Box Office Report: 'Black Panther' Closes In On a Billion, Halfway There in America

Box Office Report: 'Black Panther' Closes In On a Billion, Halfway There in America

Mar 05, 2018

Here's your estimated 3-day box office returns (new releases bolded):

Red Sparrow1. Black Panther - $65.7 million ($501.1 million total)

2. Red Sparrow - $17.0 million ($17.0 million total)

3. Death Wish - $13.0 million ($13.0 million total)

4. Game Night - $10.7 million ($33.5 million total)

5. Peter Rabbit - $10.0 million ($84.0 million total)

6. Annihilation - $5.6 million ($20.6 million total)

7. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle - $4.5 million ($393.2 million total)

8. Fifty Shades Freed - $3.3 million ($95.5 million total)

9. The Greatest Showman - $2.6 million ($164.6 million total)

10. Every Day - $1.5 million ($5.2 million total)

 

The Big Stories

It is hard to think of a weekend at the box office with two more timely storylines – for better or worse. On one hand, you have the story of the Russian government recruiting a vulnerable young woman and turning her into a reluctant seductress to do psychological warfare with agents of the U.S. government. On the other, you have a man who takes the law into his own hands pointing a gun on one poster and being called a patriot on another. U.S.A.! U.S.A.! The Russian tale is more adaptable to recent positive events in our country of women taking their lives back. Nevertheless, critics were not wild about either, though they really disliked the American tale. Audiences, meanwhile, mostly ignored both of them to see the film about Wakanda.

 

Maybe She's Just Very Well...Red

Jennifer Lawrence's box office resume has the benefit of franchises and late-year Oscar players to boost her profile. The fact that many of them are quite good certainly does not hurt either. Her seven biggest openers ever are (in order) four Hunger Games and three X-Mens. Ten $100 million grossers to her credit, including American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook and even last year's Passengers. No one should be foolish enough to put the lackluster turnout for Darren Aronofsky's mother! on her shoulders and Joy may have been a disappointment financially but still netted Lawrence her fourth Oscar nomination. So for all the haters out there, she is still doing just fine.

The knives certainly seem to be out in certain places for Red Sparrow (51% at Rotten Tomatoes), emphasizing the brutality her character endures at the hands of powerful tormentors. Instead of identifying it as a smart character suffering horrendous slings and arrows while plotting her way from pawn to queen, it's like some are seeing a film about a poor girl who didn't have a jacket during a press photo while all the men did. Audiences may think they are going into a female Bourne or another Atomic Blonde instead of a more John le Carre-type thriller and the numbers have been less impressive with each report. Initial tracking suggested an opening in the mid-20s. First estimate was at just $20 million and then finally fell to just $17 million (less than Blonde’s $18.2 million opening last July). Audience and critical reaction put this opening in close proximity to films such as Focus, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Enemy at the Gates and this year's The Commuter. The good news for Red Sparrow is that their average multiple was 3.12, though Blonde (with a 76% at RT) had just a 2.82. but that still only puts the film on a first estimate between $49-54 million domestic. The $69 million budgeted film would then need about another $152 million overseas to break even for Fox.

 

Tales of the Top Ten

It's been three years since the nine-time/dual-franchise $100 million grosser Bruce Willis was in a film that actually was released in theaters. You all remember Rock the Kasbah, right? If you did, do you remember him in it? Regardless, he is back in Eli Roth's Death Wish remake. Counting his direct-to-video appearances that have actually registered at Rotten Tomatoes, this is his NINTH film in a row to register at 21% or lower with critics. (He hasn't had a positively-reviewed film he was prominently featured in since 2012 in Rian Johnson's Looper.) Its $13 million this weekend is better than many thought it would do, but it's hardly an inspired reboot for MGM, which, along with this $30 million remake, has others on the schedule including Valley Girl, The Addams Family and a female retooling of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

What is inspiring is the continued turnout for Black Panther. A mere 41% drop this weekend put the film at over $500 million, a little less than a million more than Jurassic World had on its 17th day. (It bested Jurassic’s third weekend by more than $11 million.) It took Marvel's The Avengers six more days to do it and it ended with $623 million in the summer of 2012. (The Last Jedi currently sits at $619 million.) Panther is now the tenth highest-grossing domestic film of all-time and is actually going to make a run at Titanic's $659 million for third place, a number including its anniversary and 3-D re-releases. It currently stands at $897 million worldwide.

Meanwhile, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is looking to crawl its way to become the 30th film ever to reach $400 million. (It is at $928 million worldwide.) Universal's Fifty Shades Freed is hoping to become Film #700 to reach $100 million. Sony's Peter Rabbit now looks like it could be #701.  Last week's Game Night took a decent drop and should be headed over $50 million for starters but poor Annihilation, all but buried by Paramount, could achieve a minor victory by hitting $30 million; minor in that word-of-mouth was intriguing enough for audiences not to bury it completely. Either way, it is going to be Paramount's ninth film in a row to be a loser at the box office.


Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on WGN Radio with Nick Digilio as well as on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[Box office figures via Box Office Mojo.]

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