|Film||Weekend||Opening Weekend||Current Gross|
|Pacific Rim: Uprising (Legendary-Universal)||$28m||$28m||$28m|
|Black Panther (Marvel-Disney)||$16.7m||$202m||$630.9m|
|I Can Only Imagine (Lionsgate – Roadside Attractions)||$13.8m||$17m||$38.3m|
|Sherlock Gnomes (Paramount)||$10.6m||$10.6m||$10.6m|
|Tomb Raider (Warner Bros.)||$10.4m||$23.6m||$41.7m|
(Note: The numbers above and below are based on studio estimates and are likely to change when actual box office is reported.)
Universal / Legendary
March is coming to a close, and it wasn’t the best example of how movies can break out during the month, as only one movie opened over $30 million and just barely. Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One opens on Thursday and that might help save one of the worst Marches at the box office in many years.
The problem is that studios have gotten used to seeing such huge blockbuster hits opening in March from Zack Snyder’s 300 and 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to The Hunger Games and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, that they placed a lot of weaker tentpole attempts into the month. Few of them realized that Marvel Studios’ Black Panther would prove so dominant after its first two February weekends either.
Universal and Legendary Pictures opened the sequel Pacific Rim: Uprising, co-written and directed by Steven S. DeKnight, into 3,708 theaters on Friday. After making $2.4 million in Thursday previews, it took in $10.4 million Friday (incl. those Thursday previews). Starring John Boyega (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Sott Eastwood (Suicide Squad), Jing Tian and Charlie Day, the Pacific Rim sequel essentially did on the high-end of projections with an estimated $28 million for the weekend or $7,552 per theater.
Overseas, Pacific Rim brought in an estimated $122.5 million in 61 markets including a $65 million debut in China where the original movie did so well back in 2013. Korea took in $6.9 million in 429 locations followed closely by Russia. The original movie grossed $112 million total in China compared to its $102 million in North America, so Asia is once again driving the franchise. $15 million of Pacific Rim‘s global opening came from 1200 IMAX screens in 57 markets with China contributing $7.6 million of that amount on 507 IMAX screens.
Marvel Studios’ Black Panther finally dropped to second place after five consecutive weeks at #1, taking in an est. $16.6 million, down just 38% in its sixth frame. The Chadwick Boseman starrer has grossed $630.9 million domestically so far to become the fifth-highest grossing movie ever. Having surpassed 2012’s Marvel’s The Avengers this past weekend, Black Panther also becomes the highest-grossing superhero movie of all time, and it only needs to gross $30 million more to surpass both Jurassic World and James Cameron’s Titanic to become the third-highest grossing movie in North America.
Worldwide, Black Panther is currently the twelfth-highest grossing movie ever with $1.24 billion after adding another $12.9 million in 57 markets. Clearly, it’s slowly starting to dwindle away but should get one final bump with schools on spring break.
Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions’ faith-based I Can Only Imagine, based on the popular best-selling song, held up well in its second weekend after an astounding $17 million opening last weekend. It retained third place with $13.8 million, down just 19% to bring its ten-day total to $38.3 million.
Paramount Pictures released Sherlock Gnomes, the sequel to the Disney animated hit Gnomeo and Juliet, but it disappointed with its est. $10.6 million opening in 3,662 theaters, averaging less than $3,000 per theater. Considering that Gnomeo and Juliet opened with $25.3 million in Feb. 2011, it’s doubtful Sherlock Gnomes will come anywhere close to that film’s nearly $100 million domestic take. In fact, it might not even make half that amount.
Warner Bros’ Tomb Raider reboot starring Alicia Vikander took fifth place with $10.4 million, down 56% from its opening with $41.7 million grossed in North America so far. Overseas, Tomb Raider added another $34 million in 66 markets bringing its overall international total to $170 million with $69 million of that coming from China. Tomb Raider has grossed $211 million globally so far, so it’s not a complete disaster, but I wouldn’t expect a sequel any time soon. (Sorry, Neil Turitz!)
Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time took another major plunge, down 50% and two places to sixth with $73.9 million grossed domestically going into spring break. It isn’t doing much better overseas with another $2.3 million and just $14.1 million total in just 31% of international territories.
Fox’s coming out comedy Love, Simon followed in seventh place with $7.8 million, down just 34% from its opening weekend with $21.7 million grossed domestically so far.
Sony Pictures offered its own faith-based counter-programming with the biblical epic Paul, Apostle of Christ, which opened in eighth place with an est. $5 million in 1,473 theaters or $3,394 per venue. We’ll have to see if business picks up for the upcoming Good Friday and Easter weekend.
Open Road’s Y.A. drama Midnight Sun starring Bella Thorne also opened meekly in tenth place with $4.1 million in 2,173 theaters, while Steven Soderbergh’s thriller Unsane, starring Claire Foy and distributed by Bleecker Street, tanked with $3.8 million in 2,023 theaters to open outside the top 10.
Fox Searchlight opened Wes Anderson’s second animated feature Isle of Dogs into just 27 theaters where it grossed an astounding $1.6 million, enough for a 15th place opening with $58,148 per location, the best per-theater average of 2018 so far. Searchlight plans to expand Anderson’s latest nationwide on April 13.
Besides the weaker openers, this week’s box office is also down considerably from last year when Lionsgate’s Power Rangers ʼmovie opened in second place with $40 million behind Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, which grossed $90.4 million in its second weekend.
Some of other specialty releases included Stanley Tucci’s Final Portrait, which Sony Pictures Classics opened in NY and LA in three theaters where it grossed $28.2 million, doing slightly better than the Arnaud Desplechin-directed Ismael’s Ghost with $19k in two theaters. The weekend’s other French films, Back to Burgundy and Summer in the Forest didn’t fare as well with $12k and $8.6k respectively.
(Source: boxofficemojo.com. Figures represent estimated numbers at time of writing, and they may change.)
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor