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  1. Box Office: 'Rampage' Barely Beats 'A Quiet Place'

    After much nail biting and hand wringing, it looks like "Rampage," Dwayne Johnson's destruction-filled adaptation of the classic arcade game, won the box office race with $34.5 million. For a while it looked like John Krasinski's horror tale "A Quiet Place" would take the top spot (especially given the inherent spookiness of a Friday the 13th weekend), but that ended up at #2 with $32.6 million, which is still admirably impressive (it's down just 35% from last weekend) and puts it just below the vaulted $100 million mark. (Unlike the $120 million+ "Rampage," "A Quiet Place" had a modest budget of just $17 million.)

    Elsewhere, newcomer "Truth or Dare" from Universal and horror hitmaker Blumhouse, surprised by over-performing with $19 million, enough to put it in the #3 spot, ahead of Steven Spielberg's whirligig "Ready Player One," which in its third week remains in the top 5 with $11.2 million. So far, Spielberg's nostalgia-filled joyride has collected just north of $114.6 million, which is great but not terrific considering its steep $175 million production costs (and that's before you consider what Warner Bros. spent marketing the movie).

    Universal's R-rated comedy "Blockers" rounded out the top 5 with $10.3 million, bringing its total to $36.9 million. It also is worth nothing that Marvel Studios' "Black Panther" was #6 despite a big push earlier in the week to announce the movie's home video release in May. Disney is telling people "it's coming to your living room" and they're still rushing out to the theaters to see it (it's down just 39% from the week before). That's truly incredible. Also incredible: its $673.7 million domestic haul. Way to go Wakanda.

    What did you watch this weekend? Let us know!

  2. 'Avengers: Infinity War' Tickets Outselling Last 7 MCU Movies Combined

    Combined! Plus, double the "Black Panther" pre-sales at this time.

    If you don't already have tickets to see "Avengers: Infinity War," you may be pushing your luck. Fandango just reveled that "Avengers 3" is outselling the last seven Marvel Cinematic Universe movies combined in pre-sales.

    As a reminder, the last seven MCU movies are...

    • "Black Panther"
    • "Thor: Ragnarok"
    • "Spider-Man: Homecoming,"
    • "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"
    • "Doctor Strange"
    • "Captain America: Civil War"
    • "Ant-Man"

    It's not surprising to hear that "Infinity War" is kicking butt, but "Civil War" and "Black Panther" set pre-sales records, too. So for "Avengers 3" to be doing so well that it beat both, and combined those other movies? Hot damn. It's like "Avengers 3" is Thanos itself, destroying everything in its path. Run!

    Fandango added that "Infinity War" is selling more than double the amount of tickets "Black Panther" sold at this point in its sales cycle, just over two weeks ahead of release date. All we've seen since February is headlines about how many records "Black Panther" has broken at the box office, so get ready for more of that.

    "'Infinity War' has built up such unprecedented anticipation that it's pacing to break records, the likes of which we have never seen before for a superhero movie," said Fandango Managing Editor Erik Davis in a statement. "Moviegoers are rushing to guarantee their seats in advance for what is sure to be one of the most talked-about movies of the decade."

    Well, if it doesn't break every record at this point it's going to be labeled "disappointing." It's tracking to make over $200 million in its April 27 U.S. opening weekend. If "Infinity War" gets the usual MCU approval from critics and fans, that should give it legs to stay at the top of the box office around the world for a long time.

    Question 1: How long will it take to reach $1 billion worldwide? Less time than the 26 days for "Black Panther," 24 for "Civil War" and "Age of Ultron," 22 for "Iron Man 3," and 19 for "The Avengers"?

    Question 2: Will "Deadpool 2" top it when it opens May 18 or will it have to settle for second?

    Question 3: Do you still need to get tickets? Head here for showtimes and tix.

    [Via: TheWrap]

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  3. See 22 New 'Avengers: Infinity War' Posters & Box Office Tracking Numbers

    We are so ready to watch the [language!] out of "Avengers: Infinity War."

    At this point, we're only three weeks away, and Marvel's marketing team is full-steam-ahead. Last week, Marvel shared posters tied to the Infinity Stones (except one). This week, they shared 22 character posters highlighting the key players of "Infinity War." Of course, that just allows fans to notice who was not featured -- including perpetual bridesmaid Hawkeye.

