NORTH AMERICA: 'Straight Outta Compton' Nears $119M 13-Day Take; 'No Escape' Opens to $1.18M on Wednesday; 'Sinister 2' ($13.2M), 'Hitman: Agent 47' ($10.8M), & 'American Ultra' ($7.2M) Modest 6-Day Hauls on August 27, 2015

aug21wknd.pngUniversal's Straight Outta Compton tacked on another $2.1 million yesterday, retaining first place as it fell 60 percent from last Wednesday. The biopic's 13-day domestic haul is $118.95 million, putting it 35 percent ahead of 8 Mile and 50 percent ahead of Ride Along.

In second place, TWC's No Escape opened to $1.18 million in its first day of release. That's somewhat ahead of expectations as it bested last year's The November Man (which also opened on a Wednesday in late August) by 37 percent.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation added $1.03 million yesterday, down just 41 percent from last Wednesday. The hit sequel's domestic take is now $161.1 million, putting it 6 percent ahead of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and 37 percent ahead of Mission: Impossible III.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. earned $0.697 million yesterday, off 45 percent from last Wednesday. Its 13-day domestic take is $29.03 million, 11 percent behind Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

Sinister 2 pulled $0.68 million in its sixth day of release, giving it $13.2 million in total so far. Unfortunately, that's over 39 percent behind where its 2012 predecessor stood at the same point.

Meanwhile, Hitman: Agent 47 added $0.64 million yesterday, giving it a six-day haul of $10.8 million. That puts the sequel 51 percent behind the pace of its 2007 predecessor.

Lastly, American Ultra pulled in $0.47 million on Wednesday for a six-day total of $7.24 million. The stoner comedy is pacing 2 percent behind fellow Jesse Eisenberg/Kristen Stewart flick Adventureland.


Disney/Pixar's 'Inside Out' Passes $700M Worldwide on August 27, 2015

insideoutlongrange.pngThe official press release:

Disney•Pixar's Inside Out crossed the $700M mark at the global box office on Wednesday, August 26, for a worldwide total of $701M. This is the fifth Pixar film and Disney's seventh animated film ever to reach this threshold.

With $343M domestically, Inside Out is the highest grossing animated film of the year and the second highest grossing Pixar film ever on original release, behind only Toy Story 3. The film debuted in the US and Canada on June 19 with $90.4M, the biggest opening ever for an original property.

Internationally, Inside Out has earned $358M. Currently open in about 81% of the marketplace, the film debuts in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Singapore this weekend. Major markets still to come include Germany, Italy, and China.

Weekly Chinese Box Office Preview: Award-Winning Arthouse Fare and World War II Victory Films Try to Unseat 'Terminator: Genisys' on August 27, 2015


Jonathan Papish @ChinaBoxOffice

In a crowded field of ten new releases this weekend, four films have the potential to make a dent at the box office, but none will challenge Terminator: Genisys for the top spot.

September 3rd marks the 70th Anniversary of the Allied victory over Japan in World War II and China is commemorating the event as a national holiday complete with a grand military parade in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Several military themed films are also being released to coincide with the anniversary of China's victory in "The War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression" or "The World Anti-Fascist War" as WWII is known in Chinese.

The Hundred Regiments Offensive (百团大战) is well known in Red China history and the famous 1940 battle between CCP and Japanese forces is getting a big screen recreation in cooperation with state-run Bayi Film Studio (八一电影制片厂). The film's core audience will be Communist Party officials so we expect high attendance rates the first few days due to group sales. Although comparisons with The Founding of the Republic (建国大业) which commemorated the 60th anniversary of PRC's establishment are easy in terms of Communist patting-on-the-back, this film doesn't feature the same star power and won't come close to matching its $63 million total.

Also set during World War II, Tale of Three Cities (三城记) is a love story spanning three cities over the course of the war. Hong Kong actor Sean Lau (Overheard -$48.25M) and Tang Wei (Finding Mr. Right - $81.38M) play a couple who fall in love in Anhui Province, are torn apart in Shanghai, and are finally reunited in Hong Kong. While the cast certainly has the power to rally supporters, the wartime epic love story has limited box office appeal. Look for this one to gross less than $5 million total.

