International Box Office Still Topsy-Turvy Amid Early Cinema Re-Openings; ‘Underwater’ Docks In Korea


EXCLUSIVE: Some international box office markets that are up and running — even if not at full steam — saw increases this weekend while others faced drops given good weather in some spots and an overall lack of new product. However, Disney floated Kristen Stewart-starrer Underwater into Korea for the first time with a No. 1 start at $402K which is one of the better overseas openings for the underperformer that began rolling out globally in January. Disney/Pixar’s Onward also continued to lead Taiwan in its second week.

Local titles in Germany and Czech Republic were still atop the charts and the former continues to see strong drive-in business. Overall, however, there’s evidence that new releases — scant though they may be — are the ones drawing the most attention from moviegoers. (See market snapshots below.)

There was good news this week out of France where it was announced that cinemas will re-open beginning June 22. Poland will restart operations on June 6, though as we’ve previously reported, major chains including Cineworld’s Cinema City are hanging back. Overall, Cineworld expects all of its markets to be back in July. Switzerland can also go on June 6, while we hear a July 6 date may be in the offing for Indonesia.

There is still no official word out of China on a full-blown opening date for movie theaters, although last month, the State Council issued guidelines to allow for local governments to make policies for re-opening. A new poll by Maoyan found that 7 out of 10 people who used the site to purchase tickets last year said it would be “safe” to go back to cinemas in June.

In Spain, there are some re-releases playing in individual locations, but most cinemas won’t come back online for a bit. Major hubs like Barcelona and Madrid will not re-open before June 8. Major chain Cinesa said it plans to be back in operation starting June 8 at three of its complexes, with one each in Santiago, Zaragoza and Valencia. Tickets will be 4.90 euros, and at premium locations, they’ll be 5.90 euros. Alternate seating and 30% capacity still applies. Those films that will be on deck at Cinesa’s sites include local horror movie Malasana 32, The Conjuring, Sonic The Hedgehog, Onward, Jumanji 2, Beauty And The Beast, The Goonies, Ghostbusters, Deadpool, Wonder Woman, Joker, Birds Of Prey, Bad Boys For Life, Bloodshot, The Matrix, Interrstellar and Parasite among others.

Last year at this time, Legendary/Warner Bros’ Godzilla: King Of The Monsters came in with a less than expected $130M in 75 markets, followed by Disney’s Aladdin in a second frame of $78.3M across 54 markets and Parasite which made over $20M in its Korea start after it had just taken the Palme d’Or in Cannes.

Below are some market snapshots from this past weekend (figures are culled from multiple sources):

KOREA – Disney released January underperformer Underwater here which was new to the market and came in at No. 1 with $402K from 594 screens for the four-day session and with a nice bump on Sunday. The TFSS frame for the Top 10 movies was about $1.2M, roughly 10% up on last weekend. Other titles finding audiences include The Greatest Showman, Escape From Pretoria (which was new a couple weeks ago and has now cumed $1.2M), new Spanish horror title Malsana 32 and France’s La Belle Epoque. Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour is now at $962K there after its fifth weekend.

HONG KONG – Box office dipped 24% acrross the Top 10 titles in Hong Kong this weekend (four-day) which was the third go-round with all cinemas back online at $727K. Still in the lead is Japan’s Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna with $250K at 52 sites. Next up was local drama Suk Suk; it ran in Berlin and won prizes at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Other new entries included a handful of Asian titles and The Vanishing which saw daily increases.

GERMANY – The Top 24 titles in the European major picked up $1.33M from Thurs-Sun, another 4% bump as was the case last weekend. The Top 10 movies were responsible for $699K of that and were again led by Constantin’s Perfect Strangers with $126K from about 11,500 admissions during just the FSS portion. That was again mostly from drive-ins, although the Astor Grand Cinema in Hannover sold the most tickets overall for the movie at 774 just on Saturday.

Behind Perfect Strangers, Warner re-released local title Nightlife with a 2nd place gross of just under $98K from 82 sites. The rest of the chart remains similar to last week with The Kangaroo Chronicles, Bad Boys For Life and Knives Out rounding out the Top 5.