    Here are the 22 posters, grouped into batches of four, minus the final two:

    "There was an idea, to bring together a group of remarkable people, to see if we could become something more." @Avengers: #InfinityWar (1/6) pic.twitter.com/IdX0CSDbhV

    — Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) April 4, 2018

    "There was an idea, to bring together a group of remarkable people, to see if we could become something more." @Avengers: #InfinityWar (2/6) pic.twitter.com/aF5aF8qxyx

    — Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) April 4, 2018

    "There was an idea, to bring together a group of remarkable people, to see if we could become something more." @Avengers: #InfinityWar (3/6) pic.twitter.com/xaKPxNhno6

    — Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) April 4, 2018

    "There was an idea, to bring together a group of remarkable people, to see if we could become something more." @Avengers: #InfinityWar (4/6) pic.twitter.com/Q2gjiSPmYF

    — Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) April 4, 2018

    "There was an idea, to bring together a group of remarkable people, to see if we could become something more." @Avengers: #InfinityWar (5/6) pic.twitter.com/4C8y0hTjY6

    — Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) April 4, 2018

    "There was an idea, to bring together a group of remarkable people, to see if we could become something more." @Avengers: #InfinityWar (6/6) pic.twitter.com/8w0uiYVP1Z

    — Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) April 4, 2018


    Scarlet Witch has been getting a lot of prominent poster play -- in the Infinity Stones posters and now here. Plus, she was on that magazine cover that didn't really look like her at all. That must be a hint to a solid role for Wanda, hopefully beyond her romance with Vision.

    Anyway, on to the box office tracking. Deadline just shared some early numbers suggesting -- no shock -- "Avengers 3" could open to $200M-plus, "easily on its way to a record April debut." They said that's an industry prediction, not Disney's prediction, which will likely be more conservative.

    Variety also reported tracking data:

    "The every-hero-but-the-kitchen-sink Marvel adventure is on pace to open to a massive $175 million to $200 million when it premieres on April 27. If it hits those numbers, it will be in some rarefied company. Only seven other films in history have topped $175 million in their debuts and only five have hit the $200 million mark."

    It only took "Infinity War" six hours to break Fandango's advance sales record for superhero movies, defeating "Black Panther." "Black Panther" made a massive $242 million over the long President's Day weekend in February. Will the opening for "Avengers: Infinity War" top "Black Panther"? It's not opening on a long holiday weekend or anything, so that might come into play.

    Here's more on the "Infinity War" tracking, and April openings, from Deadline:

    "The asterisk here is that when films chart this high on tracking, it becomes hard to predict their opening, and we also have to remind you of the cap that April has: its record $100M-plus weekends of Furious 7 ($147M) and Fate of the Furious ($98.7M) occurred over Easter holiday weekends, while The Jungle Book popped to a $103.2M during the middle of the month.

    Only 5% K-12 and 4% colleges are off during the April 27-29 opening weekend for Infinity War, but school never stopped the kids from fueling a record weekend at the box office. Furthermore there were slightly more schools on break on Infinity War's original weekend of May 4 (2% K-12 and 16% colleges per ComScore)."

    "Avengers: Infinity War" opens Friday, April 27. There will be premieres and worldwide openings before that point, though, so be careful of spoilers.

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  4. 'Black Panther' Is Now the 10th Highest-Grossing Movie of All Time

    After more than six weeks in theaters, "Black Panther" has continued to claw its way up the box office charts, slashing countless records and surpassing some pretty formidable film foes. But now, the Marvel flick has ascended into some truly elite territory: It's officially become one of the 10 highest-grossing movies of all time worldwide.

    "Black Panther" has raked in more than $1.277 billion at the global box office since its mid-February release, just enough to bump fellow Disney property "Frozen" from the number 10 spot. Sorry, Anna and Elsa, but your (comparitively) paltry $1.276 billion showing just can't compete with T'Challa and co.

    The flick is also faring even better stateside, with its domestic haul of $650.9 million currently ranking it as the fifth highest-grossing film of all time in North America. And it seems all but certain to overtake the number four spot (currently held by "Jurassic World" and its dino-sized $652 million total) any day now.

    "Black Panther" has become a true cultural phenomenon, connecting with audiences around the globe and generating a deafening buzz that any studio would kill for. At this point, it would only be surprising if the flick didn't make any more money. Its box office reign may be wrapping up (especially with the release of fellow MCU property "Avengers: Infinity War" looming), but we're betting it still has a few more surprises up its sleeve.

