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After a lackluster domestic performance, Universal/Legendary’s “Skyscraper” got a Chinese boost, opening to a $45 million start in the lucrative territory this weekend to push the film to a $176.8 million global total.
Co-produced on a $120 million budget by the two studios, with Legendary handling Chinese distribution. “Skyscraper” has been a relative disappointment for its star, Dwayne Johnson, compared to his past films. After “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” grossed just under $1 billion worldwide, Johnson’s box office draw wasn’t able to win over audiences for “Skyscraper”‘s domestic release, earning a mediocre $25 million opening and a $46.7 million 10-day total.
As for the action thriller’s Chinese run, the jury is still out. Its $45 million launch is less than the $55 million made in that country by Johnson’s last film, “Rampage.” However, that film went on to make $156 million in the Middle Kingdom and $425 million worldwide. While “Skyscraper” isn’t likely to match that global total, having legs in China will give it a chance to avoid finishing its theatrical run deep in the red.
On the flip side, Universal’s “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” is looking like it will perform as well as its 2008 predecessor with a $76.8 million global start. The first “Mamma Mia!” endured for over two months at theaters worldwide thanks to the global appeal of ABBA, earning $615 million. The sequel’s top overseas territories were the U.K. and Australia, which are home to ABBA’s biggest fanbases and combined for $18 million.
Back in the U.S., the $34 million opening for “Here We Go Again” pushes Universal past $1 billion on the domestic gross charts. While Disney has pulled far in the lead with $2.55 billion off its stable of blockbusters, Universal has earned its eighth straight billion-dollar year off of a diverse set of films. Along with franchise titles like “Fifty Shades Freed” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” the studio has also released microbudget Blumhouse titles like “The First Purge” and female-directed films like Kay Cannon’s “Blockers.”
That diversity will continue through 2018 with films like the family horror film “The House With a Clock in Its Walls,” the Kevin Hart/Tiffany Haddish comedy “Night School,” Jamie Lee Curtis’ return to “Halloween,” and the Robert Zemeckis-directed awards play “Welcome to Marwen.”