TUESDAY UPDATE, with actuals: Coming in slightly lower than the Saturday projection of $100M through Sunday, Universal’s Fifty Shades Freed roped $96.5M in its international box office bow this weekend. The performance, while a breath below the Sunday estimate, is ahead of pre-weekend calls which had the threequel straddling $80M-$90M. Coupled with domestic, the debut global frame was $135.3M.
All tied up, the three-movie franchise crossed $1B worldwide on Friday. As we’ve noted, that’s a sexy milestone to own given the low production cost of the trio of pics and the lack of some key markets in the mix.
Critics give the Fifty crew a hard time, but audiences who salivated over the books get hot and bothered when a new movie rolls around. And this time, folks really wanted to see how it all comes together. Out of 57 offshore launch markets, the James Foley-directed climax was No. 1 in 54. That’s compared to 51 out 57 on the last go-round. In like-for-like markets and at today’s exchange rates, Freed is 9% down from the start of Fifty Shades Darker last year. Says a rival exec surprised by the overseas numbers, “I guess if you’ve made the journey on the first two, you want to see how it ends.” Working in Freed‘s favor is that it propels and closes a narrative circle.
Universal International President Duncan Clark tells me, “Freed is the last of an authentic three-part story that concluded the trilogy, as opposed to just another episode.” Over the course of the films, the bestseller as a foundation plus the Valentine’s Day timeline added to catchy and seductive marketing material for a demographic that is regularly underserved. And, as with the previous movies, the Freed soundtrack is doing rocking business, having reached No. 1 in 67 counties. “To cross $1 billion with this franchise worldwide is a perfect conclusion to a great partnership,” says Clark. “Full credit goes to the filmmakers, Donna Langley and her team and the marketing distribution teams around the world.”
To be sure, there were some bumps in the road here with dips in the UK and Australia versus Darker. But strong showings in growing markets helped overcome some of that. Next weekend is expected to see a healthy overall drop with Black Panther bounding out across the globe. A bit of a pop will come around Valentine’s Day with some advance sales strung to Cupid’s bow. There are more markets to come online this month including Vietnam, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Korea (see more below).
In other milestones this weekend, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle has become Sony’s 3rd biggest worldwide release ever with $883.4M to pass both Spectre and Spider-Man: Homecoming. It will next swing by Spider-Man 3 at $890.9M to become the studio’s 2nd highest-grossing title of all time below Skyfall. Japan has still to release, and though some were iffy about it last weekend, getting to $900M is just a matter of time. Even before that, Jumanji has now outgrossed all superhero movies released in 2017 on a worldwide basis.
After crossing $700M worldwide last session, Disney/Pixar’s Coco pitched across the $500M mark internationally with Japan also still to meet Miguel & fam. The Oscar nominee is now the No. 14 animated film of all time overseas, passing Inside Out and The Secret Life Of Pets.
In limited new releases this weekend, Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 To Paris rolled off with $5.7M in 23 markets, better than the Sunday estimate, but still lackluster.
Looking ahead to next weekend, Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther is poised to pounce pretty much everywhere except, notably, China where the Lunar New Year kicks off on Friday. That will usher in what is traditionally the biggest box office period of the year with the releases of Monster Hunt 2, Detective Chinatown 2 and The Monkey King 3: Kingdom Of Women. This weekend in China was led again by Secret Superstar featuring Aamir Khan which will fade out now, but not before having crossed the $100M mark.
Actuals on the films above and more have been updated below.
FIFTY SHADES FREED
The climax of Universal’s adaptations of the EL James bestsellers came in ahead of estimates which were straddling $80M-$90M before the weekend. A cherry on top gave the James Foley-directed trilogy-ender a $96.5M bow in 57 offshore markets. The Fifty Shades movies have consistently done about 70% of their total business overseas and this weekend was no different. The worldwide cume through Sunday is $135.1M and the trilogy has now grossed over $1B.
Although business will be cropped when Black Panther storms the globe this coming week, there’s Valentine’s love ahead and the expectation of a final 2+ multiple. Fifty Shades Of Grey initiated proceedings in 2015 with a $404.8M final at the international box office, followed by Fifty Shades Darker‘s $266.5M. Freed is currently running about 37% below Grey and 9% below Darker. The original had the benefit of tying directly into a Saturday Valentine.
BDSM play was down in some of the majors, while growing markets like Argentina and Venezuela picked up slack to score well above the previous films. In Argentina, the $1.8M start at 190 locations elevates FSF 22% above Fifty Shades Of Grey and 7% hotter than Fifty Shades Darker. In Venezuela, Freed logged the biggest opening weekend in history at $1.25M at 72. Ukraine ($905K/178) is also notable as Universal’s top opening ever.
Mostly, Mr and Mrs Grey got down to business in Germany for $10.36M at 731 dates to lead all hubs overseas. That’s in line with Darker which had its best play in this market last year after the franchise kicked off in a Berlin Film Festival world premiere back in 2015. France scored $8.9M (700 dates), just under local hit Les Tuches 3 and amid wildly wintry weather. The UK rounds out the Top 3 at $8.22M from 603 for the 3rd best start of an 18-rated movie, behind Fifty Shades Of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker.
