FRIDAY UPDATE: With its Thursday figures tallied, Disney’s rerelease of James Cameron’s Avatar has grossed $3.5M from 37 international box office markets. On a like-for-like overseas basis, that two-day number places the return to Pandora 57% ahead of the 2012 3D reissue of Star Wars: Episode I and 29% below the 2012 3D version of Cameron’s own Titanic which had an Easter holiday bow.
The Avatar rerelease comes a little under three months ahead of the launch of Avatar: The Way of Water, and acts as a refresher on the world of the Na’vi and the immersive 3D visuals — 50% of offshore screens are showing it in 3D this weekend with strong uptake in Korea, France, Germany and other majors. There’s also sneak footage from Way of Water tagged onto the Avatar reissue, giving audiences a taste of what’s to come for the highly-anticipated sequel.
On Thursday, key markets Italy ($300K), Germany and Mexico ($200K apiece) each saw No. 1 launches for the remastered /20th Century Studios title. Other No. 1s were in Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Ukraine, Singapore, Thailand, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.
Australia, where the film started at No. 3 on Thursday, had a $400K opening day, 36% ahead of the 2012 Titanic reissue. 3D repped 69% of the box office.
Leading the charge so far on the rerelease is France at $700K from two days, followed by Australia, Italy, Saudi Arabia ($300K/two days) and Korea ($300K/two days/$446K through today). Notably in the latter, whose Friday number is not included in the overall total above, audience reactions are very positive with a Naver score of 9.82 and a CGV score of 98%.
North America releases today (coming in with about $2.5M in presales) as well as the UK, Japan and India among key markets.
We’ll have more updates throughout the weekend.
PREVIOUS, THURSDAY: Disney yesterday began overseas rollout on the remastered rerelease of James Cameron’s Avatar in five early markets with the Na’vi seeing a collective $877K gross. The 4K high dynamic range version was No. 1 in France at $513K, coming in 8% ahead of the comparable 3D rerelease of Titanic in 2012.
In Korea, the 20th Century Studios film was No. 3 behind two local titles (through Thursday, it’s taken in $277K). Elsewhere, Avatar came in No. 2 in Saudi Arabia and No. 1 in both Belgium and Philippines.
Today adds such markets as Germany, Italy, Australia, Brazil and Mexico. In total, Avatar will play on over 8,000 offshore screens and in North America this weekend.
As we reported on Wednesday, social media was abuzz as it emerged that sneak footage of the upcoming sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, was tagged onto the end of the film. Reactions were highly positive.
Meanwhile, Disney is pulling out the stops when it comes to Avatar and China. To coincide with the opening of Shanghai Disney Resort’s Avatar: Explore Pandora immersive exhibition, the park held a special screening of the movie, replete with a message from the filmmaker.
In China, the one-off screening utilized the CINITY technology that was developed in the country. Avatar is not rereleasing wide in the market as it was already in cinemas there last year.
The news follows word that executives from China Film Group were recently treated to a screening of footage from the upcoming Way of Water, receiving a surprise greeting from Cameron.
It’s too early for word of an Avatar 2 release in China, though it’s a massive market for the franchise with the first film doing over $200M there way back in 2010, and the rerelease adding $58M. That pushed the Na’vi past Avengers: Endgame to reclaim the crown of highest-grossing film of all time at the global box office.
Shanghai Disney’s Explore Pandora, a temporary installation slated for a six-month engagement, will be the first Avatar-themed touring exhibition hosted in a Disney park worldwide. Designed in collaboration with Lightstorm Entertainment and Disney Location-Based Experiences, the walkthrough exhibition offers guests an exploration of the fantastical alien moon of Pandora, the culture of the Na’vi and their bioluminescent environments.
Set across 1,400-square meters, it features life-sized recreations of iconic landmarks from the film, including the Tree of Voices. Standing six meters in height, the centerpiece is a glowing recreation of the movie’s sacred place of connection containing whispers from the ancestors of the Na’vi.
