Puss in Boots: The Last Wish Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Audiences in the U.S. will have to wait until next week to catch Dreamworks’ long-awaited sequel Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, directed by Joel Crawford, but the film has already premiered in 24 territories globally and managed an impressive $8.9 million over its first weekend in cinemas.

The film’s opening weekend haul was good enough for second at the international box office, despite playing in far fewer territories than most of the other films on the list. Only Black Panther: Wakanda Forever made more abroad ($11.8 million), playing in 50 territories. In terms of global gross, U.S. included, Puss in Boots finished third behind Black Panther ($22.9 million) and Violent Night ($12.3 million).

The last big international animation release, Disney’s Strange World, only managed $9.2 million from 43 overseas markets during its opening weekend, making Puss in Boots’ first weekend look all the more impressive. Things haven’t gotten better for Strange World either, with the film only able to pull in another $7.3 million worldwide over the recent weekend from 44 territories, U.S. included.

In total, Strange World has managed $53.4 million at the global box office ($30.4 domestically) and is guaranteed to be Disney’s lowest-grossing theatrical animation release since 2011’s Winnie the Pooh. The key difference between them is that while Winnie the Pooh had a budget of $30M, Strange World is reported to have cost somewhere between $135-180M.

Looking forward, it gets even worse. Domestically, Strange World is about to be drowned out by Avatar: The Way of Water and Puss in Boots. And, although PiB will also be competing with James Cameron’s epic blockbuster, the future still looks bright as its the only major animation release for this year’s Christmas holiday window in North America and other key markets such as Spain, Germany, Mexico, and Australia. It will also hit huge box office territories South Korea and Brazil just after the new year.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is also going to get a Chinese theatrical release on December 23, a feat that other U.S. animation distributors – including Disney – have struggled to achieve this year. What impact that will have on the film’s final box office is hard to say as the Chinese box office has fallen off in recent months due to Covid-related closures.

One possible reason to think that The Last Wish could buck that trend is the current interest in animated films among theatergoers in China. For the past two weeks, anime films One Piece Film Red and Detective Conan: The Bride of Halloween have taken the top two spots at the Chinese box office. One Piece grossed $4.8 million in China between Friday and Sunday for a total of $18.1 million in the territory and Detective Conan grossed $2.4 million over the same three days, lifting its total to $22.7 million since releasing there on November 18.

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