The Greys dominated Italy with $7.3M and 46% of the market at 517 locations; the No. 4 opening for an R-rated movie. Russia bested Fifty Shades Darker by 4% with $7M at 1,430 dates and Brazil wooed $6.3M at 650 sites. Spain had a hot and heavy $5.1M at 360, about 5x bigger than the No. 2 title. Australia closes out the Top 10 with $4.73M at 285 locations, having scored the 4th best February opening day behind the previous two installments and Deadpool.
In IMAX, Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson’s racy couple harnessed $1.3M on 185 screens in 35 markets.
Traditionally, the top markets for the Fifty Shades series have been a mix of the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Brazil. One thing the franchise doesn’t have going for it is the momentum in some emerging Asian markets like Malaysia and Indonesia, which have been throwing off significant numbers of late but where these films don’t play because of the content.
THE 15:17 TO PARIS
Contrary to Clint Eastwood’s recent pics as director, Sully and American Sniper, The 15:17 To Paris did not bring the filmmaker some of the best international bows of his career (at least not outside the UAE). The Warner Bros/Village Roadshow title opened to $5.7M on 2,225 screens in 23 markets. The latest of Eastwood’s films to deal with the story of real-life heroes, the tale of (and starring) the men who thwarted a terrorist attack on a Thalys train bound for Paris from Brussels in 2015, was a bold experiment made for a price, but has been met with poor reviews and audience response.
Italy, which was a huge breakout market for 2014’s American Sniper, did OK business at $1.5M for No. 3, topping United 93 and The Hurt Locker. WB is using the two latter films as its preferred comps given the themes and director-driven nature. In France, where Eastwood is equally as revered as he is in the land of Sergio Leone, and where The 15:17 To Paris has particular resonance, the start was $1.4M at No. 4 on 411 screens. We have been having unseasonably abysmal weather and this certainly impacted moviegoing this weekend, particularly in Paris and the suburbs. The score was 22% above United 93 and twice The Hurt Locker.
The UK clocked $408K on 323 screens; Australia debuted to $349K on 151; and Spain rolled in with $336K on 89. The UAE was a bright spot with $269K on 52 screens for the 3rd biggest Eastwood opening ever. That follows a pattern for the filmmaker after Sully and Sniper.
MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE
Fox’s Wes Ball-helmed threequel rounded $180.2M internationally this session, adding $23.6M from 20,426 screens in 84 markets. France, generally the top hub for the Dylan O’Brien-starring series, picked up $5.6M on 591 screens for No. 3 behind local pic Les Tuches 3 and Mr & Mrs Grey.
China in its 3rd frame took another $3.24M amid stiff competition and as the Lunar New Year movies begin to line up for next weekend. Although its race is coming to an end, The Death Cure has grossed $44.3M in the Middle Kingdom, topping Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Holds in Germany, Spain and Belgium were solid. In the growing Indonesian market, Death Cure is 35% bigger than Scorch Trials with $5.72M to date.
THE GREATEST SHOWMAN
Fox’s Hugh Jackman tuner has $167.9M in the overseas clown car after seven weeks. A great hold in the UK, saw The Greatest Showman drop just 13% from last frame during which it had captured the No. 1 spot after six weeks in release. With the soundtrack topping charts, and the film’s momentum continuing, the team is still getting out to promote the movie. Keala Settle appeared on Graham Norton’s couch in London on Friday night with a special video message sent in by Jackman. The cume there is $35.1M. On his home turf Down Under, the $21.6M cume to date is now bigger than the lifetime of Les Misérables and is topping Mamma Mia! at the same stage in the run. The overall weekend was $8.9M on 10,681 screens in 55 markets. Japan is the last to step under the big top on Friday.
Disney/Pixar’s family adventure strummed past the $500M mark internationally heading into this weekend, now counting $508.4M in overseas box office, and $714.5M worldwide. This is in advance of its Japan bow on March 16 in the Frozen sweet spot. The weekend was good for $8M in 35 material markets which helped propel little Miguel to the No. 14 spot at on the list of all-time top-grossing animated movies. He passed Inside Out and The Secret Life Of Pets this session. Denmark was a new play at No. 2 behind the Fifty Shades Freed crowd and as the country heads into holidays. With the UK doing likewise, the drop was just 27% for a $16.3M cume to date.
JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
Swinging upwards on the charts, Sony’s holiday-season holdover is now the studio’s No. 3 movie ever at the worldwide box office. The cume to date is $883.4M to overtake Spectre ($880.7M) and Spider-Man: Homecoming ($880.4M). Last weekend, some folks were hedging against the adventure making it to the $900M mark, but the milestone is now assured. Dwayne Johnson and the gang of avatars drummed up another $8.2M this session and have an international box office cume of $517.8M. Japan releases April 6. Cue another milestone for this Jake Kasdan-helmed jungle-naut.
The headline on Steven Spielberg’s Pentagon Papers movie this weekend is its ascendance past $50M at the international box office. The current cume is $50.2M in 46 markets shared by Amblin Partners and Universal. The frame added $6.2M to the adult drama’s take, including a No. 2 hold in Italy.