Fans of high-quality Chinese cinema have their pick of two award-winning films this weekend in Hou Hsiao-Hsien's long awaited martial arts elegy The Assassin (刺客聂隐娘) and Cao Baoping's crime drama The Dead End (烈日灼心).

Taiwanese master craftsman Hou (Flight of the Red Balloon) brought home the Best Director Award from this year's Cannes Film Festival for The Assassin, a film that took him nearly ten years to finish. Fans of high-octane kung fu swordplay should sit this one out however, as The Assassin's slow-moving and ambiguous plot are more in line with literary style than with the usual genre expectations. The Assassin will have its US premiere at this year's New York Film Festival and has been picked up by Well Go for stateside distribution.

This weekend's most anticipated release in terms of awareness and intent to purchase according to EntGroup's EFMT Index, The Dead End follows three men as the law finally catches up with them 7 years after committing and getting away with a horrific crime. Now laying low in seaside Xiamen - Xin Xiaofeng (Deng Chao), an auxiliary police detective and Yang Zidao (Guo Tao), a taxi driver (a third accomplice was mostly edited out due to actor Gao Hu's drug arrest) - the men are secretly looking after the daughter of their victim as a personal act of redemption. But when Xin's new boss Yi Guchun (Duan Yihong) grows suspicious, it looks like their gig is up.

Cao Boaping took the Best Director Award and the trio of performers jointly won the Best Actor Award at this year's Shanghai International Film Festival. Based on the impressive cast and its strong preview screenings this past weekend ($0.71M), we think The Dead End will be the only newcomer to crack the top three this frame and the crime drama has the potential to end its run around $40M.

NORTH AMERICA: Universal Sets New Yearly Box Office Record with $2.113B to Date; The Studio’s 'Straight Outta Compton' Leads Tuesday with $3.04M on August 26, 2015


By Daniel Garris

Universal Pictures has set a new record for the highest grossing year ever for a studio at the domestic box office with a yearly take of $2.113 billion to date. That surpasses the previous record of $2.105 billion that Warner Bros. grossed for the entire calendar year of 2009. The new record for Universal is made even more impressive given that the record was set with just over four months remaining in the calendar year.

Universal's highest grossing films in 2015 to date domestically are: Jurassic World ($639.8M), Furious 7 ($352.6M), Minions ($321.1M), Pitch Perfect 2 ($183.8M), Fifty Shades of Grey ($166.2M) and Straight Outta Compton ($116.8M).

Speaking of Straight Outta Compton, the F. Gary Gray directed N.W.A biopic continued to claim first place at the daily box office on Tuesday with $3.04 million. Straight Outta Compton has now led the daily box office for twelve consecutive days. The film was up 12 percent over Monday and down 58 percent from last Tuesday. Straight Outta Compton continues to outpace its already lofty pre-release expectations and is running an impressive 49 percent ahead of the $78.44 million twelve-day take of last year's Ride Along.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation held steady in second with $1.46 million. The fifth installment of the Tom Cruise led blockbuster franchise from Paramount was up 39 percent over Monday and down 40 percent from last Tuesday. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation has grossed $160.03 million in 26 days. That places the film 37 percent ahead of the $116.77 million 26-day take of 2006's Mission: Impossible III and 6 percent ahead of the $150.66 million 26-day gross of 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Focus' Sinister 2 took in $1.08 million to remain in third. The low-budget horror sequel from Gramercy and Blumhouse Productions increased 21 percent over Monday's performance. Sinister 2 is off to a softer than expected start with a five-day haul of $12.52 million. The film is running a lackluster 40 percent behind the $20.71 million five-day take of 2012's Sinister.

Warner's The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was up one spot and a healthy 45 percent from Monday to claim fourth on Tuesday with $1.06 million. The Guy Ritchie directed spy comedy was down 45 percent from last Tuesday. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has grossed a soft $28.33 million in twelve days. That places the film 12 percent behind the $32.06 million twelve-day gross of last year's Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.

