Weekend Box Office (March 23 - 25, 2018)
by Sujit Chawla
THIS WEEKEND After five weekends on top, Marvel's Black Panther was dethroned by Universal's Pacfic Rim Uprising which was the only of the new wide releases to do well.
The sequel apparently a few people were looking forward to, Pacific Rim Uprising, snatched the top spot this weekend with an estimated $28M from 3,708 theaters for a per screen average of $7,552. That's down nearly 25% from the original's opening of $37.3M back in the summer of 2013. That film faded fairly quickly ending up with only $101M domestically though it did make $309M internationally which may be the biggest reason why a sequel was greenlit. In fact its highest gross ended up coming from China where it made $112M. Speaking of which, internationally Uprising made $150M this weekend led by, of course, China with $65M. Critics were mixed while audiences gave the film a so-so B CinemaScore.
Slipping one spot to number two, Black Panther earned another $16.7M this weekend, according to estimates, bringing its cume to a remarkable $631M putting it solidly at #5 on the all-time domestic box office list and officially becoming the highest grossing superhero film ever. Next in its sights are Jurassic World ($652M) and Titanic ($659M). Worldwide T'Challa and company stand at $1.237B putting it at #12 all-time with studio stablemates Beauty and the Beast ($1.263B) and Frozen ($1.276B) next to fall.
In third place with the best hold in the top 10 was the Christian biopic I Can Only Imagine which added 624 screens and fell only 19% to an estimated $13.8M bringing its total to a heavenly $38M with the Easter holidays just around the corner. The movie could see a finale in the $75-80M range, tremendous for a film with a budget under $10M.
Opening poorly in fourth place was the animated Sherlock Gnomes which made an estimated $10.6M from 3,662 theaters for a per screen average of only $2,895. Critics savaged the film while audiences were a little kinder giving it a solid B+ CinemaScore.
In fifth place with the worst hold in the top 10 was the reboot of Tomb Raider which fell 56% to an estimated $10.4M bringing its total up to only $41.7M. A final number in the $60-65M range is likely for a film that had much higher expectations. Speaking of films with much higher expectations, Disney's A Wrinkle in Time fell 50% in its third weekend to an estimated $8M bringing its cume up to $73.8M.
Love, Simon held on reasonably well in its second weekend slipping 34% to an estimated $7.8M, bringing its total up to $24M. Look for a final total of around $45-50M. Another religious-themed film debuted this weekend, this one to much poorer numbers than I Can Only Imagine as Paul, Apostle of Christ opened to an estimated $5M from 1,473 theaters for a per screen average of $3,394. Critics again were not kind as the film got half the positive reviews that I Can Only Imagine received. Game Night has been the little film that could with another strong hold falling only 25% in its fifth weekend to an estimated $4.2M bringing its total up to $61M.
A couple of new films debuted in 10th and 11th place this weekend. Bella Thorne's romantic drama Midnight Sun opened with an estimated $4.1M from 2,173 theaters for a per screen average of $1,896, worst in the top 10. Critics disliked the film but audiences really enjoyed what they saw giving the film an A- CinemaScore but this is the kind of film that will get more traction being watched at home. Steven Soderbergh's Unsane, which he shot using only an iPhone 7 Plus (!), debuted with an estimated $3.8M from 2,023 theaters for a per screen average of only $1,907. Reviews were mostly positive across the board but audiences only gave it a B- CinemaScore. And finally the highly anticipated animated film from Wes Anderson, Isle of Dogs, opened to an estimated $1.57M from only 27 screens for a per screen average of an amazing $58k.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $108.6M this weekend which was down 43% from last year when Beauty and the Beast remained at number one for a second straight weekend with $90.4M; and down 55% from 2016 when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opened at number one with a massive $166M.
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Compared to projections, Pacific Rim Uprising opened a little higher than Gitesh's $26M forecast while Sherlock Gnomes, Paul, Apostle of Christ and Unsane came in a little below his respective predictions of $15M, $7M and $5M. Midnight Sun came in right on his $4M target.
Be sure to check back on Thursday for a complete summary, including projections, for next weekend when Ready Player One (opening on Thursday), Tyler Perry's Acrimony and God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness all open.
This column is updated three times each week: Thursday (upcoming weekend's summary), Sunday (post-weekend analysis with estimates), and Monday night (actuals). Opinions expressed in this column are those solely of the author.
Last Updated: March 25, 2018 at 12:15PM ET
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