EXCLUSIVE: A24’s The Whale, whose Oscar-nominated star Brendan Fraser scooped the prize for Male Actor in a Leading Role at the SAG Awards on Sunday night, is enjoying a strong run globally, having crossed $30M worldwide in the latest frame. Now at $32.3M global and with more overseas markets to release, the drama counts $15.5M so far from the international box office; that’s a nearly 50/50 split with domestic — a terrific result for a low-budget indie. Its global box office is close to that of The Fabelmans.
The Darren Aronofsky-directed drama debuted at the Venice Film Festival last September in a triumphant world premiere which thrust it into the awards season conversation. It then went on to Toronto and myriad other festivals, beginning domestic theatrical rollout in December.
That month, The Whale had the best limited opening of 2022 in NY and L.A., beating the per screen average record set in late spring by the indie distributor’s own Everything, Everywhere All At Once, and the biggest opening weekend for an arthouse movie. The title just went out on home entertainment domestically where it is No. 1 on iTunes.
Overseas, the top market on the three-time Oscar nominee is Mexico where California Filmes began release on February 9, scoring the No. 1 spot that weekend, and followed by flat drops. The gross through Sunday is $5.03M. The Whale is expected to finish its run in the $8M range in Mexico, similar to or not far off titles like A Quiet Place Part II and Elvis. It has surpassed Nope, Free Guy, Ticket to Paradise and last year’s Scream in the market (all at historical rates).
The UK is the No. 2 hub for the movie which also stars Oscar nominee Hong Chau. Through Sunday the gross is $2.57M. A24 self-released in the UK where the movie had also played the London Film Festival last October. In a dovetail with The Whale and the beloved actor’s Brenaissance, Fraser surprised audiences ahead of a screening of The Mummy at the Prince Charles Cinema in January, turning up dressed as one of his most iconic characters, adventurer and archaeologist Rick O’Connell, and doing a plug for The Whale.
Elsewhere in the top markets, Spain’s late January debut via YouPlanet came in at $450K, above comps like Banshees and Tar. The running cume through Sunday is $1.63M.
In Australia, The Whale kicked off in early February via Madman and has a gross to date of $1.18M.
Meanwhile, in Greece, The Whale is the highest grossing A24 movie ever and the biggest indie title since the pandemic began. After playing November’s Thessaloniki fest, it launched in January via Tanweer and has a $915K cume to date, edging Dune.
Italy (iWonder) and Brazil (California Filmes) released this past weekend; Brazil did double its projections with $361K and Italy was also above estimates with $643K. Notable markets still on the horizon include Korea, which opens today via Green Nara, France (Originals Factory) on March 8 and Japan (Kino) and Germany (Plaion) in April.
International trends, says A24, are similar to domestic with strong exits and recommendations. In the U.S., it’s been playing to a wider crossover audience for the typical arthouse film. Top grossing theaters came from traditional markets like New York and Los Angeles, but also in commercial theaters in non-traditional specialized areas like Albuquerque, San Antonio, El Paso, Winnipeg and Pharr Texas.