    [via: Box Office Mojo]

  5. Box Office: 'Ready Player One' Powers to $53 Million Over Holiday Weekend

    LOS ANGELES, April 1, (Variety.com) - Steven Spielberg's latest blockbuster topped the domestic box office over the four-day holiday weekend.

    Warner Bros.' "Ready Player One" debuted in line with recent projections of $53 million from 4,324 locations. The film opened Thursday, getting a head start over its fellow weekend releases, "Tyler Perry's Acrimony" and "God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness."

    The virtual reality fantasy, which currently holds an A- CinemaScore and 76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, released internationally with $128 million since it opened on Tuesday, bringing its worldwide total up to a solid $181.2 million. The film based on Ernest Cline's novel stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg and T.J. Miller.

    "Tyler Perry's Acrimony" -- Tyler Perry's 19th collaboration with Lionsgate -- secured second place with $17 million in 2,006 locations. Meanwhile, the third installment of the "God's Not Dead" franchise premiered with $2.6 million in 1,693 locations.

    Marvel's "Black Panther" remains a powerhouse in the No. 3 slot, taking in $11 million in 2,988 locations. The blockbuster crossed the $650 million mark at the North American box office, making it the fifth-highest release in the U.S. of all time. It looks to shortly become the fourth-highest release after it passes "Jurassic World," which made $652 million. Currently, "Titanic" is at No. 3 with $659 million.

    Over the Easter weekend, the Christian drama "I Can Only Imagine" stayed strong in fourth place with $10.5 million in 2,648 locations, totaling $55.3 million in its three weeks of release. Another faith-based film, "Paul, Apostle of Christ" saw $3.5 million at 1,473 locations. In two weeks, the film has made $11.5 million.

    Rounding out the top five is Universal's "Pacific Rim Uprising" with $9.2 million in 3,708 locations. The sci-fi actioner, which held the top spot last weekend, has taken in $45.6 million domestically. On par with its first weekend, the sequel to 2013's "Pacific Rim" had an impressive international turnout with $22.2 million in 63 markets, bringing its international total up to $96.6 million.

    Continuing its limited release, Wes Anderson's "Isle of Dogs" made $2.9 million for a per screen average of $17,420 after expanding to 165 locations. Fox Searchlight Pictures' stop-motion animation has grossed $5.9 million and looks to cross the $6 million mark in the upcoming week. Next weekend, "Isle of Dogs" will spread to between 450 and 500 locations.

    In total, the box office is down 21.2 percent compared to the same weekend last year, while the 2018 North American box office is down 3.8 percent from 2017.

    However, Paul Dergarabedian, a media analyst at comScore, says "Ready Player One" looks to have promising playability at the box office ahead of the debuts of "Blockers" and "A Quiet Place" next week and "Avengers Infinity War" at the end of April.

    "After a rough month of March at the box office, down 24.1 percent vs. last year, 'Ready Player One' will hopefully portend bigger and better things to come at the April box office," he said.

  6. Box Office: 'Pacific Rim Uprising' Conquers 'Black Panther'

    ​​​​LOS ANGELES, March 25, (Variety.com) - After weeks of speculating which film could slow "Black Panther's" impressive roll, "Pacific Rim Uprising" took the top spot at the domestic box office.

    Universal and Legendary's "Pacific Rim Uprising" landed a respectable $28 million opening weekend at 3,708 locations. The monster battle movie has garnered mixed critical response, with a current 46 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Though it opened with a softer debut than Guillermo del Toro's predecessor "Pacific Rim," which saw $37 million in July 2013, the sequel was enough to dethrone "Black Panther" in the superhero tentpole's sixth weekend.

    Steven S. DeKnight co-wrote and directed "Pacific Rim Uprising" with a reported $150 million budget. The original, which starred Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Charlie Hunnam, and Robert Kazinsky, went on to gross $411 million at the worldwide box office, thanks to a strong international showing, especially in China, where it made $112 million compared to the U.S.' $101.8 million.

    The sequel is set 10 years after the Battle of the Breach with a new generation of Jaeger pilots ready to combat the evolving Kaiju monsters and prevent humanity's extinction. John Boyega plays Jake Pentecost, the son of Elba's character Stacker Pentecost, who sacrificed his life in the first film. Scott Eastwood, Jing Tian, Cailee Spaeny, Kikuchi, Burn Gorman, Adria Arjona, and Day also star.