High-tech interactives include the Amplified Mobility Platform (AMP) suit simulator, as well as an opportunity to be “Avatarized.” There’s also a shopping experience.
Avatar: The Way of Water begins overseas rollout on December 14 this year and lands in North America on December 16.
Dino-Might: ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ Crosses $1B At Worldwide Box Office
The dinosaurs have done it as Universal/Amblin’s Jurassic World Dominion crossed the $1B mark at the global box office with Thursday’s business included. It took a little while, but that shouldn’t diminish that this makes the Colin Trevorrow-directed installment, one of only three films to the milestone since the beginning of the pandemic. It is the No. 2 film of 2022 behind Top Gun: Maverick.
The split through Thursday is just over $376M domestic and also just over $624M at the international box office.
JWD is the 7th Universal title to reach $1B worldwide, and the 3rd in the Jurassic World franchise whose total global box office now stands at $6.02B.
The film, hatched from the Michael Crichton novel and starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum, kicked off early overseas rollout at the beginning of June, topping $500M global in its first two weeks (one of only 10 Hollywood movies to the mark during the pandemic and one of six in 2022).
Also in June, it passed $600M internationally, becoming one of five Hollywood films to do so in the pandemic and one of only two in 2022.
JWD further snagged an increasingly elusive China release, going on to gross $158M for the title of biggest import in 2022 and 3rd biggest Hollywood movie of the Covid era.
Along with Illumination’s Minions: The Rise of Gru, Blumhouse’s The Black Phone, DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys and Jordan Peele’s Nope, JWD also helped propel Universal’s 2022 worldwide haul past $3B last month, becoming the first studio to get there since 2019.
Upcoming titles from Universal include Billy Eichner-starrer Bros; Ticket to Paradise with George Clooney and Julia Roberts — already doing well in offshore release; She Said about New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor; Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical The Fablemans which recently won the Toronto Film Festival People’s Choice Award; and DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.
On deck from Focus are Tar starring Cate Blanchett who won the Best Actress prize at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month; and James Gray’s Armageddon Time, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Seduces $3.1M In Previews – Box Office
Warner Bros.’ original projection for the movie starring Harry Styles and Florence Pugh was $17M this week, while industry sources peg the R-rated pic’s start between $20M-$26M. I had heard that AMC’s internal projections were $27M two days ago — and that was based off presales.
As of right now, the audience score for Don’t Worry Darling is high at 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, beating that of critics’ whine of 36% Rotten. In early Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak figures, which we’ll update throughout the weekend, Don’t Worry Darling notched three stars, with a 66% positive. Women under 25 — those Harry Styles fans — are turning out big as expected, with 40% giving the pic a 75%, followed by women over 25 at 28%, men over 25 at 23% and men under 25 at 8%. The 18-34 demo repped 64% of Thursday night’s attendees.
The film arrives after weeks of sometimes-bizarre headlines chronicling various controversies, from Shia LaBeouf’s withdrawal from the project and questions over Florence Pugh’s absence at a Venice Film Festival press conference to the debunked suggestion that Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine.
The number is bigger than last year’s female-skewing House of Gucci, which made $1.3M in its Tuesday previews before Thanksgiving, and just under Gaga’s A Star Is Born, which made $4.55M in its combined previews ($3.2M in its sole Thursday previews) back in October 2018. You want auteur genre comps? Don’t Worry Darling also made more than the previews for Jordan Peele’s Get Out, which had a $1.8M Thursday night.
Meanwhile, Disney’s re-release of 20th Century Studios’ Avatar posted previews of $2.5M in presales. Around 45% of sales are for IMAX 3D, and total 3D is over 95%. The film is projected to post a weekend in the high single digits. This puts the pic’s domestic gross at $763M, where it resides as the fourth highest ever in U.S./Canada, after Star Wars Force Awakens ($936.6M), Avengers: Endgame ($858.3M) and Spider-Man: No Way Home ($814M). The James Cameron directed Oscar winner earned $3.5M in 32 offshore markets after two days putting its global take at $2.85 billion — still the highest grossing movie ever ahead of Avengers: Endgame ($2.79 billion).