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
With an additional $5.76M from 3,045 screens in 43 markets Martin McDonagh’s multiple Oscar and BAFTA nominee has cumed $55.6M to date. Word of mouth continues on the estimated $15M-budget Fox Searchlight/Film4 title meaning minimal drops in the session. Germany dipped just 9% ($3.38M cume) and the UK was down 33% ($14.2M). Russia, Japan, Holland and Poland all were off less than 30%. The UK leads offshore hubs, followed by Australia ($6.9M) and Spain ($5.26M). The Philippines and Brazil (2/15) open next weekend, followed by an additional 22 international releases throughout February and March.
DEN OF THIEVES
STXinternational opened this Gerard Butler starrer in another four international territories this weekend, adding an estimated $4.3M from 3,124 locations. The offshore cume is $16.1M with global now at $57.1M. The heist pic set a new milestone for STX in the UK last weekend when it became the first of the new operation’s films to open bigger than £1M. In frame 2, it added $827K to drop 46% at 387 locations. The cume is $3.1M, still running ahead of comps. The drop was similar in the German-speaking region (-44%) for a local cume of $2.8M. Same goes for the Middle East (-48%) for a regional total of $2.9M. In Australia, the drop was bigger at -53% for a $1.8M cume. There are still 35 markets to release.
No bull, Blue Sky Studios’ Ferdinand is closing in on $200M at the international box office. With a $4.1M weekend, the gentle giant now has an offshore cume of $193.6M in 55 markets. This is Ferdinand’s last week in China where he’s gathered $25.86M while Brazil has now grossed $12.5M to be the 2nd biggest overseas hub and to outpace Coco by 68% locally. Hong Kong and Taiwan are on deck Thursday.
Lionsgate’s sleeper hit crossed $150M this weekend internationally and has $286M global. The frame added $4M in 46 markets for an overseas total of $154.6M with Sweden, Norway and Japan still to come. The latter is not currently dated.
THE SHAPE OF WATER
Leading Oscar nominee The Shape Of Water egged on another $2.9M from 1,917 screens in 26 markets. The Guillermo del Toro fairy tale saw play led by Brazil with a $656K weekend for $1.88M to date and a 31% drop. Mexico still leads all play with $12.7M after five weeks. Australia has also taken a shine to the story of a mute cleaning woman and an amphibian god in 1960s America. The cume there is $2.19M after four weeks with minimal drops. The international total is $24.4M and there are 18 markets coming online next weekend including the European majors.
A $4M weekend lifts the Gary Oldman-starrer to $72.8M at the offshore box office and $124.3M worldwide. From Working Title and Focus, the Universal Joe Wright awards season film continues to perform in its natural home: the UK. The total there is now $28.5M after five weekends. France in week 6 is slowing with a total $4.85M to rank No. 2 among Darkest Hour hubs. Rounding out the Top 5 are Australia ($4.7M), Italy ($4.6M) and Germany ($2.9M). Up next, the Philippines, Central America, Paraguay and Argentina this coming session.
MISC UPDATED CUMES/NOTABLE
Insidious: The Last Key (UNI): $5.6M intl weekend (52 markets); $94.8M intl cume
Happy Death Day (UNI): $2.2M intl weekend (1 market); $67M intl cume
Phantom Thread (UNI): $1.9M intl weekend (22 markets); $6.7M intl cume
12 Strong (LGF): $1.5M intl weekend; $11.6M intl cume
My Little Pony: The Movie (LGF): $1.5M intl weekend; $36.9M intl cume
I, Tonya (S/A): $1.07M intl weekend (21 markets); $6.25M intl cume
Call Me By Your Name (SNY): $1M intl weekend (31 markets); $11M intl cume
All The Money In The World (STX): $1M intl weekend (23 markets); $21.2M intl cume
Molly’s Game (S/A): $959K intl weekend (38 markets); $24.7M intl cume
Released by Sony in India, Pad Man is the Akshay Kumar-starrer inspired by the real-life activist who revolutionized the concept of menstrual hygiene in rural India. It opened to $7.6M at home for No. 1 and totaled $8.4M across five Sony markets. Directed by R. Balki, the movie has a particular profile given the unusual subject matter. While there are only 10 reviews counted on Rotten Tomatoes, it gets a 100% Fresh score. Here’s what they have to say over at Bollywood industry site Bollywood Hungama, “It is worth mentioning here that Akshay Kumar manages to maintain perfect gravitas as a feminist icon who is emotional and passionate about his cause. It is indeed applause worthy for him to take a taboo topic (after Toilet: Ek Prem Katha) and make a commercial film out of it, without letting it get too preachy for its own good.” In North America, Sony opened to pic to $760K at 152 locations.
In Korea, Showbox called on Detective K: Secret Of The Living Dead to $6.9M with the three-day frame falling at the same time as the beginning of the Olympic Games in PyeongChang. The story directed by Kim Sok-yun centers on the titular detective and his partner who are called upon to sold a series of murders in Kanghway Island. Along the way, Detective K teams up with a beautiful woman who has amnesia and is somehow closely connected to the deaths.