    Still, in its sixth weekend "Black Panther" continues to be a powerhouse, nabbing the No. 2 spot with $17 million at 3,370 sites. That number lands "Black Panther" one of the seven highest sixth weekends in history. To date, the Marvel film has taken in $631 million, making it the fifth-highest all-time domestic grosses ahead of "The Avengers."

    "It had to happen at some point, and Universal's 'Pacific Rim Uprising' now holds the distinction of being the film that took over 'Black Panther's' long-standing position as king of the weekend box office mountain," Paul Dergarabedian, a box office analyst at comScore, said. "The latest Disney superhero film has been an absolute marvel, holding onto the top spot for a whopping five weeks, while sprinting its way up the all-time charts and now stands as the fifth highest grossing film of all-time in North America and ranks twelfth globally after just 38 days in theaters.

    Meanwhile, Roadside Attraction and Lionsgate's faith-based "I Can Only Imagine" remains a force in its second weekend with $13 million from 2,253 sites. Based on the story behind the best-selling Christian song, "I Can Only Imagine" earned a surprisingly strong $17.1 million at the domestic box office, bringing its total up to $38 million.

    Following "I Can Only Imagine's" success, biblical drama "Paul, Apostle of Christ" opened in line with estimates with $5 million at 1,473 sites over Palm Sunday weekend. The story follows James Faulkner as Saint Paul in his last days awaiting execution by Emperor Nero in Rome. Directed by Andrew Hyatt, the film also stars Jim Caviezel, Olivier Martinez, Joanne Whalley, and John Lynch.

    Also opening this weekend was Paramount Pictures and MGM's animated comedy "Sherlock Gnomes," which saw $10 million at 3,662 locations. That's significantly lower than initial tracking estimates between $13 million to $18 million. The sequel to 2011's "Gnomeo & Juliet," which reeled in $194 million worldwide, sees the petite pair recruiting detective Sherlock Gnomes and his sidekick, Gnome Watson, to investigate the mysterious disappearance of other garden gnomes. Directed by John Stevenson and executive produced by Elton John, it features the voices of James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mary J. Blige, and Johnny Depp.

    The second weekend of Alicia Vikander's "Tomb Raider" landed $10 million from 3,854 locations, bringing its grosses up to $41 million, while the second weekend of "Love, Simon" took in $7 million with $23 million to date.

    Two smaller releases -- Global Road Entertainment's "Midnight Sun" and Bleecker Street and Fingerprint Releasing's "Unsane" -- debuted with $4 million and $3.6 million respectively.

    Young adult romantic drama "Midnight Sun" stars Bella Thorne as a teen who has been sheltered at home since childhood due to a life-threatening sensitivity to sunlight. Steven Soderbergh's psychological thriller "Unsane" sees Claire Foy as a troubled woman stalked by her ex. Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, Juno Temple, Aimee Mullins, and Amy Irving round out the cast.

    Rounding out the weekend, Wes Anderson's "Isle of Dogs" opened with $1.5 million in limited release, with a screen average of over $58 thousand in 27 theaters. The stop-motion animated film boasts a star-studded ensemble voice cast that includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Greta Gerwig, Frances McDormand, and Bob Balaban. Set in a dystopian futuristic Japan, dogs have been quarantined on a remote island due to a canine flu. A boy, Atari, ventures to the island to find his dog, Spots.

  7. 'Justice League' Officially the Lowest-Grossing DCEU Movie So Far

    Spare a hug for the DC fan in your life as Marvel goes into hyperdrive to promote "Avengers: Infinity War," hot off the $1 billion-and-counting success of "Black Panther."

    The DC Extended Universe has yet to find a film to crack the $1B ceiling. So far, "Batman v Superman" has come the closest. The most recent movie, the superhero team-up "Justice League," fell the farthest.

    "Justice League" has finished its box office run, and it clocked in at $657,924,295 worldwide. That puts it just behind 2013's "Man of Steel," which was the first DCEU movie.

    What went wrong for "Justice League"? So much has already been said on this topic, and fans are now placing blame across the board -- including the film's plot, tone, and character issues; Joss Whedon tanking Zack Snyder's vision; and critics steering fans away.