Among those titles in regular release, TriStar’s Viola Davis female African warrior film The Woman King ended its first week with an estimated $25.1M at 3,765 theaters. The movie is expected to hold with a second weekend of $11M-$12M. It made $1.2M on Thursday, -8% from Wednesday.
20th Century Studios/New Regency/Disney’s Barbarian ends its second week with $9M at 2,340 for a running total of $23.6M. The pic grossed $540K on Thursday. A24’s horror movie Pearl was third on Thurday with $320K and a first week of $4.7M at 2,935 theaters.
Searchlight’s See How They Run booked at 2,404 locations earned $260K yesterday for a $4.2M first week.
In fifth was Top Gun: Maverick at 2,604 with $230K, a $3.1M 17th weekend and $710M running total.
International Insider: Queen Elizabeth Laid To Rest; TF1 & M6 Union Collapses; Spiky In San Sebastian
Come in quickly, Insiders. It’s getting colder out there. Jesse Whittock here with a rundown of this week’s top news and analysis, coming to you from across Europe.
Queen Elizabeth Laid To Rest
The world says goodbye: Following Queen Elizabeth II’s passing on September 8, the mourning period that came after and the thousands of stories about to the never-ending queue to see her laying in state in central London, the monarch’s funeral was held on Monday. The likes of Joe Biden, Killing Eve’s Sandra Oh and even Bear Grylls joined the Royal Family to pay respect to the UK’s longest-serving monarch. Caroline Frost was on hand to keep you informed. Following the religious service at Westminster Abbey, the funeral procession stretched more than a mile long. When the Queen was finally laid to rest at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, the world saw for the first time the symbolic breaking of the Wand of Office on television — a moment representing the end of her era and the beginning of King Charles III’s reign.
Procession in numbers: Max dug into the ratings and found a massive 37.5M watched the funeral across the day, with 27M tuning in for the procession — more than those who watched Princess Diana’s funeral in 1997. In the UK, most watched on BBC One, as the public service broadcasters once again proved their worth at a time national unity was required. With new Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan set to review the government’s plan to scrap the BBC license fee and the sale of Channel 4 into private hands beginning to sound, the PSBs will feel their work this week was a triumph, albeit in solemn circumstances. The events were no cash cow for Britain’s commercial broadcasters, however, as they all dropped advertising during the televised events as a mark of respect. Find all of our coverage here and here.
Do not merge: The signs French broadcasters TF1 and M6’s planned merger was on the rocks began when TF1 CEO Gilles Pelisson said the “dream” wasn’t shared by the competition authorities back in July. That prophecy became reality this week, when it emerged the deal had collapsed, with French competition authorities apparently unconvinced a pairing would not materially impact the local TV advertising market. A joint statement from TF1 and M6 said the French Competition Authority would only have been satisfied by the sale of the one of the broadcasters’ channels — and there was never a realistic chance that could happen. M6 owner Bertelsmann, whose CEO Thomas Rabe is pictured, reacted by putting M6 up for sale, with Banijay owner Stéphane Courbit, Vivendi, Mediawan and MediaForEurope all connected with potential bids. TF1 has moved for a succession plan, with French media veteran Rodolphe Belmer set to replace Pelisson as CEO, with the latter moving upstairs to parent Bouygues Group. For now, though, M6 and TF1 must lick their wounds as they wish each other ‘adieu’ and ‘bon chance.’
