‘Avatar’: China Re-Issue Retains Crown In 2nd Weekend; Is Middle Kingdom Ready To Embrace Fresh Upcoming Hollywood Product? – International Box Office
Refresh for latest…: James Cameron’s Avatar held the top spot at the global and international box office this weekend with $14.1M in China for the Friday-Sunday frame. The 2009 sci-fi epic re-released in the Middle Kingdom last weekend — when it reclaimed the title of all-time highest-grossing movie worldwide from Avengers: Endgame — and now counts an overseas cume of $2,073.2M for $2,833.7M global (all releases included).
Avatar remained at No. 1 in China this session, dropping just 33%, and has grossed $44M across two weekends. The film is now the market’s biggest re-release of the Covid era, well above Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone whose 3D version came out last August and resulted in an added $30M. Avatar will cross $50M in China during this run which will bring its total there to more than $250M; the movie leads pre-sales through Wednesday next week and Maoyan is predicting a finish around $57M. The current release has already topped Disney’s Mulan ($40.7M) and Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman 1984 ($25.5M), which were both new releases in the market during Covid.
In IMAX, the Avatar reissue grossed another $4.1M in the FSS session to take the estimated cume to date to $13.1M, 30% of the nationwide weekend gross on just 1% of screens. In total, IMAX’s global Avatar gross is now $256M, the only film in the company’s history to top $250M.
Avatar’s performance in China bodes well for the upcoming sequels, but it’s not necessarily a slam-dunk for new Hollywood movies that are prepping for release. We’ve heard positive buzz towards Godzilla Vs Kong next weekend, though pre-sales are not being reported by Moayan in China. Communist Party mouthpiece The Global Times posted a story on Thursday that said, “Hollywood tried to use the classic blockbuster Avatar to recapture the hearts of Chinese audiences. However, Hollywood studios have not realized that their traditional marketing plans in China can no longer stir up interest in their films and that it is time to make an adjustment by localizing their marketing.” The piece, which sources have cautioned is a China perspective, warned that Avatar’s “nostalgic sentiment that got Chinese audiences in theaters will not last long.” (NB Hollywood movies get very little advance notice of release dates in the current configuration.)
The Global Times piece did praise marketing for Raya And The Last Dragon, noting Disney had worked with vloggers on Bilibili with interviews enabling audiences to have a better grip on the film.
Raya is nevertheless at a low running cume of $17.4M in China. The good news is it led a blessedly re-opened Los Angeles (and thus all of domestic) this weekend. Overseas it added $8M from 29 markets. The offshore total is now $47.8M for $71.2M global.
This weekend was better for Raya in a number of hubs including Singapore (+30%), Spain (+23%) and Australia (+1%). Elsewhere it posted strong holds in New Zealand (-10%), Hong Kong (-16%), Vietnam (-26%), Japan (-30%), Korea (-35%), UAE (-37%), China (-38%) and Russia (-40%). Overall, the markets that were also open last weekend dropped by just -31% combined.
Strong word of mouth and a lack of competition are helping Raya with continued No. 1s in Spain, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, Trinidad and Uruguay. The Top 5 markets on Raya are China ($17.4M), Russia ($9.1M), Australia ($3.8M), Korea ($2.3M) and Japan ($2.1M). European majors are still to come pending reopenings.
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