World Box Office June 23-29
After a tremendous opening run Transformers: Age of Extinction is not just this weekend’s number one movie, but also that of every weekend this year to date. Michael Bay’s fourth installment of the Paramount tent-pole series, revamped with Mark Wahlberg taking the place of recently troubled star Shia Lebouf and the addition of robotic dinosaurs, earned $100 million at the domestic box office. Perhaps even more impressive was the film’s performance in China. T:AOE opened to $90 million from approximately 4,000 screens, the biggest debut in history for a foreign film in the world’s second largest film market. Careful attention was put into ensuring breakaway success in the Middle Kingdom. Paramount invested heavily in PR and advertisement there, enlisted Chinese actress Li Bingbing, and shot several key scenes in iconic locations within the nation with help from China Film Corporation. Last but not least, it hosted the world premiere in Hong Kong. Elsewhere the new king of summer screens shattered a slew of other less dramatic records. In the Philippines, it was the third largest opening of all time, and the biggest ever for Paramount. Hong Kong saw Age of Extinction earn the highest grossing debut in the territory’s history with $4.8 million, as did Indonesia with $5.7 Million. In Singapore it was the biggest 4-day opener ever with $4.1 million coming from just 28 locations, and in South Korea it had the best debut of the year with $2.15 million. These and other opening numbers have taken this summer’s biggest film to a $301.3 million global cumulative in its first weekend. Launches in Europe and Latin America, where audiences have their minds squarely fixed on the World Cup, were purposely avoided. With these releases yet to come and 4th of July weekend approaching with no significant fresh competition scheduled for release expect Transformers: Age of Extinction make good use of its sturdy mechanical legs and continue to impress for the coming month.
This weekend was truly remarkable for films in the Far East: the number two international earner was Chinese comedy The Break Up Guru. A sort of Mandarin anti-Hitch with a bit more Kung Fu and mental instability, Break Up stars Chao Deng, who also directed the film, as a maniacal professional relationship killer. It took $20.5 million from the Chinese market and limited engagements in the US despite stiff competition from Transformers.
In third place abroad and fourth in North America was How to Train Your Dragon 2, which earned $17.9 million and $13.4 million respectively in the two major accounting categories. The DreamWorks and Fox sequel has now made a global cumulative of $229.2 million, and looks unlikely to equal the original’s success.
22 Jump Street finished second at home with $15.4, and has now passed the original’s domestic total in just its third week with a domestic total of $139.8 million. Last weekend’s top earner Think Like a Man Too slid 67%, finishing third on the domestic table with $10.4 million. With a cumulative of $48.1 million, it has now doubled its budget and is a definite success. On the subject of low-budget earners, The Fault in Our Stars reached $195.2 million globally over the weekend, meaning it has grossed well 17 times its reported production budget of $12 million.
Disney’s Maleficent crossed the $200 domestic million mark this weekend, as did Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which finally reached the milestone after its 9th weekend in US and Canadian theaters.
South Korean feature Snowpiercer was added to the North American market this weekend by the Weinstein Company. Directed by Bong Joon-Ho and starring Chris Evans, Octavia Spencer and Tilda Swinton, this post-apocalyptic class-war thriller received a limited US release and earned $162,000 from eight screens.
Fellow new release America, from documentarian Dinesh D’Souza, enjoyed a successful test-run in Atlanta this weekend and is set for wider distribution over the next week. The film, presented as a sequel to his pervious feature, 2016: Obama’s America, the second best selling political documentary of all time. The new release is aimed at conservative and far right audiences and presents the United States in an unusually positive historical context.
Studios are holding off on putting anything big up against Transformers, but next weekend we will see Warner Bros’ Tammy, Relativity’s Earth to Echo, and Sony horror flick Deliver Us From Evil throw in their lot for this years 4th of July frame.