    Here are the domestic and worldwide grosses for the DCEU movies to date (via Box Office Mojo):

    "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"
    Domestic: $330,360,194
    Foreign: $543,274,725
    Worldwide: $873,634,919

    "Wonder Woman"
    Domestic: $412,563,408
    Foreign: $409,283,604
    Worldwide: $821,847,012

    "Suicide Squad"
    Domestic: $325,100,054
    Foreign: $421,746,840
    Worldwide: $746,846,894

    "Man of Steel"
    Domestic: $291,045,518
    Foreign: $377,000,000
    Worldwide: $668,045,518

    "Justice League"
    Domestic: $229,024,295
    Foreign: $428,900,000
    Worldwide: $657,924,295

    Interesting to see that "Justice League" actually made more than "Wonder Woman," "Suicide Squad," and "Man of Steel" at the foreign box office, it just couldn't get that kind of love at home.

    On the bright side, the bar is now very low for James Wan's "Aquaman." That movie opens December 21.

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  8. 'Black Panther' Surpasses 'Tomb Raider' for Fifth Box Office Crown

    LOS ANGELES, March 18, (Variety.com) - Disney-Marvel's "Black Panther" has maintained its momentum at the domestic box office, winning its fifth consecutive weekend with $27 million from 3,834 locations.

    Alicia Vikander's "Tomb Raider" finished second in its opening weekend in line with expectations with $23.5 million from 3,854 sites for Warner Bros. and MGM. Lionsgate-Roadside Attractions' faith-based drama "I Can Only Imagine" outperformed forecasts with $17.1 million at 1,629 venues.

    Disney's second weekend of time-travel adventure "A Wrinkle in Time" followed in fourth with $16.6 million at 3,980 locations, lifting its 10-day total to $61.1 million. Fox's launch of gay teen comedy-drama "Love, Simon" took fifth with $11.5 million at 2,402 venues.

    "Black Panther" has become only the seventh title to pass the $600 million milestone at the North American box office, and is the second-fastest film to do so. It's the fourth-highest fifth weekend of all time, and the first time a film has held the top spot for five weekends in a row since 2009's "Avatar."

    The overall box office took in about $130 million, down 50 percent from the same weekend last year when Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" opened with $174.5 million. Thanks to "Black Panther," the year-to-date box office is up 2 percent over the same period a year ago at $2.5 billion, according to comScore.

  9. 'Black Panther' Passes $1 Billion Box Office Milestone After 26 Days

    Wakanda forever!

    "Black Panther" crossed the $1 billion milestone over the weekend, its fourth week in release. Ryan Coogler's Marvel movie took 26 days to hit $1 billion. Only 11 films have gotten there faster. Not that it's a race. If you hit $1B, you already won.

    As of March 12, "Black Panther" has made $1,078,615,601 at the worldwide box office and it's nowhere near done.

    As Variety noted, "Black Panther" is the 33rd movie to gross $1 billion; the 16th Disney film to reach $1B; and the fifth Marvel film to hit the milestone, after "The Avengers," "Avengers: Age of Ultron," "Iron Man 3," and "Captain America: Civil War."

    Speaking of the billion club, Quartz broke down the list of movies that hit $1 billion and how long it took them to get there.

    Here's the list up to "Black Panther," see Quartz for the full rundown.

    Movie -- days to $1 billion

    • Star Wars: The Force Awakens -- 12
    • Jurassic World -- 13
    • Furious 7 -- 17
    • The Fate of the Furious -- 19
    • Star Wars: The Last Jedi -- 19
    • Avatar -- 19
    • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 -- 19
    • Marvel's The Avengers -- 19
    • Iron Man 3 -- 22
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron -- 24
    • Captain America: Civil War -- 24
    • Black Panther -- 26

    "Black Panther" just edged out "Beauty and the Beast," which hit $1 billion in 29 days.

    It's going to be tough for anyone to beat the "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" record of 12 days ... but maybe "Avengers: Infinity War" can do it as early as next month? We'll see.

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  10. Box Office: 'Black Panther' Tops 'A Wrinkle in Time' in Disney-Dominant Weekend

    LOS ANGELES, March 11, (Variety.com) - "Black Panther" remained super-heroic in its fourth weekend at the North American box office with $41.1 million at 3,942 locations, easily topping the opening weekend of fantasy-adventure "A Wrinkle in Time" with $33.5 million at 3,980 sites, estimates showed Sunday.

    What had been pegged as a close contest among Disney titles for first place turned into a relatively easy victory for "Black Panther." The Marvel title generated the third-highest fourth weekend of all time, trailing only "Avatar" and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

    With $562 million in 24 days, "Black Panther" is now the seventh-highest domestic grosser of all time. It's the first film since "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" to lead the North American box office for four straight weekends.