Creative Investors Get Spiky In San Sebastian
‘Venice sold its soul’: Over to Zac Ntim with this exclusive report from Spain — As always, San Sebastian boasted a bumper lineup of intriguing titles such as Sebastián Lelio’s The Wonder, starring Florence Pugh, and the newly re-edited version of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths. However, on the ground, all eyes were on the festival’s inaugural Creative Investors’ Conference, organized with CAA Media Finance. The conference was held at the imposing Tabakalera cultural arts centre and featured a series of keynotes by industry stalwarts. The hottest session of the conference featured a discussion between Wild Bunch co-founder Vincent Maraval and CAA Media Finance’s Roeg Sutherland. During the lengthy session, the pair discussed the current state of the industry, during which Maraval gave his take on Netflix and its relationship with the Cannes and Venice film festivals. Calling out a “mistake”, he claimed “the four first days of Venice look like the Netflix Film Festival — Ted Sarandos is on the red carpet welcoming people. I think Venice sold its soul to Netflix.” Overall, the sessions were lengthy but dynamic and often spawned innovative discussions on the issues hitting the film industry hard today. Read on.
Corralling opinion: Elsewhere, Deadline sat down with Domingo Corral, Director of Original Fiction at Movistar Plus+, Spain’s biggest pay-TV/SVOD operator. This year, the Telefonica-owned streamer had two original TV series and one feature film screening at San Sebastian. Corral spoke about the company’s production strategy and how he competes with global streamers like Netflix and Disney+. Go deeper.
Counting The Cost Of Living
Helping hands required: Britain, it’s fair to say, is facing the worst cost-of-living conditions in recent memory, with interest rates shooting up as wages stagnate. That is translating to the TV production sector, where costs have been spiking — creatives are understandably worried about making ends meet and are looking for reassurance. My international TV partner-in-crime Max decided to push the UK’s broadcasters on what they’re doing to help, after Pact CEO John McVay said they needed to be “sympathetic.” So, what did Max find? Well, Channel 4 is reviewing its commissioning tariffs and has increased its content budget by more than £50M ($56M), while ITV and Paramount-owned Channel 5 said they were working closely with their suppliers to ensure funding was sufficient. The BBC wouldn’t go on the record but appears to be subscribing to a flexible cost model, which sits alongside its Small Indie and Production Management Funds. More.
Na’vigating ‘Avatar’s Re-release
The way of watchers: Disney began the global re-release of the original Avatar this week, launching the James Cameron mega-bucks spinner in several European countries, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines and Australia among others. Results were pretty good, as Nancy Tartaglione flagged: in France, the 4k high dynamic range version was No. 1, bringing in $513,000 and also took decent money in Saudi and Korea. Number one rankings were achieved in Belgium and the Philippines, as the film gears up to play in 8,000 offshore screens and in North America this month. How much of this was driven by the revelation footage from the long-gestating sequel Avatar: The Way of Water appears at the end of the film can’t be known but it certainly won’t have hurt. The Way of Water begins rolling out on December 14, landing in North America two days later. More on the return to Pandora here.
RIP Hilary Mantel: The much-loved author behind BBC period drama Wolf Hall has passed away aged 70, it emerged this morning. The writer of several historical fiction books was made a Dame in 2014 for her contributions to literature and is the only woman to have won the Booker Prize twice. She will be sadly missed.
🌶️ Hot One: CAA scored a coup by signing hot director SS Rajamouli, whose box office RRR (Rise Roar Revolt) has been India’s biggest hit of the year. Andreas broke this one.
🌶️ Another One: Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz) and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) are set to re-team for comedic thriller Svalta, after they starred together in Fighting With My Family.
🌶️ Very spicy: Alice Diop’s hotly tipped French feature Saint Omer secured distribution in numerous territories for Wild Bunch International. Melanie had the exclusive.
🌶️ More fire: Eight-figure action here, as Open Road Films buys U.S. rights to Gerard Butler thriller Kandahar. Andreas with this one.
👩🏻💼 New job: Vice Studios boss Kate Ward heads to BBC Studios to lead factual content.
🛫 Mipcom-bound: Keshet International bags rights to ambitious Portuguese period drama Cuba Libre, I revealed Tuesday.
❌ Rejected: Bulgaria’s Oscars submission Mother, as Deadline TV Editor-in-Chief Nellie Andreeva wrote this week.
Zachary Ntim contributed to this week’s Insider.
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