While we’re still waiting to see Warcraft here in North America, much of the rest of world has already seen it. The film has been putting up impressive box office numbers in several overseas markets, but the second biggest movie market on the planet may have just changed the game. Warcraft didn’t just open big in China, it opened huge. With nearly $46 million dollars in its first full day of business, Warcraft had the second biggest single day in the history of the Chinese box office.
While significantly behind the monster $63 million that Furious 7 did on its opening day last year, Warcraft’s numbers out do Captain America: Civil War, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and every Transformers movie. According to Forbes, Warcraft had $20 million in pre-sales leading into its opening. While we’ll have to wait and see if Warcraft has the staying power to put up more than just one week of top numbers, it may mean that Warcraft is going to be a much bigger movie than we expected.
Early reviews have not been kind to Warcraft. It currently sits at 19% on Rotten Tomatoes with 53 reviews counted. While Warcraft is an incredibly popular video game property, it’s not one that’s well known (beyond simple name recognition) by non-gamers and the film does not look to be tracking very well for the upcoming opening weekend in the U.S. The CGI-heavy movie was an expensive endeavor, and things were not looking good.
It will be interesting to see how the numbers shake out. It’s not uncommon for domestic box office disappointments to become successes thanks to overseas ticket sales, however, this could be something different by an order of magnitude. If Warcraft does what it’s expected to do in the U.S. this weekend, but continues its success overseas in general, and in China specifically, then this won’t be a case of a disappointment becoming a success, this could mean a bomb could be transformed into a blockbuster.
At the same time, it’s also possible that Warcraft could still do better here than we think. Much of the success in China is being given to fans of World of Warcraft turning out in force. While the popularity of WoW in the U.S. has been on the wane, it still has millions of players, and they could all be planning on hitting the theater on Friday.
It has been said that China is on its way to becoming the single largest box office market in the world. Will we be looking back in a few years at Warcraft as the film where China determined the success or failure of any given movie? What do you think?