    "A Wrinkle in Time" opened in line with Disney's projections, which were slightly lower than the industry consensus. Critics were mostly unimpressed with a 42 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and audiences gave "Wrinkle" a B CinemaScore. The $100 million-plus budgeted film is depending on family audiences to support the film in the coming weeks to push it into profitability.

    A total of 37 percent of audiences gave "Wrinkle" an "excellent" rating with another 38 percent rating it "very good," according to comScore/Screen Engine PostTrak. Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore, noted that the key 13-17 year-old demographic gave it an 83 percent combined score in those two categories. "That is very strong and makes sense with the PG rating, the subject matter and young people's love for the book," he added.

    Based on Madeleine L'Engle's 1962 classic fantasy novel, "A Wrinkle in Time" stars Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Zach Galifianakis, Chris Pine, Mindy Kaling and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. The film follows a young girl (Reid), her step-brother (Deric McCabe), and a friend (Levi Miller) as they embark on a journey that spans time and space in search of her missing father.

    The weekend marks the first time in recent memory that films both led and directed by African-Americans have nabbed the first and second place spots at the box office. Jordan Peele's "Get Out," starring Daniel Kaluuya, led the box office its opening weekend in February 2017, with $33.3 million. The wide release of "Hidden Figures," starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae, opened at no. 1 in January of the same year with $22.8 million.

    Dave Hollis, president of worldwide distribution for Disney, told Variety that "Black Panther" and "A Wrinkle in Time" accounted for inclusion through their portrayals of strong female and minority characters.

    "Audiences respond to seeing themselves on the big screen and it's good business for us," he added. "Representation and inclusion matter."

    Hollis also predicted that "A Wrinkle in Time" has the next four weekends during spring vacations from schools. He noted that Disney has traditionally opened a family film in early March to take advantage of the family demographic, as it did last year with "Beauty and the Beast" and in 2016 with "Zootopia."

    Overall domestic box office was $137 million, down 17 percent from the same weekend a year ago when "Kong: Skull Island" opened with $61 million. But year-to-date box office is up 7.4 percent to $2.31 billion, according to comScore. That gain comes largely from "Black Panther" and "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle."

    The opening of Aviron Pictures' "The Strangers: Prey at Night" led the rest of the pack in third with $10.5 million at 2,464 venues. Directed by Johannes Roberts, the horror sequel to 2008's "The Strangers" stars Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson, Bailee Madison, and Lewis Pullman.

    Fox's second weekend of Jennifer Lawrence's spy thriller "Red Sparrow" followed in fourth with $8.2 million at 3,064 sites with a 52 percent decline. "Sparrow" has topped $31 million in its first 10 days.

    Warner Bros.' third weekend of R-rated comedy "Game Night" finished fifth with $7.9 million at 3,061 locations, declining only 24 percent to lift its 17-day total to $45 million. Sony's fifth weekend of "Peter Rabbit" came in sixth with $6.8 million at 3,112 venues to push the family comedy past $93 million domestically. MGM's second weekend of "Death Wish" followed in seventh with $6.6 million at 2,882 sites to give the Bruce Willis reboot nearly $24 million in 10 days.

    Entertainment Studios' action-thriller "The Hurricane Heist" opened softly with $3.2 million at 2,402 locations was tied for eighth place with Paramount's third weekend of sci-fi horror movie "Annihilation" at 1,709 screens.

    Sony's 12th weekend of "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" rounded out the top 10 with $2.8 million at 2,157 sites. its 82-day total has hit a remarkable $397.3 million, good enough for the 30th spot on the all-time domestic list.

    Nash Edgerton's "Gringo" grossed a pallid $2.6 million at 2,402 locations to finish 11th. The Amazon Studios and STX Films' action comedy stars David Oyelowo as a business man who works for a company that had developed the "weed pill" and is sent to Mexico to handle the manufacturing of the product, but ends up getting kidnapped by a drug cartel. The cast also includes Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, Amanda Seyfried, and Thandie Newton.

    Fox Searchlight's 15th weekend of "The Shape of Water" followed in 12th with $2.4 million at 1,552 venues, up 63 percent as the studio added 720 screens of Guillermo del Toro's fantasy drama winning Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards. "Shape" has grossed $61 million in 101 days.

    Focus Features' thriller "Thoroughbreds" opened with a quiet $1.2 million on 549 screens. Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke portray childhood friends who reconnect in suburban Connecticut after years of growing apart. Cory Finley makes his directing debut with the film that features Anton Yelchin in his final on-screen role. The actor died at age 26 in a freak accident in 2016.

