International Box Office: ‘#Alive’ Tops $10M In Korea; ‘Onward’ Leads Soft UK Reopening


Korean hit #Alive kicked up another $2.2M this weekend, holding well throughout the mid-weeks, but with an overall 63% Friday-Saturday-Sunday dip from the comparable weekend days last session. The timely thriller that’s set against the backdrop of a city in lockdown due to a virus has now grossed $11M. It’s a continued indication that moviegoers want something new, and in cases of a strong local industry, they’re also enjoying homegrown fare. Still, not much is going to rock the international box office until Hollywood starts releasing fresh titles.

A question has been raised as to whether the studios could release big new movies overseas without the biggest domestic cities given the situation in the U.S. is still dire. While international makes up the lion’s share of receipts (73% in 2019), a finance source explains that an event picture generally goes out on more than 30,000 screens worldwide — those screens are hardly available at present. Also, since the major studios’ long-term international television output deals are contingent on a domestic release of at least 1,000 theaters, it makes the economics tricky. Then, of course, there are concerns about piracy.

There is demand from audiences in markets that have opened, but the major exhibition chains are in most cases waiting it out. And with no clear picture from China, despite the Shanghai International Film Festival expected to go ahead later this month, it’s still a fluid situation.

So for now, markets are making do with what is available to them, be they re-releases of Hollywood library titles, or new and repeat local films. Aside from the continued good news out of Korea, France has jumped back into moviegoing with both feet, though ticket sales were slightly down this weekend.

The UK, Belgium, Turkey and Ukraine all began their reopening process in the past week. However, the UK is taking it one small step at a time with what we understand are only about 9% of cinemas in operation, and with box office led by Disney/Pixar’s Onward at $27K from 45 sites.

Last year in the comparable session, Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: Far From Home went full swing after a three-market release the previous weekend. Its overseas take rose to $395M in 66 hubs. Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4 added $43.1M in 45 markets, and Illumination/Universal’s The Secret Life Of Pets 2 lapped up another $22.4M in 54.

Here’s a snapshot of what went down in select markets over the past weekend:
KOREA – Still led by #Alive, Korea was nevertheless down 59% across the Top 10 titles which grossed a combined $3.4M. Through Sunday, #Alive has amassed $10.9M from just two frames. The rest of the Top 10 includes Sony’s Innocence with $5.9M after four weekends and Disney/Pixar’s Onward with $2.5M across three sessions. New films included Fedor Bondarchuk’s Invasion (aka Attraction 2) with $128K including previews. There are about 1,500 cinemas open in the market which is down 89% versus the same frame in 2019.

FRANCE – In the second weekend with almost all cinemas open, France saw a slight 7% dip in ticket sales for the Wed-Sun frame (weather and few new offerings likely the culprit). The Top 10 titles sold 425K admissions, another session at around the $4M mark. Memento’s La Bonne Epouse was again No. 1 with more than 99K tickets sold, followed by Les Parfums, a comedy starring Emmanuelle Devos, with 89K from 561 screens. Universal’s The Hunt had a good hold, off 10% for a $280K cume to date. The studio also released Irresistible in its first offshore market with $50K from a limited art house run of 96 screens. The rest of the chart is populated by re-issues and local pics with the market off 77% from last year.

NETHERLANDS – Local family pic Pirates Down The Street made its debut in the market this session, leading with a little over $196K from 121 sites. Orlando Bloom-starrer The Outpost was also new, landing in 3rd with $148K from 87. Russian animation The Big Trip slid into 2nd after leading the last session; the cume is now $399K. In total, the Top 10 was up a very strong 89% with $1.117M in the frame.

GERMANY – With 360 sites open, accounting for 34% of the total market, Germany welcomed three new pictures at the top of the chart, pushing Warner Bros’ local hit Nightlife down to No. 5 for the first time as it had recently been leading all play. That film has cumed $11.1M to date. Above it this session, new animated family film Meine Freundin Conni was tops with $283K from 340 locations. Conni was followed by Warner’s local teen comedy Takeover with $188K from 288 and by Christian Petzold’s Berlin prizewinner Undine at $139K from 120. Play was off 53% versus last year while the Top 10 did $1.04M, a great 212% boost after several weeks of a downward trend.

AUSTRALIA – There are about 190 locations open in Oz with the Top 10 accumulating $1.01M in the session, another massive jump of 477% versus last wekend. The Personal History Of David Copperfield came in at No. 1 for Roadshow with $286K (including previews) from 186 locations. That’s more than all the Top 10 titles made last weekend combined. In 2nd place is Universal/Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man with an added $149K from 184 sites (a 237% bump from the previous frame). The rest of the Top 10 is similar to last weekend. Studiocanal this week confirmed that thriller Follow Me will open in Oz on July 16 while its Unhinged has moved off that date and is currently set on July 30.

