This weekend's global preview begins with a look down under. The start of the winter school holiday brought big numbers in Australia last weekend. World War Z took the top spot, while Despicable Me 2 defeated Monsters University in a head-to-head battle for second place. More new releases are in store for this weekend in Australia; Epic will try its luck against last weekend's animated releases and Man of Steel flies in to steal some of World War Z's momentum.
Despicable Me 2 will try to replicate last weekend's success in Australia as it expands to the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and French-Switzerland. The animated film won't open in North America until July 4th weekend, when producers will be hoping to go in with a strong early start from the limited overseas release. It won't have too much competition in the U.K. this weekend, with other new releases like This is the End and The East focused on different demographics. France presents a similar release window for Despicable Me 2, where the animated sequel opens against the premieres of The Internship and White House Down.
Man of Steel is on track to cross the $200 million overseas mark this weekend and Australia is primed to be one of the leading markets for Superman's weekend take. This will likely cause a steep drop for World War Z in its second frame, a factor mitigated by the wide expansion of Brad Pitt's zombie epic to more than fifteen territories, including major players like Germany, Italy, Russia, Brazil, and Mexico.
The country specific advertising of World War Z in Russia and Mexico has raised speculation for the film in the market. Russia originally played a big role in the zombie invasion epic, with a reported climactic action sequence set in the country that was excised when Paramount decided to reshoot the film's entire third act. Will Paramount's decision to remove Russia from the final cut of World War Z affect its box office performance in the market? Paramount has already tried to court the overseas box office with its decision to remove any negative references to China in the film. This was done in hopes of salvaging a Chinese release, an attempt done in vain according to The Wrap, which reports that Brad Pitt's latest was turned down by censors.
World War Z is also getting ready for a complicated premiere in Brazil. The nation is currently facing mounting public protests amid social unrest in a country that critics claim has been more focused on building the necessary infrastructure for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games than providing more accessible living standards for its citizens. The first protests were organized around the Confederations Cup soccer tournament, where the host nation's beloved team has packed stadiums while growing crowds assemble in protests outside the gates. The situation in Brazil led to the cancellation of the World War Z premiere screening in Brazil, a decision that also scrapped a personal appearance by Brad Pitt for the event. Complicating matters is the fact that Brazil's national soccer team is slated to play the Confederations Cup Final at the country's Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.
The Heat was a trending topic on Twitter all last week, but the tweets were mostly referring to the Miami Heat's 2013 NBA Championship. The other Heat, the comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, will open day-and-date in over a dozen minor territories this weekend. Melissa McCarthy is coming off a hard time at the overseas box office with her previous release; Identity Thief was a hit in North America but couldn't find similar traction with overseas audiences, ending its run with a $40.5 million cume outside of North America. The most important overseas markets for Identity Thief were Australia ($7.3M), the U.K. ($7.2M), and Germany ($5.4M).
The Heat is Sandra Bullock's third comedy in the last decade, after the 2009 flop All About Steve ($40M Global) and the underperforming Miss Congeniality 2 ($101.3M Global). Fox will be hoping the comedy performs along the lines of the the $120 million overseas total made by Bridesmaids. Melissa McCarthy was featured in a scene-stealing supporting role in Bridesmaids, a film that benefitted from great runs in the U.K. ($37.3M), Australia ($28.9M), and Germany ($8.1M). Those ("big") three markets will be vital for The Heat in its upcoming overseas expansion.
The Internship is another comedy adding new markets this weekend, as the film expands to additional territories this weekend. The Internship closed the previous weekend on the verge of surpassing the $10 million overseas mark. The Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson vehicle has struggled in North America, currently posting a disappointing $39.8 million total. The only significant overseas markets so far for The Internship have been Australia ($4.3M) and Russia ($2.6M). The Internship will hope to see a boost from its debut in France and Spain this weekend.
We can't finish a global preview without dedicating time to the latest loud blockbuster seeing a day-and-date release. Roland Emmerich's White House Down will kick off day-and-date with North America in several key markets this weekend. The Sony release will premiere in South Korea and France, hoping for a good start that will help overshadow the $62.1 million overeseas take of Olympus Has Fallen. It shouldn't be a problem for White House Down to outperform the Antoine Fuqua film; White House Down has the distinct advantage of Sony's distribution and marketing power, the sort of financial and institutional support missing from Olympus Has Fallen as it was facing off against Iron Man 3 earlier this summer.
