EXCLUSIVE: It’s all very quiet on the international box office front, but this past weekend saw some decent increases in various markets. Cinemas are still just sputtering back to operations around the world, notably in parts of Europe and Asia.
Germany remains the key major driving admissions — and largely from drive-ins, though Vue International’s CinemaxX circuit re-opened three multiplexes this weekend.
May is a test-the-waters month while June will see further majors welcome moviegoers amid stringent safety measures. They include Italy and Spain. Also set to start the turnstiles again in June are Poland and the Netherlands.
The UK is still looking at July 4 to re-open, however the majority of independent cinemas recently polled are thinking September is more likely for them. The Independent Cinema Office said that 59% of respondents believe they can enforce social distancing, 41% did not think they could. While some think they may open in July or August, more think September, and a significant number don’t expect to reopen until next year.
France, where distributors have begun to date films for July, still does not have a definite date, though Culture Minister Franck Riester today said the aim is July 1 or at least the beginning of July.
For reference, last year at this time Disney’s Aladdin began its magic carpet ride with a $122M start in 54 markets, followed by John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum at $24.8M in 74 of its sophomore session and Pokemon Detective Pikachu right on its heels at $24.7M in the 4th frame.
Below is a snapshot of what went down in some of the overseas markets this weekend (figures are culled from multiple sources):
GERMANY – The European major saw three CinemaxX multiplex re-openings this weekend in Kiel, Dresden and Offenbach. All are owned by Vue International. There were holdover titles in circulation with one small new release of local animated pic Mina Und Der Traumzauberer.
Overall, the top 24 movies in the market increased the session by 4% versus last week with a total of 1.18M euros ($1.28M). Constantin’s Perfect Strangers was again No. 1 with an added $107K at 58 sites. It was followed by The Kangaroo Chronicles with $73K from 69 locations, Fox/Disney’s Bohemian Rhapsody at $70K from 36, Lionsgate’s Knives Out with $68K from 56 and Warner Bros’ Joker laughing up $64K from 25 sites.
Drive-in cinemas accounted for 130K tickets sold across the frame. Overall admissions were up versus last weeked by about 6% while overall box office is down 47% versus 2019 at the same point on the calendar.
States still to open this month include Rheinland-Pfalz and Nordrhein-Westfalen with Baden-Wurtemberg likely on June 1 and Berlin closed until at least June 5. Other areas including Brandenburg, Bayern and Hamburg are still awaiting direction but do have the option of drive-ins.
KOREA – The Top 10 films this weekend grossed $1.06M combined, a slight 5% drop from the previous frame. Last session’s top pic, Arclight’s Escape From Pretoria, led again with a $303K Thursday-Sunday frame; it has now grossed $904K since its initial release on May 6. It was followed by Fox’s The Greatest Showman in a re-release worth $237K on 598 screens. France’s La Belle Epoque, a new entry on May 20, has made $156K to date. Other titles playing in the market include Spanish pic The Platform, The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Japanese animation Weathering With You, China classic Farewell My Concubine, war movie The Last Full Measure, Uni/DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour (now at $941K from cinemas in the market where it also had a day-and-date PVOD release) and Disney’s The Call Of The Wild.
HONG KONG – There was solid play in the sophomore session of all sites operating. The weekend was led by two Japanese pics, Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna which made $479K from 53 locations between Thursday and Sunday; and a film adaptation of superhero manga series My Hero Academia which grossed just over $144K at 48. Siberia, Brahms: The Boy II, Les Misérables and Trolls World Tour also scored slots in the Top 10 which grossed a combined $960K, nearly doubling last weekend’s take.
TAIWAN – The market where the movie theaters never closed finally got a look at Disney/Pixar’s Onward this weekend. The new release led all play with a little over $83K from 21 sites through the week. Last week’s winner, a reissue of The Last Emperor, was in 2nd followed by another new entry, Japanese comedy Not Quite Dead Yet which saw a nice bump on Sunday and made $7,300 from 13 sites.
AUSTRALIA – With still a scant number of screens up and running, Oz’s frame was led by a re-release of Shrek with the Top 5 dominated by titles from earlier this year including Jumanji: The Next Level, Sonic The Hedgehog, Bad Boys For Life and The Invisible Man. Combined, they brought in about $49K. That’s slightly up from last weekend.
JAPAN – Warner Bros re-releases continue to dominate Japan where cinemas were still closed in Tokyo this past weekend — though now that the state of emergency there has been lifted, this should soon change. In total, the Top 10 pics did about $36K which is a nice improvement on last session’s $13K and includes just the typical Saturday/Sunday. WB’s Birds Of Prey, Mad Max: Fury Road, Mask Ward and Blade Runner as well as Disney’s A Hidden Life made up the Top 5.
NEW ZEALAND – From 159 active sites, Kiwi cinemas did $31K worth of business from the weekend’s Top 10 titles. That’s a very solid jump of 82% versus last session when the market inched back. The Top 5 were led by The Assistant, Wide Blue Yonder, Dark Waters, Emma and hometown guy Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit.
ICELAND – Iceland’s few open cinemas did a little over $28K from 14 films in the session with admissions up 24%. Local comedy The Last Fishing Trip is still in the lead, followed by Onward and I Still Believe, the latter a new entry. Among library titles, both The Shining (which is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary) and The Shawshank Redemption landed in the Top 10.
NORWAY – In Norway, which was in its third frame of re-opening, admissions were 18,200 for a 73% hike from the previous session. More cinemas were up and running this weekend and Disney/Pixar’s Onward is leading the charge as we’re told family movies are working best at the moment.
Further markets that re-opened some cinemas this weekend include Croatia and Slovenia. Slovakia was given the green light from May 20, however UNIC notes that strict health and safety rules have made the process diffcult with at least one major chain saying it will wait until May 28 (there is also a ban on concessions as in Czech Republic and Bulgaria). We will update with numbers as they become available.