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‘Moonlight’ Shines At International Box Office As A24 Grows Offshore Biz Model

Deadline logo Deadline 2/16/2017 Nancy Tartaglione
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EXCLUSIVE: As the overseas rollout of eight-time Oscar nominee Moonlight continues, it’s proving to be a shining light at the international box office. With $3.6M to date, the $1.5M budgeted A24 drama is looking at a potential $40M worldwide with a split that could rise to 50-50 domestic vs foreign, a rare feat for a film with no major stars and a serious subject matter.

This is the first picture produced by A24 which led international sales, selling out around the world, back during AFM. Currently in France, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Australia/New Zealand, among others, Barry Jenkins’ three-part coming-of-age story lands in the UK, Korea and Italy this weekend.

The offshore rollout continues over the next few weeks and beyond, and was confidently built around the Oscar nominations. Despite the fact that the lauded film left the BAFTA Awards on Sunday empty-handed, that’s not expected to impact this weekend’s UK release. Preview screenings have exceeded expectations. The movie also had seven London Film Critics Circle nominations with Mahershala Ali taking home a trophy. The British Independent Film Awards gave Moonlight the Best International Film prize.

Younger audiences are tuning into the drama that follows a young boy named Chiron who is trying to find his identity as he grows into manhood and which also stars Naomie Harris. YouTube trailer views are seeing 55% coming from international. The pic has been marketed with its high-quality filmmaking front and center, as well as the discovery of a fresh new voice in Jenkins.

I understand a real priority for A24 on this picture was its international play, with the hope that it encourages other films of its ilk will see future greenlights. Already, A24 is increasing the number of films it backs, including recent EFM title It Comes At Night by Krisha‘s Trey Edward Shults, with a view to having about six a year in the similar configuration.

Digging into the numbers, Moonlight has grossed $20.5M Stateside and is powering through France with $1.38M in week 2. By way of comps, that’s bigger than Oscar Best Picture winner Birdman was at the same stage in its release there, and exceeds the lifetime of last year’s nominee Room. In the Netherlands, the current gross after three frames is $822K. It had the No. 1 spot on January 31 and is outpeforming Birdman, Spotlight and The Artist at the same point in release. In Scandinavia, there is $320K in the bank after one week; and Australia/New Zealand are at $643K after three sessions.

For the sophisticated Korean market, Jenkins worked closely to customize posters (see right).

Helping spread the word, Moonlight had berths at the BFI London Film Festival, was the opening pic of the Rome Film Festival and also screened at the Rotterdam International Film Festival. Talent has traveled to each of those events as well as hitting France and Germany.

The next major markets to release include Germany via DCM on March 3; Japan via Phantom in mid-April; and Russia via Paradise. In China, Moonlight will have a VOD release via iQiyi.

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