‘YOLO’ Thrives In Chinese New Year Bow; ‘Wonka’ Nears $600M Worldwide – International Box Office

The international box office was generally muted this weekend, save for in China which ushered in the Year of the Dragon on Saturday, and with it the lucrative Chinese New Year moviegoing period. According to early figures from Maoyan, the first two days of Spring Festival 2024 amassed RMB 2.44B ($339M), just a touch below the comparable days in 2023.

Although Maoyan’s Pegasus 2 was tops on Saturday, the first day of the holiday, ultimately it was the Jia Ling CFG/Alibaba inspirational film YOLO that won the weekend with an estimated RMB 804M ($112M/comScore has it slightly lower at $110.4M) across the two-day stretch. IMAX accounted for $3.6M of that. It often happens that the day-one winner is overtaken on day two.

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An adaptation of the 2014 Japanese movie 100 Yen Love, YOLO (aka You Only Live Once) centers on Le Ying (Jia), an unemployed woman in her 30s who still lives with her parents until one day, she meets a boxing coach who may just change her life.

According to local media, the director/star/writer lost 50 kilos for her role and had been absent from promotional events to build suspense about her appearance.

While many Chinese New Year movies don’t travel, this one is getting an assist from Sony which has acquired international distribution rights. It also recently took remake rights to Jia’s 2021 smash Hi, Mom which is currently in development.

Maoyan is predicting an RMB 4.4B ($611M) finish for YOLO.

In second place in China was Pegasus 2 with an estimated RMB 760.2M ($105.6M) including $4.6M from IMAX screens. The sequel from Han Han follows a former racing champion turned down on his luck driving instructor who receives an offer to lead a new team. With a 9.7 on Maoyan, the site is predicting an RMB 3.3B ($460M) final.

Boonie Bears: Time Twist, which marks the 10th anniversary of the animated franchise, was third for the first two days of the holiday with RMB 443.4M ($62M) and a forecast of RMB 2.3B ($320M).

Zhang Yimou’s Article 20 came in at RMB 337.1M ($47M), followed by Viva La Vida and The Movie Emperor which didn’t catch on, landing RMB 56.1M ($8M) and RMB 46.2M ($6.4M), respectively.

Elsewhere, leading play for the studios, Sony’s soaring romcom Anyone But You dipped by just 30% this frame, adding $9.7M in 50 markets to bring the offshore cume to $90M and global to $170M. It has now overtaken Ticket to Paradise worldwide. Individual holds were again strong in such markets as Belgium (+1%), Australia (-4%), France (-9%), Spain (-18%), Brazil (-20%), UK (-24%), Netherlands (-25%) and Germany (-33%).

The Top 5 to date are Australia ($13.7M), UK ($12.6M), Germany ($10.3M), Mexico ($6.8M) and Italy ($5.6M).

Apple Original Films’ Argylle dropped by 46% for a $9.4M overseas weekend, bringing the cume to $31.3M internationally and $60.1M global. Offshore, the movie is performing above The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and in line with The Gentlemen. Despite Matthew Vaughn’s popularity in Korea, the start there was a soft $753K at 520 locations. The Top 5 markets to date are the UK ($4.7M), Australia ($2.8M), France ($2.6M), Mexico ($2.6M) and Germany ($2.4M). China and Japan are still to come, in late February and early March, respectively.

Warner Bros/Village Roadshow/Heyday Films’ Wonka generated an estimated $8.5M this weekend from 74 overseas markets. With $382.3M internationally, the global cume is approaching $600M currently with $587.6M.

After its terrific debut last frame, Wonka held No. 1 in Korea, dropping by just 16% during the Lunar New Year holiday weekend. In the market, the film has now surpassed the lifetime grosses of The Greatest Showman and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

The UK continues to lead all play at $77.3M, followed by France ($30.1M), Mexico ($27M), Australia ($25.5M) and Germany ($24.3M).

Illumination/Universal’s Migration added $6.7M from 79 markets for an international cume of $125M and a worldwide running total of $235.2M. It debuted in Hong Kong, grossing $297K in a crowded market amid the commencement of the Lunar New Year festival. The opening came in well above Sing 2. Public holidays will run through February 13. In its sophomore frame in the UK, Migration was still No. 1. Now with $8.4M, it’s on par with Elemental and above Moana and Wish at the same point. Half term holidays begin this week. Germany has reached $18M, above Puss in Boots 2 and in line with Sing at the same point, surpassing the lifetimes of Elemental and Moana.

Germany leads the Top 5 to date, followed by France ($11.1M), Australia ($10.3M), Mexico ($8.8M) and the UK ($8.4M). Japan releases March 15.

Searchlight’s 11-time Oscar nominee Poor Things saw a 34% decrease across 43 overseas markets, adding $6.6M to take the international total above $50M ($50.9M). Globally, the Emma Stone-starrer is now at $81.2M.

Significant markets showing strong holds include Spain (-26%), Germany (-27%), Australia (-29%), Mexico (-30%), France (-31%), Brazil (-32%) and the UK (-38%).

New in the sessions was Netherlands with $500K for a start that’s 41% ahead of Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite.

With a total to date of $6.7M in Italy, Poor Things has already surpassed the lifetimes of Killers of the Flower Moon, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and Knives Out.

Italy is the No. 2 market, behind the UK with $8.2M. The Top 5 is rounded out by Mexico ($4.2M), Germany ($3.9M) and France ($3.4M).

Korea comes on board March 6.

Also from Searchlight, All of Us Strangers now has a global cume of $10.4M, including $6.6M from international. Most major overseas markets open this month.

The Beekeeper (MIR): $3.5M intl weekend (63 markets); $79.2M intl cume/$133.8M global
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (WB): $2.1M intl weekend (75 markets); $307.4M intl cume/$429.7M global 
Eine Million Minuten (WB): $1.7M intl weekend (Germany only); $4.3M Germany cume
The Holdovers (UNI): $1.5M intl weekend (38 markets); $17.9M intl cume/$37.8M global
Mean Girls (PAR): $1.4M intl weekend (34 markets); $28.6M intl cume/$97.8M global
The Color Purple (WB): $1.4M intl weekend (32 markets); $5.5M intl cume/$66M global
Night Swim (UNI): $1.25M intl weekend (50 markets); $16.6M intl cume/$46.6M global
Five Nights at Freddy’s (UNI): $745K intl weekend (79 markets – new opener Japan); $154.2M intl cume/$292M global

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