The Rock, as “San Andreas” star Dwayne Johnson was once known, may have to change his nickname to The Boulder if his new earthquake movie stays on its current roll at the worldwide box office.
Monday’s final figures show “San Andreas” brought in $64 million from roughly 60 foreign markets over the weekend, about $4 million higher than Warner Bros. had estimated Sunday. The domestic haul for the New Line action film co-financed by Village Roadshow was bigger than estimated as well, at $54.5 million, so it finished with nearly $120 million in its first weekend — or more than its $110 million production budget.
The biggest foreign territory was Mexico, where “San Andreas” set a record for largest opening ever for a disaster film with $10 million. The U.K. ($7.2 million) and Russia ($5.3 million) also delivered. Just how big “San Andreas” is going to play overseas should come into sharper focus soon.
Moviegoers’ qualms about real earthquakes didn’t seem to hurt “San Andreas” in the U.S. and Canada, and in fact 19 of the film’s top 20 locations were in California. But China, where it opens Tuesday, could be a different story. That country is much closer to Nepal, site of the devastating April earthquake that killed 8,800 people.
Opening a movie in China isn’t like going to the box-office equivalent of an ATM, despite what some in the industry may think. Just ask Disney, which has had a tough time getting “Tomorrowland” out of the gate behind the Great Wall.
So far, the Brad Bird-directed sci-fi adventure saga has taken in less than $14 million in a little under a week. To put that in perspective, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” made about $20 million more than that in its first day there, kicking off a run that has brought in $225 million so far.
No one expected “Ultron”-sized numbers from “Tomorrowland.” “Ultron was Marvel and Disney’s biggest opening day there ever, after all, and “Tomorrowland” is an original film rather than an established franchise. But the futuristic adventure starring George Clooney, Hugh Laurie and Britt Robertson has come in under expectations in just about every overseas market, just as it did in the U.S.
So far, “Tomorrowland” has taken in $70 million overseas, a little more than the $63 million it has grossed domestically. Disney had hoped for more, given the film’s $190 million budget, but it’s another example of how difficult it is to make an original property fly in the U.S. and abroad.
Another movie with a hefty price tag, “Mad Max: Fury Road,” appears on the road to profitability. It’s not a lock, however, given the film’s $150 million production budget, shared by Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow.
George Miller‘s R-rated road-rage romp starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron has been in high gear overseas. It added $22 million in its third weekend abroad and pushed its international total to $165 million. With its $115 million domestic haul, it’s at $280 million globally. The sequel’s biggest markets have been Korea, with a very strong $23 million, and the U.K. ($21 million).
“Home,” the DreamWorks Animation family film that Fox is distributing, added $3.8 million over the weekend to lift its overseas haul to just under $200 million. “Home,” voiced by Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Jim Parsons and Steve Martin, has taken in $170 million domestically. That puts its total global grosses at roughly $370 million.
The animated film’s production budget was $135 million and marketing costs were comparable. So with returns from home video and pay TV still to come, the tale of a very friendly alien invader is clearly headed for profitability.
That’s reason for the restructuring studio to celebrate, since “Home” will be DWA’s only 2015 release.