Weekend Box Office (March 9 - 11, 2018)

by Gitesh Pandya

THIS WEEKEND Box office king Black Panther became the first film since all-time champ Star Wars: The Force Awakens to hold the number one spot for four consecutive weeks. The Marvel sensation also shattered the $1 billion global mark thanks to continued success around the world and its opening in its final market of China which was sensational.

In North America, Panther declined by only 38% to an estimated $41.1M boosting the domestic haul to $562M. This was the third highest gross of all-time for any movie in its fourth weekend trailing just Avatar and Force Awakens. By comparison, The Avengers grossed $36.7M Friday-to-Sunday in its fourth weekend which was helped by the Memorial Day holiday. The T'Challa hit is now running 9.5% ahead of Avengers after the first 24 days of release.

It also jumped up two spots on the all-time domestic blockbusters chart leaping over Rogue One and The Dark Knight in the process and is now the number two super hero movie ever behind just Avengers which it is likely to surpass as well. A North American final in the $650M range may occur.

Overseas the pressure was on for Black Panther to deliver in its last market of China, and boy did it. The Wakanda smash debuted to a stunning $66.5M there this weekend which was the fourth largest opening ever for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Overall, international territories added an estimated $100M to the total which climbed to $516.6M putting the global box office at $1.08 billion with more to come. Globally, Black Panther will soon pass Captain America: Civil War which is the film which first introduced the character. And if this durable run keeps going, it is possible that the $1.4 billion final of Avengers: Age of Ultron will be challenged.

Opening in second place was the next big-budget adventure on Disney's slate, the fantasy kidpic A Wrinkle in Time which bowed to an estimated $33.3M from 3,980 locations for a solid $8,371 average. Reviews were mixed for the PG-rated film but starpower from Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling helped bring in audiences.

The performance was even with the $33M debut of the studio's Tomorrowland from 2015 which also was an effects-driven fantasy aimed at families and boasting Hollywood star wattage, George Clooney in that case. That film faded fast and was seen as an expensive flop for the Mouse House. Its $190M production budget was at least 50% bigger than Wrinkle's so the new Oprah movie starts off its run in a better financial position.

Still, more was hoped for from this pricey project filled with stars, based on a beloved book, and backed with a formidable marketing push. Disney's recent March offerings coming from the fairy tale type genre include Cinderella ($67.9M debut), Oz the Great and Powerful ($79.1M) and of course last year's megahit Beauty and the Beast ($174.8M). On the other hand, Wrinkle did open better than the $26.9M of 2016's Johnny Depp sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass which cost one pretty penny for Disney. Studio data showed that the audience was 57% female and 57% over 25 and the film earned a decent B grade from CinemaScore.

This weekend saw a rare case when the top two films in the country were both directed by African-American filmmakers. Ryan Coogler did Black Panther while Ava Duvernay helmed Wrinkle. Last spring also saw big grosses from black directors with F. Gary Gray doing The Fate of the Furious and Jordan Peele giving moviegoers one of the year's most profitable films, Get Out.

The new horror entry Strangers: Prey at Night enjoyed a decent start opening in third place with an estimated $10.5M this weekend. The Aviron release averaged a respectable $4,253 from 2,464 locations. Reviews were not so good for the R-rated film but young adults responded to the frights which have been hard to find as Hollywood has not unleashed many scary movies so far in 2018.

Jennifer Lawrence witnessed a 52% decline during the second weekend of release of her latest action movie Red Sparrow. The Fox title did an estimated $8.2M and boosted its cume to $31.1M. The comedy Game Night held up well again sliding by only 24% to an estimated $7.9M pushing the sum to $45M for Warner Bros.

Dropping 32% in its fifth round was the kidpic Peter Rabbit with an estimated $6.8M giving Sony $93.5M to date. The Bruce Willis action remake Death Wish fell 49% in its sophomore session to an estimated $6.6M giving MGM $23.9M to date.

Paramount's sci-fi entry Annihilation dropped 44% in its third frame to an estimated $3.2M lifting the total to $26.1M. The critically panned action title The Hurricane Heist from Entertainment Studios was mostly ignored by moviegoers debuting to an estimated $3.2M from 2,402 theaters for a dismal $1,311 average. Jumanji did another $2.8M, according to estimates, slipping 38% and putting Sony at $397.3M.

The crime comedy Gringo from Amazon debuted just below the top ten to an estimated $2.6M from 2,404 locations for a poor $1,082 average. Reviews for the R-rated film starring David Oyelowo and Charlize Theron were more on the negative side and consumer excitement never really took off.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $123.4M this weekend which was down 17% from last year when Kong: Skull Island opened at number one with $61M; but up 4% from 2016 when Zootopia held onto the top spot with $51.3M.

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Watch the trailer for Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.

Compared to projections, A Wrinkle in Time and Strangers: Prey at Night both opened very close to my respective forecasts of $32M and $9M. Gringo and The Hurricane Heist came in below my $5M prediction for each.

Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Tomb Raider and Love, Simon both open.

# Title Mar 9 - 11 Mar 2 - 4 % Chg. Theaters Weeks AVG Cumulative Distributor
1 Black Panther $ 40,817,579 $ 66,306,935 -38.4 3,942 4 $ 10,355 $ 561,697,180 Disney
2 A Wrinkle in Time 33,123,609 3,980 1 8,323 33,123,609 Disney
3 Strangers: Prey at Night 10,402,271 2,464 1 4,222 10,402,271 Aviron
4 Red Sparrow 8,502,263 16,853,422 -49.6 3,064 2 2,775 31,471,006 Fox
5 Game Night 7,863,391 10,412,496 -24.5 3,061 3 2,569 45,004,023 Warner Bros.
6 Peter Rabbit 6,775,718 10,005,177 -32.3 3,112 5 2,177 93,433,524 Sony
7 Death Wish 6,581,130 13,010,267 -49.4 2,882 2 2,284 23,856,431 MGM
8 Annihilation 3,302,319 5,607,902 -41.1 1,709 3 1,932 26,246,833 Paramount
9 The Hurricane Heist 3,024,399 2,402 1 1,259 3,024,399 Ent. Studios
10 Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 2,742,244 4,438,090 -38.2 2,157 12 1,271 397,250,364 Sony
11 Gringo 2,722,420 2,404 1 1,132 2,722,420 Amazon
12 The Shape of Water 2,347,664 1,461,602 60.6 1,552 15 1,513 60,940,802 Fox Searchlight
13 The Greatest Showman 1,914,157 2,703,357 -29.2 952 12 2,011 167,614,558 Fox
14 Fifty Shades Freed 1,368,020 3,400,505 -59.8 1,357 5 1,008 98,382,615 Universal
15 Thoroughbreds 1,224,430 549 1 2,230 1,224,430 Focus
16 Three Billboards... 694,643 1,274,194 -45.5 552 18 1,258 53,339,205 Fox Searchlight
17 The Post 328,610 937,658 -65.0 278 12 1,182 81,159,866 Fox
18 Call Me By Your Name 293,406 783,227 -62.5 309 16 950 17,458,151 Sony Classics
19 A Fantastic Woman 271,632 166 6 1,636 1,157,307 Sony Classics
20 Darkest Hour 265,545 696,160 -61.9 245 16 1,084 56,088,295 Focus
Top 5 $ 100,709,113 $ 116,588,297 -13.6
Top 10 123,134,923 134,280,506 -8.3
Top 20 134,565,450 143,113,150 -6.0
Top 20 vs. 2017 134,565,450 159,773,220 -15.8

Last Updated: March 11, 2018 at 6:50PM ET

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