We reported on this past weekend’s U.S. box office returns earlier today, but there’s some action happening overseas that’s relevant to people who like to follow “box-office winners and losers”-type stories. DreamWorks’ How To Train Your Dragon 2 was expected to be one of this summer’s can’t-miss smashes, given how popular its predecessor had been, and given how strong its early reviews were. Instead, the movie finished second to 22 Jump Street in its opening weekend, with a $50 million take that was roughly $10 million less than prognosticators had prognosticated. And while How To Train Your Dragon 2 has stayed popular at the foreign box office all summer, DreamWorks’ big hope for a true international blockbuster hit—after the relative sputtering here at home—was for the movie to score big when it finally opened in China.
Well, the studio can breathe a sigh of relief now. How To Train Your Dragon 2 had a $25.9 million opening in China, on the way to a $37.7 million weekend in the foreign markets. All told, How To Train Your Dragon 2 has made well over $350 million overseas, versus its roughly $170 million take here in the U.S. While the first How To Train Your Dragon finished at just under $500 million globally, the sequel has now blown past that, with the Chinese run still just getting started. All of this bodes well for How To Train Your Dragon 3 (due out on June 17, 2016), but it also points out once again that calling a movie “a hit” or “a flop” these days is foolhardy until all the numbers are in. Here, How To Train Your Dragon 2 feels like it came and went and barely made a ripple (even though it’s the 11th highest-grossing movie of the year, domestically). Internationally, it’s now one of 2014’s major successes.