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If you thought the first day was impressive, you should just wait for day two. The first US audiences won't see the Warcraft movie until the preview screenings start this evening, but the movie has been out in several foreign markets for some time and if their success is any indication, this could be a big weekend for Duncan Jones' film based on the Blizzard video game series. While Warcraft's opening day was only good enough to the second best opening day of all time in China, the combined two-day total is good enough to top the previous record holder Furious 7. In 48 hours Warcraft has grossed $90 million.
When Furious 7 was released last year, it went on to become the highest-grossing movie in the history of the Chinese box office (though that record has been supplanted since). Now, Variety is reporting that Warcraft has started off at a pace that will put it in that company. The huge box office numbers have been something of a surprise to industry watchers, as the early reviews of the film that have been released here have been unkind. The movie is only expected to take in $25 million over the coming weekend, while that may be enough for it take the weekend, it will be a lackluster one if it does. The film is opening against a pair of sequels, Now You See Me 2 and The Conjuring 2. Both franchises saw their original entries do better than $25 million in their opening weekend.
With the $90 million that Warcraft has now done in China and the $75 million the film has done in a couple dozen other foreign territories, the film has already made back its reported $160 million production budget. Even if Warcraft fails to meet expectations domestically, if it continues to exceed them overseas, then it simply won't matter what happens here. The Warcraft franchise may continue to move forward with sequels that simply aren't intended for the western audience.
It's impossible to say at this point just what the final Chinese numbers will be. Two days of business is hardly enough time to judge the staying power that Warcraft will have. Lots of movies, especially western ones, can see significant drops after the first weekend just like they do here. However, this does mean that an audience for the movie exists. Whether or not Warcraft is the movie that will change the view of video game based films entirely is yet to be seen, but it does appear to be a step in that direction.