Hitman: Agent 47 was down one spot to take fifth with $1.05 million. The video game based action film from Fox increased 33 percent over Monday. Hitman: Agent 47 is performing on the very low end of its modest expectations with a five-day start of $10.17 million. The film is running a disappointing 52 percent behind the $21.09 million five-day take of 2007's Hitman (which opened on a Wednesday).

Lionsgate's American Ultra claimed sixth place with $0.729 million. The action comedy starring Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg was up 24 percent over Monday. American Ultra is performing below its already modest expectations with a five-day start of just $6.77 million. The film is running just behind the $6.85 million five-day take of 2009's Adventureland, which also starred Stewart and Eisenberg.

Universal Sets Another Industry Record: $2.113 Billion at North American Box Office In Record Time on August 26, 2015

universal.pngThe studio's press release:

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA, August 26, 2015-Following this week's announcement that Universal Pictures International set a new industry record for the highest-grossing year ever at the overseas box office, the studio today announced that its North American box office grosses have reached $2.113 billion, passing the record previously set by Warner Bros.' 2009 year-end domestic grosses of $2.105 billion by more than four months. The announcement was made by Nick Carpou, President Distribution, Universal Pictures.

"This continues to be an extraordinary year for our studio, and our success is a result of every division working cohesively to bring the best possible version of our films into theaters," said Carpou. "We work alongside inspired filmmakers with a passion for telling great stories, and with this year's diverse slate we were fortunate to identify release dates that maximized theatrical grosses. We share this success with our partners in exhibition and look forward to the remainder of the year."

Some 2015 highlights to date include:

· Universal has five of the top ten highest-grossing films of the year: No. 1, Jurassic World ($639.8 million); No. 3, Furious 7 ($352.6 million); No. 6, Illumination's Minions ($321.1 million); No. 8, Pitch Perfect 2 ($183.8 million) and No. 10, Fifty Shades of Grey ($166.2 million).

· Universal has six of the top ten biggest openings of the year: No. 1, Jurassic World ($208.7 million); No. 3, Furious 7 ($147.2 million); No. 4, Illumination's Minions ($115.7 million); No. 7, Fifty Shades of Grey ($85.2 million); No. 8, Pitch Perfect 2 ($69.2 million) and No. 10, Straight Outta Compton ($60.2 million).

· The studio had six films open No. 1 at the North American box office and has been No. 1 for 13 weeks, more than any other studio.

· Jurassic World had the biggest opening weekend of all-time at the North American box office and was No. 1 for three weeks; it is the highest-grossing June opening ever and is currently third-highest-grossing film of all time.

· Minions had the second-highest-grossing opening for an animated film in North America and the highest opening for Illumination Entertainment.

· Furious 7 had highest-grossing opening ever for the month of April and held the No. 1 position at the domestic box office for four weekends in a row.

· Fifty Shades of Grey is the biggest February opening ever and Universal's highest R-rated opening.

Universal continues to charge ahead with an outstanding 2015 slate, including The Visit, the original new thriller from writer/director/producer M. Night Shyamalan in which he returns to the genre that launched his career; Everest, an epic adventure from Universal, Working Title, Cross Creek and Walden Media, inspired by the incredible events surrounding an attempt to reach the summit of the world's highest mountain that is directed by Baltasar Kormákur; Legend, from Studiocanal, Working Title and Cross Creek Pictures, the true story of the rise and fall of London's most notorious gangsters, both portrayed by Tom Hardy in an amazing double performance; Jobs, the drama from Oscar®-winning director Danny Boyle and Oscar®-winning writer Aaron Sorkin; Crimson Peak, the gothic romance from Legendary directed by Guillermo del Toro; By the Sea, the new drama from writer/director/producer Angelina Jolie Pitt, starring Brad Pitt and Jolie Pitt; and Krampus, the horror-comedy from Legendary; and Sisters, reuniting comedy all-stars Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

About Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures is a division of Universal Studios ( Universal Studios is part of NBCUniversal. NBCUniversal is one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group and world-renowned theme parks. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.


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