Box Office Report: Lara Croft No Match for T'Challa, As 'Black Panther' Scores a Five-Peat

Box Office Report: Lara Croft No Match for T'Challa, As 'Black Panther' Scores a Five-Peat

Mar 19, 2018

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

Tomb Raider1. Black Panther - $27.0 million ($605.4 million total)

2. Tomb Raider - $23.5 million ($23.5 million total)

3. I Can Only Imagine - $17.0 million ($17.0 million total)

4. A Wrinkle in Time - $16.5 million ($61.0 million total)

5. Love, Simon - $11.5 million ($11.5 million total)

6. Game Night - $5.5 million ($54.1 million total)

7. Peter Rabbit - $5.2 million ($102.4 million total)

8. Strangers: Prey at Night - $4.8 million ($18.6 million total)

9. Red Sparrow - $4.4 million ($39.5 million total)

10. Death Wish - $3.3 million ($29.9 million total)

 

The Big Stories

The latest challenger for Black Panther came in the form of Alicia Vikander rebooting the humorless video-game character Lara Croft. Since being inundated with trailers that pre-dated the Son-of Crocodile-Dundee 'is this really happening' queries, I have often wondered if fans of the game and the character were in any way excited for an update. The time for female heroes is certainly now and for the forseeable future. Maybe that would provide the kind of spark that would drive people to the box office. Alas, it’s just another Tomb Raider film and no challenger to T'Challa for the throne.

 

Get to the Tomb!

Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider films were not exactly critical darlings. The first film by Simon West from June 2001 received just a 19% at Rotten Tomatoes. It’s July 2003 sequel by Jan De Bont jumped to just 24%. So the 50% of The Wave director, Roar Uthaug’s update is…encouraging? The film seems, at best, interchangeable with those other films and steals brazenly (and frequently) from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in the final hour, but OK. In 2001, the interest generated a $47.7 million opening on its way to $131 million domestic. In 2003 that dropped to $21.7 million and $65.6 million. Both films were theatrical flops with a combined production budget of $210 million and Paramount rightly said enough was enough.

So Warner Bros picked up the franchise rights and hoped to spark some magic with a different Oscar winner. Reportedly, $94 million was spent on the production and it has now arrived with just a $23.5 million opening. The studio has not had a good run since their mega-hit It last fall. Blade Runner 2049 and Justice League were gigantic bombs. Geostorm and The Lego Ninjago Movie certainly lost their share. And they’ve had subsequent losers with Father Figures, 12 Strong, and The 15:17 to Paris, while still hoping Game Night can find another $35 million and join their Weinstein pick-up, Paddington 2, in the profit column. Tomb Raider is going to need around $282 million to break even. So far with a presumed $55-65 million finish domestically and $84 million international currently, the film is roughly halfway out of the hole, while WB pins its hopes on Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One opening in less than two weeks.

 

Tales of the Top Ten

In the ever-increasing list of accomplishments attributed to Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, it can now say it is the first film since James Cameron’s Avatar to lead the box office for five straight weeks. It is now the 25th film in history to perform so well, fending off back-to-back challengers of A Wrinkle in Time and Tomb Raider. You could give it good odds to knockdown Pacific Rim Uprising next week, too. The dollar amount is still insane as it will pass Star Wars: The Last Jedi and The Avengers next weekend to become the fifth-highest domestic grosser ever. Jurassic World and Titanic are also likely to fall around Black Panther’s two-month mark. On the international chart, it passed both Captain America: Civil War and Minions to become the 13th highest. Iron Man 3’s $1.21 billion is next. In related milestone news, Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has finally joined the $400 million club and has made over $939 million worldwide.

Some people were up in arms last week at the suggestion that Black Panther and A Wrinkle In Time were in competition against each other (just as they are in competition with every other film in the marketplace). Ava DuVernay’s film crossed the $60 million threshold but is still a longshot for $100 million domestic. (Its international haul is still a paltry $6.1 million.) But this week uniquely included a pair of films that could be considered at odds socially with each other in certain circles. Love, Simon (91% at RT) is about a closeted gay teenager. I Can Only Imagine is a faith-based film (not screened for critics but has a 55% at RT) about a Christian rock song centered entirely around possibly meeting Jesus. Love,Simon did respectable business with $11.5 million for Fox with a $17 million budget attached. For $10 million less, Roadside got $17 million for their efforts with Imagine. In 1,629 theaters, this is the largest launch in the history of the specialty studio and easily their biggest opening. (Their previous best was this year’s Forever My Girl with $4.2 million in 1,114 theaters.) In a single weekend, I Can Only Imagine is now third on Roadside’s all-time chart behind just Mud ($21.5 million) and Oscar-winner Manchester by the Sea ($47.6 million).


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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