International Box Office: Korea Comes ‘#Alive’ As Horror Pic Makes A Killing; France Amorous In Return To Cinemas

Movies

The international box office this weekend was again led by Korea, with major local release #Alive taking a 70% share of the market. The zombie horror thriller from Spackman Entertainment’s Zip Cinema sold 1.06M tickets in its first five days for a gross of $7.4M through Sunday, again demonstrating the strength of new offerings, particularly in Korea which has been at the forefront of comebacks. The movie, directed by Cho Il-hyeong, instantly becomes one of the most successful releases amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and is the first title in Korea to break the 1M admissions threshold since February.

#Alive, co-produced by Perspective Pictures, is based on an original screenplay by Hollywood writer Matt Taylor. It tells the timely story of two isolated survivors in a city under lockdown that gets out of control as a consequence of a sudden spread of an unknown infection. Yoo Ah-in and Park Shin-hye star.

The other key markets this session included newly re-opened France while play mostly increased overall (see snapshots below).

There is concern ahead, however, as the U.S. struggles with mounting COVID cases, exhibitors shift opening dates (notably AMC and Cineworld) and there is no clear picture from China. What is clear is that overseas moviegoers are eager for fresh titles, though the studios in the past week continued to switch up their schedules.

This weekend’s only new major offshore market in play was France with its first full session. Cinemas re-opened on Monday June 22 and ramped up on Wednesday June 24 which is the traditional opening day in the market. As noted in last week’s report, moviegoers returned with gusto. The Top 10 titles in the Wed-Sun session sold over 457K tickets, good for a gross of over $4M.

Coming this week, Belgian cinemas will get back up and running as will those in Ireland, Ukraine and Greece. In Russia, the Sakhalin and Leningrad regions are also allowed to go back to work. The UK has been given a green light to resume operations from Saturday (July 4), although major chains are holding off until later in the month in what remains a fluid situation given the key release date changes and the difficulties facing Los Angeles.

Looking at last year over this same weekend, Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: Far From Home was out in early offshore release, notably in China, with $111M from just three markets. It was followed by Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4 at $80.6M in holdover play, and Warner Bros/New Line’s debut of Annabelle Comes Home with $45M.

It’s a vastly different picture this year, but some markets are indeed seeing increases as more cinemas come back online. Here’s a snapshot of what went down ver the weekend:

KOREA – As noted above, Korea led all play for the international weekend again, this time led by #Alive with $7.4M on 1,869 screens for a 70% share of the box office. In total, the Top 10 grossed $8.2M for the Thursday-Sunday session, a massive 103% increase on last weekend. Coming in second was Sony’s local picture Innocence which has now amassed $5.3M. Disney/Pixar’s Onward, in its sophomore frame, is now at $2M. There are about 1,900 locations open in Korea where the weekend was down 63% versus last year’s similar weekend.

FRANCE – Also as noted above, the cinema-loving market returned with a resounding “Je t’aime.” There were over 457K admission across the Top 10 during the Wednesday-Sunday frame, for $4M worth of ticket sales from about 680 locations. Leading play was Memento’s La Bonne Epouse, a re-release of a pre-COVID title which sold about 112K tickets during the session. SND’s De Gaulle was in second, followed by Onward, Agnieszka Holland’s Mr Jones (L’Ombre De Staline) and Universal/Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man.

JAPAN – The Top 10 in Japan scored $1.5M, essentially flat with last weekend’s tally. The chart was again led by Universal’s Doolittle, now in its sophomore session with $727K from 348 locations (-31%) and a local cume of $3M. Paramount’s Sonic The Hedgehog was new to the market with $473K across Saturday and Sunday and from 289 sites. Sony’s Little Women, now in its 3rd frame, has grossed $1.95M to date. There are roughly 350 cinemas operating.

HONG KONG – A nice increase of 71% across the Top 10 movies here equalled $1.24M. This was generated by a host of new titles, led by suspense thriller Legally Declared Dead at $347K from 59 sites. The sophomore session of Onward placed it at No. 2 with a cume through Sunday of $763K (it dipped by just 10% from the opening). In 3rd was Japanese toon Sumikko Gurashi The Movie – The Unexpected Picture Book And The Secret Child, new at $182K from 53 and followed by Japanese drama Fukushima 50 starring Ken Watanabe with $110K. Rounding out the Top 5 is Universal’s release of new entry The High Note at $101K from 49 sites. Exhibitors continue to impose 50% capacity restrictions, but ticket discounts are available to help market recovery. 

