Chinese audiences propelled “Interstellar” past the $300 million mark at the global box office this weekend.
Christopher Nolan’s ode to tesseracts, wormholes and other deep space exotica picked up a massive $42 million in the People’s Republic, marking the director’s strongest opening in China and Warner Bros.’ second best debut after 2013’s “Pacific Rim.” That’s a big number given that “Interstellar” is not being shown in 3D, a format that is almost a prerequisite for American films that gain entry into the fiercely protectionist country.
“Interstellar” rocketed to $106 million overseas, which brings it total to $321.9 million after two weeks of release. Notable territories included Korea with a $15.8 million haul, the United Kingdom with a $6 million weekend and Russia with a $5.3 million take.
Warner Bros. is handling the foreign rollout, while Paramount oversees its domestic release. “Interstellar” has now opened in most major markets save for Japan, where it debuts next weekend.
Another fall box office heavyweight, “Big Hero 6,” is deploying a more deliberate pace when it comes to its foreign expansion. The Disney release earned $11.9 million from 23 territories, representing about 19% of the markets where it will eventually premiere. “Big Hero 6” did enjoy a strong opening in Mexico, where it picked up $4.8 million. The weekend numbers brought its global take to $148.3 million and was good enough to secure second place on international charts.
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“Interstellar” had some competition for Chinese audiences. DreamWorks Animation gave China an early look at “Penguins of Madagascar.” The animated spin-off doesn’t hit U.S. theaters until Nov. 26. In China, it finished second in the market, earning $11.3 million.
Two sequels vied for fourth and fifth place: “Dumb and Dumber To” and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2,” both of which earned roughly $9 million overseas. The “Dumb and Dumber” sequel bowed in Germany, Spain, Austria and Switzerland. Its international rollout will include the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia in the coming weeks.
“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2” is a Hong Kong-Chinese romantic comedy that debuted on Singles Day, a kind of Valentine’s Day for the unattached.