Refresh for latest…: Newcomer Ad Astra, from Fox/New Regency and distributed by Disney, launched this weekend with an estimated $26M in 44 markets for a $45.2M worldwide start. The international box office debut is within the range we were hearing before the weekend, and is 49% ahead of last years First Man and 23% above 2016s Arrival at todays rates.
Like both of those more thriftily-priced comps, Ad Astra, which stars Brad Pitt and is directed by James Gray, got its start at the Venice Film Festival. Given the wattage of the media spotlight there, the Lido can act as a prime blast-off platform and likely contributed to No. 1 bows in France, Spain and Indonesia. Korea, however, was the top-grossing hub at a No. 2 $2.8M.
The pensive Ad Astra has a bit of time before another Venice debut, Joker, releases, and could play similarly to Arrival which ultimately grossed $103M internationally (at historic rates). But that film carried a lower budget. As Anthony has noted, we hear Ad Astra was greenlit for $80M, and reshoots put it over $100M. Bona Film Group covered 30% of the bill, which is why Disney doesnt have China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Ad Astra is expected to release in China, though likely not until the upcoming national holiday celebrations are over.
Domestically, there was a divide between critics and audiences, and in France there is a similar split, but overseas exits wont be fully fleshed out until tomorrow. Disneys President of Theatrical Distribution, Cathleen Taff, tells Deadline this morning that while the “thought-provoking” inherited title “may not be for everybody, it is a high-quality film that has to be seen on the big screen.” IMAX this weekend contributed $6.6M globally. Of territories still to come, we hear there is good buzz in Russia and also Italy, particularly after the Lido launch.
Elsewhere, New Line/Warner Bros It Chapter Twos $21.3M third frame pushed the Andy Muschietti-directed horror sequel across the $200M mark overseas, lifting the worldwide tally to $385.1M. Japan is still to come.