Sony will keep a close eye on the film's performance following the disappointing performance of After Earth in North America. The Will Smith father-son vehicle flopped in North America, currently posting a $57.8 million gross. The numbers have been positive overseas for the post-apocalyptic sci-fi film, but still nowhere near what Sony needs to take pressure off its other releases. After Earth ended last weekend with a $114 million overseas total, expanding to Spain, Denmark, and Turkey this weekend. If White House Down falls flat, Sony's only hope at rescuing a terrible summer will be in the hands of the Matt Damon sci-fi tent-pole Elysium, scheduled for an August release in North America.
Man of Steel won a head-to-head battle against the premiere of World War Z in the United Kingdom. The Superman reboot took in $7.8 million over the weekend, retaining the top spot at the box office and raising its UK total to $33.2 million. Man of Steel currently posts a $188.3 million global cume, making the United Kingdom a vital market for the superhero film. Man of Steel is on track to outperform the success of Fast & Furious 6, which has grossed $37.8 million in six weeks, by next weekend. Brad Pitt's World War Z opened in second place with $6.9 million, barely edging out Superman in the per-screen average category.
It was a slow weekend for the rest of the releases, with new openings Snitch and Before Midnight landing in the bottom half of the table. That isn't to say that Before Midnight disappointed in its UK premiere; the third entry in the Jesse and Celine franchise averaged $3,451 from 106 screens -only behind Man of Steel and World War Z in the category. Snitch couldn't pack theaters in the same way, settling for middling $1,356 average from 305 screens in its debut.
Steven Soderbergh's Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra, is proving resilient at the UK box office. The film has grossed $3.8 million over three weeks, a good number considering the film didn't receive a theatrical release in North America.
Box Office Results for the United Kingdom. Weekend of June 21-23, 2013
After Earth opened to a $2 million weekend in Japan, claiming the top spot at the box office. The film is comparing favorably against previous performances from director M Night Shyamalan and co-star Jayden Smith in the market; After Earth did nearly double the business of Shyamalan's The Last Airbender and scored 5% higher than Jayden's The Karate Kid reboot.
The Great Gatsby held well in its second frame, only dropping 24% for a $1.3 million weekend and a $5.3 million cume in Japan. The market has also given a significant late push to Oblivion and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. The Tom Cruise vehicle has grossed $12.2 million in four weeks, a welcome contribution as Oblivion nears the $200 million overseas mark. It doesn't look like Japan will be able to push the sci-fi flick over the hump, however, as the film is currently posting a $195.6 million total outside of North America.
Japan will be able to help G.I. Joe: Retaliation reach a milestone of its own, with the film currently posting a $249.6 million overseas total. G.I. Joe: Retaliation should be able to break the $250 million overseas mark within the next two weeks in Japan, where it has currently grossed a $7.9 million total after three weeks in release.
Box Office Results for Japan. Weekend of June 21-23, 2013.
A $7.9 million opening weekend in France helped Man of Steel dominate the box office against three other new releases that broke into the top ten. The Warner Bros. Superman reboot averaged $9,243 in 862 locations to win in the per-screen average column as well.
The French comedy Josephine came in second place with a $1.5 million opening weekend. The French comedy features a cat named Brad Pitt and it will be interesting to see if the feline can put up a fight against the upcoming release of the human Brad Pitt's World War Z.
Star Trek Into Darkness fell 60% in its second frame to bring in $1.3 million to its French gross. The sci-fi sequel has made of $5.3 million in France. It was just enough to knock down the opening weekend of Les Beaux Jours, which opened in nearly half the current screen count of the latest Star Trek and managed to challenge the Hollywood blockbuster for third place. Fellow Hollywood sci-fi film After Earth fell 38% in its second weekend for a $1.1 million three-day gross and an $8.2 million French total.
Box Office Results for France. Weekend of June 21-23, 2013.
School is out for the winter in Australia, and that means big numbers for the box office. World War Z took off with the top spot, grossing $5.5 million across 464 screens in its opening weekend. The zombie epic was closely trailed by Despicable Me 2, released early in Australia to cash in on the young audiences with time to spare. Despicable Me 2 grossed $4.6 million in its opening frame, boosting its total to $6.7 million after the previous week's paid previews. Despicable Me 2 won in a head-to-head battle of animated sequels against Monsters University. Pixar's latest came in third with a $3.5 million opening weekend.
Box Office Results for Australia. June 21-23, 2013