Get ready for a huge weekend at the global box office: three of the summer's biggest films will be opening across different territories this weekend. Disney, Warner Brothers, and Paramount will split up the overseas market for the premieres of World War Z and Monsters University, along with a major global expansion for Man of Steel.
The main story heading in is Man of Steel's expansion to 24 additional overseas markets, including major players like France, Germany, Italy, Russia, China, and Spain. Man of Steel grossed $73.3 million from 25 overseas markets in its day-and-date release with North America. A $128.7 million weekend from North America helped boost the film for a global opening above the $200 million mark.
The top overseas markets for the Superman reboot last weekend include the United Kingdom's $17.4 million debut, Mexico's $9.6 million take, and an $8.6 million tally from South Korea. The rest of the money came in from smaller markets, with Man of Steel performing exceptionally well in the Philippines ($5.8M), Indonesia ($3.6M), India ($3.5M), Malaysia ($3.2M), and the United Arab Emirates ($2M).
Man of Steel should take care of its upcoming European territories easily this weekend. The big question, as it has been over the past couple of years, is how the film will fare in China. The first signs of a possible headline-grabbing gross for Superman's latest adventure surfaced after reports that Man of Steel bumped the release date of Fast & Furious 6 in China. Director Zack Snyder and star Henry Cavill attended last night's Man of Steel Chinese premiere at the Shanghai International Film Festival. A focus on China can make a big difference for a tent-pole, as is the case with the current success of Star Trek Into Darkness in China. Star Trek has grossed $52.89 million after 20 days in China, according to statistics provided by EntGroup. The box office numbers coming in from China are responsible for around 25% of the cumulative overseas gross of Star Trek Into Darkness.
Man of Steel is the only Hollywood film scheduled for release in China for the rest of the month. The current number #1 film at the Chinese box office is Switch, a poorly-reviewed domestic action thriller that was recently bashed by the Wall Street Journal as one of the worst Chinese blockbusters ever made. The stage is set for Superman to sweep Chinese audiences off their feet. This weekend brings the most significant expansion in Man of Steel's overseas release and the results will indicate the scope of the film's success. Upcoming releases in Australia (June 27), Brazil (July 12) and Japan (August 30) will ultimately help pad the film's global total.
Paramount's World War Z will have a more difficult time finding its feet overseas. The Brad Pitt vehicle will follow up Man of Steel's big weekend in South Korea and the majority of the smaller Asian markets. The United Kingdom brings a similar situation for the thriller, forcing World War Z to bump down Man of Steel's sophomore frame in the U.K. in order to make a significant dent in the market. A report from The Wrap earlier this month indicates that Chinese censors have turned down the film. World War Z will therefore be looking at Australia for as close to a guarantee as it can ask for. The packed release calendar will likely force World War Z to hold-over at a steady pace in its overseas release.
World War Z is technically a zombie movie but it hasn't been marketed that way. A closer point of comparison for the thriller is I am Legend, the post-apocalyptic Will Smith vehicle. I am Legend grossed $328.9 million overseas for a $585.3 million global cume. World War Z will be considered a success if it can get anywhere near that figure, but even that bar seems to be raised too high for the middling expectations surrounding Brad Pitt's passion project.
Monsters University will open day-and-date with North America in over 35 territories, including top markets like Germany, Australia, Russia, Mexico, Spain, and Brazil. The Disney/Pixar film will aim for family audiences as an alternative to Zach Snyder's darker take on the Superman franchise and World War Z's epic zombie invasion. Look for a big push from Latin America this weekend, as the region has become a welcoming home for early overseas releases of animated films.
The two other animated success stories of 2013 have come from Dreamworks, with The Croods taking over the spring with a surprising overseas run of $397.2 million and a global cume of $580.1 million. Epic has performed more modestly since its release earlier this summer, taking in $121.6 million overseas and posting a $219.3 million global total. Monsters, Inc. took in $269.4 million from its original overseas run to take its global total to $559.2 million. Last year's 3D re-issue of the same film brought in an overseas total of $15.7 million for a global cume of $49.7 million. That sets the expectations for Monsters University to at least reach the $500 million global mark.
This weekend's packed release calendar is sure to bring many surprises around the world. Check back with us throughout the weekend for live updates and the latest figures on the global box office.