Box Office: ‘Ready Player One’ Off to Strong Start in China

READY PLAYER ONE
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/Jaap Buitendijk

Ready Player One” earned $10.4 million overseas on Thursday, bringing the science-fiction fantasy’s foreign gross to $13.7 million. Final numbers haven’t been tallied, but it also appears that the big-budget Steven Spielberg film is off to a healthy start in China. Flash numbers from Friday showings have the film racking up $14.6 million (RMB 91.4 million) in the Middle Kingdom.

“Ready Player One” unfolds in a dystopian future, one in which people escape the drudgery and economic privation by diving into an elaborate virtual reality world. Tye Sheridan (“Mud”) stars as a young player who participates in a massive search for Easter eggs in the game that will enable him to inherit a vast fortune. Reviews for the film have been strong, with critics praising Spielberg for delivering an enjoyable slice of pop entertainment. The cast includes T.J. Miller, Mark Rylance, Olivia Cooke, Lena Waithe, and Ben Mendelsohn.

Among the top markets, “Ready Player One” picked up $1.5 million in the United Kingdom, $1.1 million in Russia, and $980,000 in Mexico. It played in 37 markets on Thursday and will screen in an additional 13 markets beginning on Friday.

“Ready Player One” is expected to top the domestic box office, earning as much as $50 million over the holiday weekend. Since opening on Wednesday, the film has generated $12 million. However, the Warner Bros. release is a big bet for Spielberg and the studio. It carries a $175 million budget and cost well north of $100 million to market and distribute.

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