China & Japan Continue To Keep Turnstiles Spinning; ‘Demon Slayer’ Tops $150M – International Box Office

Nancy Tartaglione
·4 min read

MONDAY UPDATE, writethru after Sunday 10:16AM post: Asia continues to power international box office with local titles atop the charts. This is a trend we can expect to carry on as the Hollywood studios have widely vacated the rest of 2020, and as Europe begins a re-closing process amid coronavirus spikes.

In just the last week, France shuttered its cinemas while the country went into a second lockdown — currently expected to last until early December. The UK will enter another confinement period on November 5 and Germany will close its cinemas from today. Last weekend, Italy said it was shutting down and Spain is under a curfew. Good times…

This weekend, China’s Korean War epic The Sacrifice led box office in the Middle Kingdom with an estimated $28.9M frame and has now grossed $106.4M after two sessions. Behind it, Japanese anime Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna arrived in China after doing solid business in other parts of Asia amid the reopening process this summer.

But as with the past few weeks, attention should be paid to Japan. Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train is not slowing. Figures reported out of Japan bring the total to 15.8B yen ($150.6M) after 17 days in release. The FSS weekend was an estimated $28.7M. The anime adaptation, which last week became the fastest movie to 10B yen, is now the 10th highest grossing film ever in the market, overtaking Avatar, and is expected to continue its ascension. Coming up this week, Tuesday is a holiday. Hayao Miyazaki’s 2011 Spirited Away is the all-time Japan leader at 30.8B yen. Funimation releases Demon Slayer domestically early next year.

Demon Slayer mania is robust in Japan, where, according to The Japan Times, a train inspired by the film was rolled out in Kyushu on Sunday and will run for a limited time from Kumamoto Station in Kumamoto Prefecture to Hakata Station in Fukuoka Prefecture. Original merchandise will be sold on board, with commemorative goods given to passengers dressed up in traditional Japanese wear typical of the Taisho Era in which the film is set.

IMAX, which reported a $47M loss this week, but revenues that were much better versus the previous quarter, is benefiting from its involvement in Asian titles. The third session for Toho/Aniplex’s Demon Slayer set yet another milestone in Japan, dropping only 11% to earn $1.84M from 38 IMAX screens. The per screen average was $48K and this third weekend becomes IMAX’s 4th highest box office weekend ever in Japan, behind the same film’s first two weekends and only 4% below prior opening weekend record-holder, Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. The 3rd weekend also shatters the previous 3rd weekend IMAX Japan record held by Skywalker by more than double.

IMAX’s total on Demon Slayer thus far is $8.9M, making it the 2nd highest grossing IMAX box office total in Japan behind Bohemian Rhapsody ($13.4M) which had legged out over four months.

In China, IMAX grossed another $1.6M from 670 IMAX screens playing The Sacrifice which equals 4% of the overall weekend box office from just over 1% of screens playing the film. The IMAX cume now stands at $6M, or 5.5% of the overall total.

As for Tenet, the IMAX global cume is now $40M. Overall, Tenet is at $293.3M offshore (with a -38% hold this weekend) for $347.1M global. The Top 5 are China ($66.5M), Japan ($24.1M), UK ($22.7M), France ($22.5M) and Germany ($19.3M). An additional 18 markets have yet to release, including Argentina, India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Elsewhere, and new this session, Warner Bros debuted The Witches in 17 international markets, taking in an estimated $4.8M on 5,723 screens. Russia led play at $1.6M, on par with The House With A Clock On Its Walls and Goosebumps 2. In Mexico, an $823K opening was the best debut in the market of any film in the pandemic era. Germany ($482K), Saudi Arabia ($466K) and Spain ($390K) round out the Top 5. The Robert Zemeckis-directed pic, which is on HBOMax domestically, will head to nine more overseas markets next weekend including Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

Also new, Focus/Amblin’s PG-13 horror movie Come Play, which topped domestic this session, made $575K from 12 international markets, including Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Hong Kong, Portugal, Greece, Croatia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and Serbia. Amblin Partners and Universal Pictures are distributing the film internationally.

STX’s Greenland added $1.77M from 1,645 offshore locations for an international cume to date of $36.2M. Austria opened to No. 1, taking the total markets where the Gerard Butler-starrer has bowed atop the charts to 27. In Germany, Greenland increased by 17% and has now cumed $2.24M, outpacing all comps.

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