JAPAN – The Top 10 in Japan did a combined $978K with about 350 cinemas open, and with capacity restrictions. Off 72% from the same frame last year, the market was also down this session versus last, by about 35% after a series of upticks and flat play in the past few weekends. Universal’s Doolittle was No. 1 again for the 3rd weekend in a row, having taken $4M to date. Paramount’s Sonic The Hedgehog, which was new last session, landed 2nd and has grossed $1.1M so far. Sony’s Little Women after its 4th weekend has now grossed $2.4M. The remainder of the chart is largely comprised of re-issued Disney titles.

HONG KONG – Amid ongoing political turmoil with China, HK’s box office dipped by 23% across the Top 10, landing at $958K. Local mystery/romance Beyond The Dream was No. 1 with $303K from 59 sites, followed by last week’s leader Legally Declared Dead at $716K after two frames and Onward now with $1.03M from three weekends. Universal’s The High Note held well in its sophomore session with $200K to date. The market overall was down 75% versus the same frame last year.

SPAIN – There are just under 40% of cinemas operating in Spain which recently saw about 200K people return to lockdown in Catalonia. The slow rollout of movie theaters continues, but the market is still massively off last year at -94%. Still, there was a nice 65% hike to $472K across the Top 10 versus the previous weekend. Hong Sung-ho’s animated feature Red Shoes And The Seven Dwarfs was the top movie at $119K from 198 locations. New local comedy/drama La Lista came in 2nd with $65K from about 215 and Onward was in 3rd, dipping just 1% from last weekend and now having grossed $2.24M. The Invisible Man and The High Note both had solid holds, and have taken in $2.7M and $108K, respectively (the latter after just two sessions).

TAIWAN – Local comedy Leaving Virginia was the top taker at $179K from 89 sites. Disney’s Onward is in the Top 5 again with a local cume of $1.7M and Legally Declared Dead was also a new entry. Overall, the Top 10 did $430K, a dip of 12% versus the previous session.

NEW ZEALAND – The little market that could keeps chugging along with another 25% increase to $361K across the Top 10 films. COVID restrictions have been lifted in the country where Universal’s Trolls World Tour made its debut at $215K from about 100 sites. School vacations are starting up in New Zealand and there is not expected to be much family competition ahead. Uni’s The High Note was also new with $46K from 88 locations. Love Sarah moved to No. 2 in the 3rd session for a $344K cume to date.

MALAYSIA – New to our coverage this weekend is Malaysia with $161K from the Top 10 and led by Japan’s Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna which has recently been doing solid business in Asia. We’ll look more closely at Malaysia in the coming weeks.

UK – Also new in this report is the UK which got the green light to open from July 4, however the major chains are in a holding pattern and only 50 locations are operating (about 9% of the market). Onward was the top title at $27K from about 45 sites. The rest of the chart is made up of other re-issues including Trolls World Tour, Bad Boys For Life, The Greatest Showman and the 30th anniversary edition of Dirty Dancing. In total, the UK did $160K from the Top 10.

ITALY – Still moving slowly, Italy only has about 35 sites in operation. The Top 10 amassed $80K, essentially flat with last weekend. Play was led by last week’s No. 2 movie, local drama Bad Tales at $12K from 20+ screens. International Oscar nominee Les Misérables dropped to the 2nd spot and has grossed $80K to date. A re-issue of Oscar winner Parasite was in 3rd and has now taken over $6.1M through its run. Xavier Dolan’s 2019 drama Matthias & Maxime was new at No. 4 with $9K from 14.

NORWAY – Local family movie Twigson And The Sea Monster from SF Studios was in previews last session and this weekend led play, selling over 21K tickets. In total, admissions were 50,439, a 104% increase on the previous frame. Overall, this is about 30-35% of a normal weekend with full capacity.

ICELANDTrolls World Tour was tops again with a 46% drop to cume $55K so far. The Top 5 titles are a mirror of last week with The Last Fishing Trip, My Spy, The Postcard Killings and an extended re-release of Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring. In all, the Top 10 suffered a 38% decrease to $30K.

Other markets with very limited play include Mexico (100 sites open/$54K Top 10), Brazil (fewer than 10 sites operating/$21K) and Russia (25 locations open/$9K).

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