Thursday, 9 June 2016

Box Office: Will China Save Warcraft?

Just as it seemed videogame adaptation Warcraft was poised to flop magnificently, emerging box office powerhouse China swooped in to quite possibly change the story single-handedly. In just its first two days of release the film pulled in over $90 million in the country where MMORPG World of Warcraft has some of its strongest supporters. This impressive figure also comes packaged with some broken records, which may well give the critically-mauled film some good publicity going into its first weekend of release in the United States.
Warcraft not only boasts the highest two day total that China has ever seen ($90 million to the $88 million achieved by previous record holder Furious 7), but also holds the country's highest Thursday box office to date. The film brought in $46 million on its first day of release leaping ahead of Chinese film The Mermaid which opened with a $37 million Thursday earlier this year.
The fate of this movie may well rest on whether it can keep up this momentum in China, as at this point the film is set to be practically dead on arrival in the USA where it is predicted to open with a paltry $20-25 million. This figure pales in comparison to the $160 million price tag the movie carries with it, a number which doesn't include the advertising costs associated with the film. Estimates say that the film will need to make around $400 million in order to turn a profit. China is shaping up to be Warcraft's guardian angel and could well have a greater impact on its box office prospects than any other country on this green Earth, but that will depend on how quickly the film's takings drop. In some territories the film is looking to be quite front-loaded, opening impressively but quickly seeing its numbers plummet. If it pulls a repeat performance in China that could affect the film severely.
Still, that's a worry for the future; right now there's no doubt that Lionsgate along with Warcraft's other investors (many of whom are Chinese companies), are breathing a sigh of relief that this risky blockbuster is showing some signs of life overseas even if it doesn't appear to be in the US. That can be attributed at least in part to the lack of big name talent involved in the picture, and perhaps to moviegoers previous run-ins with videogame adaptations (of the thirty-two released up to this point, not one has been positively received by critics -- a trend which Warcraft has sadly been unable to break).


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