and with lots of competition in the market.
Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory Of Everything pulled in $ 280K at 360 dates in Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan this weekend for an early international total of $ 2.9M. Universal says Hong Kong is holding strong in its 3rd weekend, placing No. 5 with $ 106K. The 18-day total is $ 713K. Korea’s good opening last week helped push it to $ 1.8M over 11 days with an added $ 136K at 83 dates this frame. Taiwan added $ 39K at 19 dates for a good 18-day total of $ 364K. Eddie Redmayne’s buzzed-about lead performance next travels to Austria, Germany, Israel and German-speaking Switzerland on December 25.
KEY MARKET DETAILS
We learned last week that The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies has a China release set for January 23 and today it’s emerged that Big Hero 6 is going there on March 1. Given the Japanese elements in Big Hero 6, I’ll be curious to see how it does on the Mainland which still has a frosty relationship with the Land of the Rising Sun. In the meantime, China has packed the end of the year with local titles that will ensure Middle Kingdom domination of box office share for 2014. Nostalgia-tinged Fleet Of Time has been maintaining a steady run with a cume of $ 75M after this frame. The presumed box office smash Gone With The Bullets opened this week to $ 48.5M after its premiere was delayed when the censors balked at some of the content. The December 18 bow ultimately came to pass but it did not break records for the year which still belong to Breakup Buddies and The Monkey King. Director Jiang Wen scored his best opening day on Thursday with about $ 13M, including midnights the day before, per FilmBizAsia. Bullets is set to be released by Sony in worldwide markets, but the dates have not yet been announced. Also per FBA, Bona Film Group has shifted the release of Tsui Hark’s anticipated The Taking Of Tiger Mountain. Originally set for midnight on December 24, it will now release six hours earlier. Huayi’s romcom Love In The Cloud, another presumed winner, is going out on Christmas Eve.
Although it missed the No. 1 slot thanks to video game adaptation Yokai Watch, Disney’s Big Hero 6 bowed strong in Japan with $ 5.3M. That was 18% off of Frozen’s debut earlier this year but was still good enough to be the 2nd biggest start for a Disney Animation. Japan is a tough nut to crack for outside fare, but the multiples can often be as high as 10 so it’s expected that Big Hero 6 will have inflatable legs with the country all about playability. Earlier this week, the Japan Times praised Big Hero 6, saying that it is the rare Hollywood concoction that gets Japan. “For perhaps the first time in Hollywood history, the Japanese depicted here are not wearing glasses, they’re not short limbed and they don’t have an accent,” the paper noted. Producer Roy Conli told the outlet, “The whole movie is not just a tribute to Japan, but a love letter to the Pacific Rim.”
South Korean drama Ode To My Father (aka International Market) opened to a strong $ 9.3M this weekend. Directed by Yoon Je-kyoon, the movie was No. 2 behind The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies for the frame and its $ 10.4M. Ode To My Father begins amid the chaos of refugees fleeing the Korean War in December 1950. There, a young boy, Duk-soo, sees his fate change in the blink of an eye when he loses track of his younger sister and he leaves his father behind to find her. Settling in Busan, Duk-soo devotes himself to his remaining family, working all manner of odd jobs to support them. His dedication leads him first to the deadly coal mines of Germany, where he meets his first love, Youngja, and then to war-torn Vietnam in what the Korean Film Council calls a generational epic about one man’s personal sacrifices. Ode To My Father will run in the Berlin Film Festival’s Panorama section in February. Last week, it was documentary My Love, Don’t Cross That River which ruled the local box office, besting Hollywood titles like Interstellar and Exodus. This weekend, the story of the so-called 100-year-old love birds, added $ 6.3M for a $ 14M cume.
A new film by director Eric Lartigau has stirred some controversy while also being a crowd-pleaser. La Famille Bélier was released earlier this week by Mars Distribution on 492 screens and grossed an estimated 765K euros ($ 935K) on day one, placing it as the No. 9 start of the year for a French-language title. SND, which is selling internationally, has said it will expand the screen plays and is expecting an “end of year phenomenon.” The film has nevertheless come under some fire. It’s the story of a family in which the parents are deaf, but whose daughter is not; what’s more, she has an amazing singing voice and the opportunity to capitalize on that. The parental roles are filled by Karin Viard and François Damiens, both of whom use sign language in the film, but who are not afflicted in real life by hearing problems. An argument against has emerged as to why truly deaf actors were not cast. According to reports this week, some in the French deaf community are boycotting the film while others agree that the portrayals are spot-on. An editorial penned in the UK’s Guardian, by a journalist who was born deaf, calls the film, “less feelgood than feel bad, mad, and misrepresented once again.” I’ll keep an eye/ear on this one and report back — it’s particularly close to my heart since I lost all hearing in one of my ears over 20 years ago, diagnosed with “Sudden Deafness Syndrome” while in college.