CORE STORY: Sully scores 5th-biggest September opening ever

Image: Warner Bros.

Image: Warner Bros.

Chris Luckett

Despite having starred in such masterpieces as Cloud Atlas and Captain Phillips in recent years, it’s been seven years since a live-action Tom Hanks movie opened #1 at the box office.

Sully, the Clint Eastwood-directed biography of Capt. Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger, played on screen by Hanks, not only reclaimed that throne but also nearly broke September box office records.

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CORE STORY: Ghostbusters denied for release in China

Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing

Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing

Chris Luckett

China has become a true powerhouse behind potential movie grosses, as evidenced by the gangbusters box office Warcraft has been doing there ($221-million, versus $47-million in North America).

Faced with a vocal segment of the North American audiences that has pre-judged and boycotted Paul Feig’s Ghostbusters reboot, Sony had hoped China would offset the cost of the picture. China, though, has now denied the movie a release in their country. Continue reading

CORE STORY: Absolutely Fabulous has largest U.K. opening since Spectre

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Chris Luckett

Just as Corner Gas is to Canadians and Friday Night Lights to Americans, there’s a national love in England of the boozy Britcom Absolutely Fabulous. That patriotic popularity boosted the long-awaited Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie to the biggest U.K. opening weekend for a British movie since Spectre. Continue reading

CORE STORY: Dory wins its third weekend, besting The BFG, The Purge, and Tarzan

Artwork: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Artwork: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Chris Luckett

The first weekend of July has always been a big one for box office, with the confluence of Canadian and American long weekends.

Steven Spielberg’s takes on the Roald Dahl tale The BFG, the threequel The Purge: Election Year, and David Yates’ reboot The Legend of Tarzan were all outpaced this holiday weekend by Finding Dory, Pixar’s latest behemoth. Continue reading

CORE STORY: Warcraft is now the highest-grossing video game adaptation

Photo: Universal Pictures

Photo: Legendary Pictures

Chris Luckett

Being a bomb in North America no longer guarantees a movie’s global failure.¬†Warcraft, which cost over $200-million between production and marketing costs, has earned $44-million in Canada and the U.S. over the last three weeks’ of release.

It’s made $221-million in China so far.

Globally, Warcraft has now earned almost ten times its domestic box office numbers, totalling upwards of $420-million.

That makes it a higher-grosser than the previously most-profitable video games Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The Angry Birds Movie, and Resident Evil: Afterlife, none of which crossed $400-million.

Legendary Pictures hasn’t yet decided whether to greenlight a sequel to the fantasy epic, but is at work on Pacific Rim 2 — which also happened to earn more in China than in Canada and the U.S.

Demand in China for Warcraft was so large, over 70% of theatre screens in the country were dedicated to the movie on its opening weekend.

Warcraft is just one of many recent China-backed pictures to do better overseas than domestically. This past weekend, Now You See Me 2 also opened to $43-million in China (outperforming Independence Day: Resurgence‘s opening), nearly double its North American opening of $22-million.

(Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Forbes)