Regions that were allowed to re-open this past week include Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Hamburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Sachsen-Anhalt and North Rhine-Westphalia. Baden-Württemberg got the go-ahead for this week with Thuringia and Brandenburg due on June 6; Bavaria from June 15 and Berlin from June 30.

TAIWAN – In its sophomore frame there, Disney/Pixar’s Onward added $262K from 90 locations for a cume of a little over $638K. As a newer entry, it was head and shoulders above the rest of the pack, with WB’s reissue of The Dark Knight in 2nd at $69K from 75. The whole of the Christopher Nolan trilogy was re-released this session: Batman Begins added $30K at 75 and The Dark Knight Rises about $22K. Debut entries included Pathé’s Misbehaviour with Keira Kinghtly which had previously been scheduled to release in late March, during the lockdown. It did just over $19K at 54 sites. Constantin’s German thriller The Collini Case also debuted, with $16K from 23 locations. The Top 10 made a combined $505K.

CZECH REPUBLIC – There was a drop in box office in Czech Republic where some of the major chains are not in operation. This weekend’s Top 20 did $147K versus last session’s $176K. This is part of a trend over the past few weeks with no new titles entering the market. Play is still led by local documentary V Siti, followed by Onward, Czech comedy Chlap Na Střídačku, Sonic and The Invisible Man. The market has 23 drive-ins and 104 cinemas out of 243 that are open; Cinestar with 28% share has also opened some multiplexes. Maximum capacity is 100 people per screening.

AUSTRIA – Cinemas were allowed to reopen from May 29, though not many have done so. Nevertheless, the first weekend back to some business generated $121K across the Top 24 movies, $84K of that from the Top 10 which was led by Fox/Disney’s Bohemian Rhapsody at $18K from just 4 locations. Other titles released for the first weekend back, and landing in the Top 10, include Nightlife, Parasite, Joker, The Invisible Man, 1917, The Secret Life Of Pets, Frozen 2, The Lion King and the latest Jumanji.

AUSTRALIA – In OZ, the Top 10 movies did a combined $81K. The Top 5 were worth $52K, a 6% increase on last weekend. In the Top 5 were Jumanji: The Next Level, Shrek, Bad Boys For Life, The Invisible Man and Dirty Dancing in its 30th anniversary re-issue.

NEW ZEALAND – The Kiwi market is seeing healthy increases week on week with a 129% jump to $71K across the Top 10 versus last frame. Festival pic The Assistant held the lead again with $23K from 31 locations. The rest of the Top 5 includes Bait, Wide Blue Yonder, Sonic and Finnish comedy Master Cheng.

UAE – Only Dubai cinemas re-opened this weekend with a four-day frame that was comprised of re-releases. The top film was Sony’s Bloodshot with $28K from 17 locations, followed by The Gentlemen, The Invisible Man, Bad Boys For Life and 1917. Across the Top 10, box office was $69K while we have also heard that from 28 films playing, admissions were 4,571. Capacity is limited to 30% and people under 12 or over 60 are not allowed to enter cinemas. We hear that the rest of the Emirates remain a question mark with coronavirus cases still on the rise.

JAPAN – With cinemas running at about 45% capacity from what we understand, and no Toho multiplexes open (they start up again next weekend), the Top 10 in Japan was again fully dominated by Warner Bros titles. Combined the Top 10 did $46K, a nice 28% bump from last session. Birds Of Prey was the champ at $29K, followed by Mad Max: Fury Road, Blade Runner, Mask Ward and Sony/Marvel’s Spider-Man: Far From Home. We hear that some studio pics which were due to go before the coronavirus lockdown, have now been dated in June including Little Women, Dolittle, Rambo: Last Blood and Sonic.

NORWAY – In Norway, the fourth weekend of having movie theaters re-opened saw a slump in admissions. There were 6,800 this session versus 18,200 in the last frame. We hear that’s down to very hot and nice weather and just one new minor release.

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