Warner Bros.-DC’s “Justice League” dominated the international box office in its opening weekend with $185.5 million at approximately 47,000 screens in 65 markets, led by $51.7 million in China.
The costly superhero tentpole is ahead of the international opening weekends for Warner’s “Wonder Woman” and Disney-Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok.” In China, where “Justice League” screened at 20,500 screens, the film took in 65% of grosses from the top five films and scored the second biggest debut for a Warners title after last year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
“Justice League” ranked first in 10 other Asian markets with $41.2 million as the second highest Warner Bros. launch after “Dawn of Justice” while Latin America region contributed $35.4 million for the third highest Warner opening after “Dawn of Justice” and the final Harry Potter movie. Results from Europe topped “Wonder Woman” and were slightly behind “Thor: Ragnarok.”
Brazil was the top individual market after China with $14.2 million on 1,580 screens and set a record for top opening weekend in that territory. The UK followed with $9.8 million on 1,617 screens, topping the opening weekend of “Thor: Ragnarok” by 4%. Mexico debuted with $9.6 million at 3,563 screens, followed by South Korea with $8.8 million and Russia with $6.5 million.
The worldwide total is $281.5 million. “Justice League” is underperforming at the domestic box office with a $96 million launch in North America — which increases the need for a strong international result.
“Justice League” carries a production budget of more than $250 million, according to several sources. The studio hopes that DC’s interconnected cinematic universe of comic book heroes and villains can deliver huge audiences around the globe. Analysts believe “Justice League” would have to bring in a lofty sum of around $600 million from ticket sales alone and additional revenue from ancillaries like pay-TV and home entertainment in order to turn a profit.
Gal Gadot stars as Wonder Woman along with Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as the Flash, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg. Amy Adams, Amber Heard, Jeremy Irons, and J.K. Simmons also appear.
Disney-Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok” finished a distant second on foreign front with $24 million in 57 markets. The third Thor movie has now taken in $490 million in four weeks of overseas release and has a worldwide total of $738.1 million, topping the lifetime totals of “Captain America: Winter Soldier ” at $714 million and “Doctor Strange” at $678 million.
Fox’s “Murder on the Orient Express” followed in third with $20 million in 55 markets for an international total of $96.5 million. The detective drama, starring Kenneth Branagh, has topped $50 million domestically in 10 days.
Family comedy “Paddington 2” continued its strong performance in the U.K. and Italy with $9.2 million, lifting its two-week total to $26.1 million. Warner Bros. bought the U.S. rights from the troubled Weinstein Company recently and will release the film domestically on Jan. 12.
Fantasy film “The Golden Monk” opened with $8.5 million in China. The movie stars Zheng Kai, Zhang Yu Qi, Evonne Hsieh, Mao Junjie and Law Kar Ying.