World Box Office: Roland Emmerich’s Midway loses opening battle with a meager $17.5 million

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The Veterans Day box office roundup in the US saw Roland Emmerich’s Midway lose its opening battle with a meager $17.5 million take in its domestic launch. Lionsgate has distribution rights and reportedly spent $40 million promoting the film but didn’t have a stake in its $100 million budget. The picture’s director secured all of the films funding from private investors and equity firms, with roughly a quarter of the capital coming from Chinese sources. This launch looks worrisome on the surface but for Lionsgate, at least, its structure should leave them with a modest profit.

Foreign sales worth a reported $60 million, negotiated by CAA Media Finance, have covered the large part of Midway’s remaining liability to its investors. Local distributors at this point are the only ones left on the hook and many will be hard-pressed to justify their purchase of distribution rights in their individual markets. Chinese plays for instance, which netted $16 million, may still be problematic for Beijing-based distributor Bona Film Group.

Fellow opener Doctor Sleep meanwhile struggled both domestically and abroad. It currently sits at $34 million after opening in second place with $14 million at home. That’s certainly low enough to dash Warner Bros.’ hopes of having another sizable R-rated in 2019 after the success of Joker ($984.6 million) and It: Chapter 2 ($462.6 million.) Sleep follows up on the events of Stephen King’s novel The Shining, with horror director Mike Flanagan stepping into Stanley Kubrick’s shoes and Ewan McGregor playing an adult Danny Torrance who’s still troubled by his psychic powers decades after escaping the Overlook Hotel. Rebecca Ferguson joins the cast as the leader of a cult that feeds on children with powers like Danny’s while Cliff Curtis plays the protagonist’s best friend and AA sponsor.

Sleep cost in the $50 million range to produce. It’s currently in 68 foreign markets including this frame’s relative standouts Russia ($2 million) and Mexico ($1.5 million.) Total overseas sales reached $20 million after two weeks in theaters.

Paramount’s Playing with Fire also opened to an unspectacular $12.8 million and third place in the US, with Universal’s Last Christmas behind it and struggling to launch as well in fourth with $11.6 million.

In holdover news, Zombieland: Doubletap crossed $100 million worldwide after a $9.4 million global frame edged it a bit less than $2 million clear of the milestone. Terminator: Dark Fate meanwhile slid into fifth in the US with $10 million. Just short of $200 million worldwide, meaning T: DF has just barely squeezed past its $185-195 million production budget after three weeks in theaters.

Next frame, Charlie’s Angels and Ford v. Ferrari open in the US.

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