‘Ad Astra’ Launches With $26M Overseas; ‘It Chapter Two’ & ‘Hollywood’ Top $200M – International Box Office

Nancy Tartaglione

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UPDATE, writethru: Newcomer Ad Astra, from Fox/New Regency and distributed by Disney, launched this weekend with an estimated $26M in 44 markets for a $45.2M worldwide start. The international box office debut is within the range we were hearing before the weekend, and is 49% ahead of last year’s First Man and 23% above 2016’s Arrival at today’s rates.

Like both of those more thriftily-priced comps, Ad Astra, which stars Brad Pitt and is directed by James Gray, got its start at the Venice Film Festival. Given the wattage of the media spotlight there, the Lido can act as a prime blast-off platform and likely contributed to No. 1 bows in France, Spain and Indonesia. Korea, however, was the top-grossing hub at a No. 2 $2.8M.

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The pensive Ad Astra has a bit of time before another Venice debut, Joker, releases, and could play similarly to Arrival which ultimately grossed $103M internationally (at historic rates). But that film carried a lower budget. A source calls the opening “Okay,” and cites good performance on premium screens plus potential in the weekdays and markets to come. This person, however, points to the expense of the movie. As Anthony has noted, we hear Ad Astra was greenlit for $80M, and reshoots put it over $100M. Bona Film Group covered 30% of the bill, which is why Disney doesn’t have China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Ad Astra is expected to release in China, though not until the upcoming national holiday celebrations are over.

Domestically, there was a divide between critics and audiences, and in France there is a similar split, but overseas exits won’t be fully fleshed out until tomorrow. Disney’s President of Theatrical Distribution, Cathleen Taff, tells Deadline this morning that while the “thought-provoking” inherited title “may not be for everybody, it is a high-quality film that has to be seen on the big screen.” IMAX this weekend contributed $6.6M globally. Of territories still to come, we hear there is good buzz in Russia and also Italy, particularly after the Lido launch.

Elsewhere, New Line/Warner Bros’ It Chapter Two’s $21.3M third frame pushed the Andy Muschietti-directed horror sequel across the $200M mark overseas, lifting the worldwide tally to $385.1M. Japan is still to come.

Domestic champ Downton Abbey, which began offshore rollout a week earlier, grossed $10M this session to bring the overseas cume to $30.8M in 32 markets. Midweeks in leading market the UK were solid. The cume there is $15.6M to date.

Sony/Bona’s Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood is another title to cross $200M at the international box office this weekend after a terrific Italy bow of $5.4M which reps Quentin Tarantino’s best ever in the market.

Other weekend milestones include Universal’s Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw gunning past $750M worldwide and Good Boys nearing $100M.

We are still waiting on detailed figures for Rambo: Last Blood, though comScore puts the overseas bow at $9.27M in 33 markets.

Breakdowns on the films above and more are being updated below.

NEW
AD ASTRA
James Gray’s Brad Pitt-starrer got off to a $26M overseas launch in 44 markets and including $2.6M from 296 IMAX screens. The pensive, big-canvas space thriller made $45.2M in its global debut. This comes after the Fox/New Regency film bowed to strong reviews in Venice. An expensive proposal, the movie is expected to get up to the $100M range internationally.

An “okay” start, there is potential for play through the midweeks and before Joker begins offshore rollout on October 2. Still, as Anthony has noted, finance sources say if Ad Astra ends up in the $150M worldwide range, it will end up losing $30M or so in two years after all markets play out.

The international box office debut came in 49% ahead of First Man and 23% above Arrival at today’s exchange rates. Those movies also bowed in Venice, but were made for fewer dollars.

The bulk of overseas opened this session, with Italy, Brazil and Russia still to come among majors. Disney is not handling distribution in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong where Bona has rights. A China date has yet to be set.

There were No. 1 debuts in France, Spain, Norway, Indonesia and Singapore. Ad Astra was the top western title in Japan, Korea, Thailand and the Philippines.

Korea and the UK were the best plays at $2.8M each. In Korea that is +10% on Arrival. In the UK, Ad Astra was No. 2 behind holdover Downton Abbey. France grossed $2.7M. Spain had a particularly good start with $2.2M at No. 1 and above Gravity’s opening, also doubling Arrival and First Man.

Pitt has strong international appeal and has been out promoting the film, notably in Tokyo where he recently attended a press conference at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Ad Astra launched there to $2.2M.

Up next weekend are Italy, Russia and Brazil along with Iceland and Chile.

HOLDOVERS/EXPANSIONS
IT CHAPTER TWO
New Line/Warner Bros’ It Chapter Two captured another $21.3M from 78 offshore markets in the third session for a 54% drop. The overseas cume is now $205.9M for $385.1M globally. Germany held the No. 1 spot against all newcomers with a 45% drop in the third frame to cume $15.5M so far.

Germany is the No. 4 market for Pennywise. Overall play is led by the UK ($19.8M), Mexico ($19.6M) and Russia ($16.1M) with Brazil in the 5th slot at $10.1M. Japan will be the final market to release, in November.

DOWNTON ABBEY
In its 2nd overseas session, the Focus/Carnival production released by Universal added $10M to the parade for a $30.8M cume thus far. Globally, after this weekend’s terrific domestic start, the total is $61.8M.

There were 15 new markets visiting the estate this frame, including Germany ($1.3M) and Spain ($931K). Overall, openers are tracking in line with The Iron Lady and ahead of other comps including Focus’ Darkest Hour (+67%).

The top holdover market is the UK where Lady Mary held the No. 1 spot with a 42% drop and a $15.6M cume to date. Australia and Netherlands also saw strong holds of -33% and -17%, respectively. The grosses there are $4.8M and $1.5M.

France is on deck for next weekend with further rollout through October and November in such majors as Italy, Russia, Brazil and Mexico. Japan bows in January of next year.

ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
Sony/Bona’s Quentin Tarantino drama picked up another $9.9M in 59 markets this weekend. The offshore total has passed $200M to land at $206.4M so far and $344.6M worldwide.

Italy, which figures in the film, gave Tarantino his biggest launch of all time with $5.4M. Korea is still to come on September 25.

MISC UPDATED CUMES/NOTABLE
The Angry Birds Movie 2 (SNY): $4.8M intl weekend (58 markets); $78.1M intl cume ($118.6M global)
Dora And The Lost City Of Gold (PAR): $3.9M intl weekend (35 markets); $40.4M intl cume ($98.8M global)
The Lion King (DIS): $3.8M intl weekend (37 markets); $1.092B intl cume ($1.63B global)
Hustlers (STX): $3M intl weekend (18 markets); $9.84M intl cume ($72M global)
Yesterday (UNI): $2.9M intl weekend (26 markets); $69M intl cume ($142.3M global)
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (UNI): $2.8M intl weekend (65 markets); $579.5M intl cume ($750.1M global)
Good Boys (UNI): $2.4M intl weekend (38 markets); $21.4M intl cume ($98.7M global)
Crawl (PAR): $1.4M intl weekend (14 markets); $47.6M intl cume ($86.6M global)
*Abominable (UNI): $800K intl weekend (3 markets); $800K intl cume ($800K global)
*Denotes new

LOCAL-LANGUAGE
In China, guide dog drama Little Q held sway at $9.9M. Upcoming are a handful of patriotic films as the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic looms on October 1. In the mix are such titles as Voices Of The Nation and My People, My Country. Also on deck is adventure drama The Climbers which bows September 30 and stars big names Wu Jing and Jackie Chan.

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