Refresh for latest…: Disney/Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi showed its force at the international box office with $230M in its opening this weekend. Combined with domestic, that puts the global launch at $450M. The worldwide figure ranks The Last Jedi as the No. 5 debut ever (No. 3 excluding the China starts of other films — SWTLJ does not go to the Middle Kingdom until January 5). Out of 54 overseas markets, the Rian Johnson-helmed epic is the best start of 2017 in several majors including the UK which leads with $36.7M.
Episode VIII debuted at No. 1 in all but four offshore markets and the $230M start puts Rey, Finn, Poe and the far-away-galaxy gang in line with pre-opening industry expectations. The offshore debut estimate also means the crystal foxes are running about 23% below The Force Awakens, which is not a surprise given the pent-up demand for a new Star Wars film after such a long wait in 2015. The consensus among sources is that this very well-reviewed entry will benefit from repeat viewings and feel a slower burn than Force Awakens.
Along with the UK, the rundown of Top 5 plays abroad is in keeping with Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ lineup from two years ago. Behind the UK are Germany ($23.6M), France ($18.1M), Australia ($15.9M) and Japan ($14.4M). Each of those had the biggest opening of 2017 (in Japan’s case, for a Western title).
IMAX generated $40.6M on 776 screens worldwide, by far the biggest launch weekend of 2017 and the 2nd best global opening weekend ever in the company’s history (excluding China). Internationally, Jedi knighted $16M, the 2nd best overseas bow (excluding China) for the format. In 11 markets, this was IMAX’s best start ever. Jedi will have over 500 IMAX screens in China when it releases there next month.
Speaking of China, there are two new Chinese movies in the Top 5 this weekend, with Feng Xiaogang’s Youth ($48M est) and Yuen Woo-ping’s The Thousand Faces Of Dunjia ($34M est) taking the Nos. 2 and 3 slots. Just behind those is another Disney hit, Pixar’s Coco which is closing in on $300M international and $450M worldwide. The animated charmer was recently granted an extension in China (much like Disney’s 2016 smash Zootopia) and has now grossed $154M there. It should pass Despicable Me 3 this week to become the No. 2 animated pic ever in the Middle Kingdom.
Elsewhere, Fox has ridden its mystery train, Murder On The Orient Express, across $200M at the international box office. Lionsgate’s Wonder has crossed $150M worldwide.
Breakdowns on the films above and others are being updated below, with more Last Jedi to come.
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‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.