China was the big breakout this past weekend, leading the international box office for the fourth frame in a row and powered by the reissue of Warner Bros’ Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone in a 4K 3D restoration that conjured $13.6M on 16,000 screens over the three-day frame. With Monday and Tuesday’s Middle Kingdom grosses, the film (also known as Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone) crossed $1B worldwide.
Look for China to dominate again this coming weekend with war pic The Eight Hundred. Already, the controversial film from director Guan Hu had strong previews on Friday ($2.1M) and positively rocked turnstiles with further sneaks on Monday and Tuesday. The 1937-set story of Chinese soldiers defending a warehouse against the invading Japanese army during the Battle of Shanghai set new single-day records in the reopening process on Monday and Tuesday, each near $7.6M and cumed $16.8M through last night. As of about 6:30PM local time today, that’s increased to $21M+, per Maoyan. With The Eight Hundred leading, the overall China box office hit a high on Monday of RMB 76.2M ($11.04M) since movie theaters resumed operations.
The Eight Hundred is the first Chinese film fully shot with IMAX cameras and is receiving strong scores (9.2 on Maoyan, 7.9 on Douban). It also leads all pre-sales heading through next Sunday, and has already become the highest-grossing release of the year.
The official launch date on the film, whose backers include Huayi Brothers, Alibaba Pictures and Tencent Pictures, is August 21. The only major new title entering the market at the same time will be Trolls World Tour. About 70% of the market is now open with capacity restrictions relaxed to 50% from 30% in many areas.
Other titles in play in China this past weekend included Sony’s Bad Boys For Life at $3.2M through its first three-day session ($4.2M through Tuesday), Universal’s Dolittle with $18.7M after a decent 4th frame hold despite the new action ($19.3M through Tuesday), and DreamWorks/Amblin/Universal’s 1917 at $9M through Sunday ($9.4M through Tuesday).
Outside China, Korea continues to power along with a $15M weekend across the Top 10. That’s about flat with last session which was boosted by crime actioner Deliver Us From Evil. The local title from director Hong Won-chan has grossed $28.7M through Tuesday. Behind it this weekend was local comedy OK! Madam with a $6M opening session. The market was overall down 49% versus the same period in 2019.
There were new U.S. titles in other markets, including Unhinged which launched in Canada and Thailand this session. The international cume is approximately $7.7M through Sunday with many more territories to open. In Australia and the UK, the Russell Crowe-starrer held No. 1 for the third frame in a row with the former the lead market overall at $1.7M. The Top 5 are rounded out by Germany ($997K cume through Sunday), UK ($884K), Netherlands ($854K) and Taiwan ($657K). France and Belgium open today, ahead of the U.S. bow on Friday.
STX’s Greenland opened at No. 1 in nine new overseas markets including Taiwan, Singapore, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Switzerland. France and Belgium also continued to play with No. 2 holdovers in Week 2 and Week 3, respectively. The estimated weekend total was $2.82M from 1,063 locations for an overseas cume of $4.55M through Sunday.
Lionsgate’s I Still Believe strummed into four new markets with a strong No. 1 in Germany at $431K (including previews) from 400 locations. The full weekend on the faith-based film was $638K from 18 markets for a $3M cume. It gave Germany a shot in the arm with an 86% jump over last session. The Top 10 did $1.23M and also included The Wretched at $152K from about 270 launch locations. The market last weekend hadn’t seen any significant new action since Unhinged opened there five frames ago.
And, WB’s 10th year anniversary release of Inception traveled to 37 offshore markets and generated $1.6M on 2,850 screens. The movie re-releases in the U.S. next weekend, followed by China on August 28.
Here’s a closer look at some key weekend markets:
France’s Top 10 sold 629K tickets over the past weekend, another 20% jump from the previous session. The market was led by local comedy Les Blagues De Toto which moved up to first place, switching slots with Greenland. The latter film through Sunday had a local cume of $2.5M and is running well above the Butler-led Fallen series with a projected lifetime surpassing the full franchise.
Spain was off by about 11% across the Top 10 with $1.7M and led for the 3rd frame in a row by Sony Pictures International Productions’ Padre No Hay Mas Que Uno 2 which cumed $8.2M through Sunday. The Secret Garden was in its first week there with a debut of $139K in 2nd. Universal/Blumhouse’s The Hunt had a good hold, down 16% in week three and cumed $775K through Sunday.
The Netherlands got a great 59% boost despite no new key titles added to the Top 10. Trolls World Tour is still in 1st at a cume through Sunday of $936K. School holidays helped propel the movie upwards by 42% compared to opening.
Taiwan saw a 106% increase this session to $1.35M for the Top 10 movies. They were led by the launch of Greenland at $1M from 62 locations. That’s 77% ahead of Angel Has Fallen and 174% ahead of Olympus Has Fallen.
In Australia, a 22% hike was aided by the continued No. 1 play of Unhinged ($325K/$1.7M cume), the reissue of Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope ($225K) and new indie releases Made In Italy, Force Of Nature and Peninsula. Most cinemas continue to operate at 50% capacity.
With a few more locations now operating, and a break in temperatures, the UK got a 93% boost across the Top 10 titles to $913K. Still in the lead is Altitude’s release of Unhinged, which increased 18% in its 3rd frame to gross a cumulative $884K through Sunday. Unhinged expands next session from 280 locations to 330. Also in Britain, WB’s reissue of Inception at $271K from 300 sites.
Japanese anime Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel III Spring Song — the final installment in the local trilogy — bowed to $4.5M at No. 1 this weekend. There are several local titles playing strongly in the market since being released post-reopening. They include Beginning Today It’s My Turn which was at over $36M heading into the weekend; The Confidence Man at $23M and Doreamon: Nobita’s New Dinosaur at upwards of $13M. New titles this weekend included Yowamushi Pedal and Love Me, Love Me Not. Play was boosted by the Obon Festival.
Russia, which is about 30% reopened, saw some new energy with local comedy/fantasy Krasotka! grossing $131K from about 500 sites. The Top 10 was up 34% week-on-week and the second frame of Unhinged made for a local cume of $293K. Inception’s reissue did $63K at 200 sites.
Elsewhere, WB’s Scoob! led play in the UAE with $102K from 30 sites in its launch. Overall grosses were up 51% from the previous week across the Top 10. Mexico saw a boost of 69% from a Top 10 that was led by Universal/Blumhouse’s The Hunt in its 3rd frame ($156K cume). There have been no new titles in a while and Mexico City only tentatively reopened last week at about 25-30% capacity.
Italy, which is only about 17% reopened and is hankering for fresh films, gave Volevo Nascondermi the top spot with previews of $245K from around 100 sites. The art biodrama (aka Hidden Away) ran in competition in Berlin and won the Silver Bear Best Actor prize for Elio Germano. Overall, the film helped Italy rise by 71% across the Top 10.
New Zealand was sharply off in the session after the government imposed another lockdown, meaning all cinemas closed in Auckland. Elsewhere, they are operating at restricted capacity. Last weekend had seen a boost from local comedy This Town which grossed $236K through Sunday. Train To Busan sequel Peninsula was in previews last session and has now grossed $69K from about 20 locations.