NETHERLANDS – Russian animation The Big Trip clawed into the top spot in its sophomore session with a running cume of $183K. It was followed by faith-based drama I Still Believe which grossed $82K from 102 sites. Rounding out the Top 5 are last week’s champ, local comedy Rundfunk: Jachterwachter, which has cumed $435K across three weekends; crime thriller Line Of Duty now at $170K after a pair of frames; and the re-release of another local comedy, Beentjes van Sint-Hi (Saint Hildegard’s Little Legs) which was off 23% from last session to add $57K for a $5.8M cume. In total, the Top 10 movies added $590K to Dutch coffers, a slight 4% increase. Current capacity restrictions only allow 30 people per screen.

TAIWANOnward kept marching along at No. 1 in the sixth week with an added $165K from 84 locations for a $1.6M local cume. It was followed by Universal’s The High Note which pitched in for $114K from Wed-Sun at 85. Danis Tanovic’s The Postcard Killings landed 3rd in its sophomore session of $56K at 75 for a $200K cume. Rounding out the Top 5 are Fukushima 50 and Orlando Bloom-starrer The Outpost in its debut. The Top 10 movies accumulated $486K, a healthy 35% jump on the previous session.

GERMANY – Warner Bros’ Nightlife continues its reign at the top of the German chart, adding $64K for an $11M cume through Sunday. The studio newly released Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell for $30K from 113 locations and in the No. 5 position. Also fresh to the market was Guns Akimbo with Daniel Radcliffe in 3rd and $43K from 165. The Kangaroo Chronicles and The Gentlemen remained in the Top 5. Overall, the Top 10 did $333K to continue a downward trend (-14%) over the past few weeks. With just about 200 sites operating, box office is off 52% from the same session last year.

NEW ZEALAND – Yet another increase (+17%) in the Covid-free market saw the Top 10 titles amass $288K. Love Sarah held the No. 1 spot with $81K at 96 sites for a $259K cume after two weekends and earlier previews. Resistance, Sonic, The Trip To Greece and Hong Sung-ho’s animated feature Red Shoes And The Seven Dwarfs (which was in previews) round out the Top 5.

SPAIN – The Euro major added even more cinemas this weekend, with just under 200 locations (out of over 800) now open as it rolls back to business. That helped up the Top 10 by 175% to $286K. Onward held the No. 1 spot again, picking up a further $63K for a $2.1M cume to date. The Gentlemen was No. 2 with a $2M cume, followed by Uni’s The High Note in its $43K debut from 189 sites, eOne’s Mary at $36K from 122 and The Invisible Man which has now grossed $2.6M.

AUSTRALIA – In a reverse of the past few sessions, Oz’s Top 10 got a boost this weekend, up 17% to $175K. The Invisible Man keeps haunting at No. 1 now with a cume of $5.4M following its re-release a few frames ago. No new movies here with the Top 5 rounded out by Sonic, Bloodshot, a re-issue of Titanic and The Current War. There are about 95 locations open overall, operating at 20-person capacity per screen, with expectations to be fully open by the end of this week.

UAE – Dubai is still the only Emirate in operation, but got a shot in the arm with horror pic The Wretched, released by Front Row, taking No. 1 in its $28K debut from 25 sites. The remainder of the Top 5 is populated by Bloodshot ($626K cume), Onward ($460K cume), Thor: Ragnarok ($4.16M cume) and The Gentlemen ($1.3M cume). Russell Crowe-starrer Unhinged had been expected in the coming frame, but has been delayed.

ITALY – Movie theaters are taking a slow approach to re-opening in Italy, with just about 40 in operation. Nevertheless, more people went out as the Top 10 rose by 16% to $76K. International Oscar nominee Les Misérables stayed in No. 1 with another $18K for a $59K cume to date. Local drama Bad Tales also remained in its same position as last week with a No. 2 take of $12K for $32K through Sunday. Parasite, local comedy Si Muore Solo Da Vivi and another Bong Joon-Ho title, 2003’s Memories Of Murder, filled out the Top 5.

NORWAY – Local family movie Twigson And The Sea Monster from SF Studios was in previews this session and scored the top slot in terms of admissions. UPI’s The King Of Staten Island came in No. 1 with a dollar gross of $31K from 70 locations in its opening. Total admissions across all titles rose again, to 24,737. Despite good weather Friday and Saturday which turned to rain on Sunday, the weekend was good for a 5% bump in ticket sales. There are about 65 cinemas out of 200 operating with a maximum capcity of 200 people.

ICELAND – Universal’s Trolls World Tour made its first stop in Iceland this weekend, tuning up a No. 1 start with $32K from nine sites. There are 11 cinemas back so far, out of 16, though we hear only six have shows every day. The Top 10 were up 60% to $48K and also included previous reigning champ The Last Fishing Trip, the second frame of My Spy, new entry The Postcard Killings and an extended re-release of Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring.

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