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Flailing stateside, ‘Warcraft’ is crushing records worldwide

Most of the buzz surrounding Warcraft after its second week in theaters concerned the film’s massive 73 percent drop in domestic ticket sales from its opening weekend, but as this week’s box-office report mentioned, the film is doing just fine outside U.S. theaters — so fine that it’s now the highest-grossing video game movie of all time worldwide.

Filmmaker Duncan Jones’ adaptation of the hit game franchise quietly passed 2010’s Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time to become the most successful movie based on a video game in the worldwide market. The Sands of Time, which earned similarly negative reviews and underperformed in U.S. theaters, went on to earn more than $245 million internationally for a worldwide total of more than $336.3 million after 17 weeks in theaters. Impressively, Warcraft has earned almost $340 million internationally already for a worldwide total of $378.4 million after just two weeks in theaters.

While the U.S. is still home to the largest movie market in the world, a film’s performance overseas is rapidly becoming a more substantial factor in determining its overall success. China is currently the second-largest market in the world, and Warcraft set a new opening-weekend record when it debuted there earlier this month. The film is enjoying similar success in other movie-friendly countries outside the U.S., with big opening weekends in Russia, Germany, and France contributing to the film’s success.

This trend recently prompted veteran Chinese actor Jackie Chan to call out the shrinking divide between the importance Hollywood places on the U.S. movie market and international audiences.

Warcraft made 600 million RMB [yuan — $91 million] in two days — this has scared the Americans,” said Chan in a speech he delivered during the Shanghai International Film Festival in mid-June (via The Hollywood Reporter). “If we can make a film that earns 10 billion [$1.5 billion], then people from all over the world who study film will learn Chinese, instead of us learning English.”

Warcraft has earned just $38.4 million in the U.S. so far, and it will be interesting to see how long its success overseas prolongs its domestic run (if at all) — and more importantly, whether that success is enough to green-light a sequel. The highest-grossing video game movie domestically remains 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, which earned around $131.1 million in U.S. theaters and $274.7 million worldwide.

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