  11. Box Office: 'Black Panther' Tops $500 Million, Dominates 'Red Sparrow,' 'Death Wish'

    LOS ANGELES, March 4, (Variety.com) - Disney-Marvel's "Black Panther" is continuing its super-heroic run, grossing a stunning $501.1 million in North America in only 17 days and becoming the 10th highest grosser of all time.

    "Black Panther," starring Chadwick Boseman, dominated domestic moviegoing in its third weekend with $65.7 million at 4,084 locations -- the third-highest weekend of all time after "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" at $90.2 million and "Avatar" at $68.5 million.

    "Black Panther" is now the second-highest grossing Marvel movie of all time at the domestic box office, surpassing "Avengers: Age of Ultron" this weekend at $459 million and trailing only "The Avengers" at $623.4 million. "Black Panther" has a realistic shot at reaching that level in the coming weeks and may eventually top "Jurassic World" at $652 million and "Titanic" at $659 million for the third highest domestic total of all time.

    Two new titles opened with moderate results that might have been higher without a must-see title like "Black Panther" in multiplexes. Jennifer Lawrence's spy thriller "Red Sparrow" launched with $17 million at 3,056 sites for Fox and Bruce Willis' "Death Wish" debuted with $13 million at 2,847 venues for MGM.

    Warner Bros.' second weekend of comedy thriller "Game Night" followed in fourth with $10.7 million from 3,502 sites, edging Sony's fourth weekend of CGI-live action "Peter Rabbit" with $10 million at 3,607 locations. "Peter Rabbit" has connected with family audiences for $84 million in its first 24 days.

    Paramount's second weekend of "Annihilation" finished in sixth with $5.7 million at 2,112 venues, followed by Sony's 11th weekend of its sturdy action comedy "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" with $4.5 million at 2,313 sites. "Jumanji" has now grossed $393.2 million in 75 days.

    Thanks to "Black Panther" and "Jumanji," overall domestic box office for 2018 is up an impressive 10.9 percent to $2.12 billion, according to comScore.

  12. Here's Why 'Black Panther' Can't Be Stopped at the Box Office

    Thanks to "Black Panther," Disney accountants are facing a new challenge -- not that they're complaining.

    Not only to they have to count the rapidly rising stacks of cash from the box office, but they also have to count the ways the new superhero smash is approaching several box office records.

    For instance, with the Wakanda saga's estimated $108 million take this weekend, it's become the second fastest movie ever to reach $400 million in domestic sales (it took just 10 days, tied with "Jurassic World," and second only to the eight days it took "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"). It's also the second most lucrative second weekend of any movie ever (again, "Force Awakens," which earned $149 million its second weekend, is first). And it's one of just four films to ever to earn $100 million or more on its second weekend. (The other two are "Jurassic World" and "The Avengers.")

    Already, "Black Panther" is the fifth-highest grossing movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and within a day or so, it'll overtake "Captain America: Civil War" and "Iron Man 3" to claim third place. It's the fastest Marvel film to reach $400 million, doing so four days quicker than "The Avengers." Oh, and the film has already earned $300 million overseas, and it's not even playing in such major markets as China and Japan yet.

    While last week's column explored why "Black Panther" was so big so fast out of the gate, its second-weekend success comes from some additional factors. Such as:

    1. Repeat Viewings
    The desire to see "Black Panther" over and over has been strong, helping to keep the movie a top seller on Fandango (yes, people are still buying tickets way in advance, even during the week). This helped sales stay strong even on weekdays. Most distributors are thrilled if a movie earns $20 million or more during its first three-day weekend; "Black Panther" earned that much on a Tuesday.

    2. Mass Audience Appeal
    Before "Black Panther" debuted, some pundits wondered if moviegoers beyond African-Americans would go see it. They need not have worried.

    According to tracking service PostTrak, the audience make-up this weekend was 37 percent white, 33 percent black, 18 percent Hispanic, and 7 percent Asian. Love for the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, well, universal, and "Black Panther" is no exception.

    3. Social Media
    People can't stop talking about "Black Panther," especially to their online friends, giving Disney the type of promotion you can't buy. Although Twitter activity has cooled since the movie's premiere last weekend, according to social media tracking firm RelishMix, tweets with "Black Panther" hashtags are still averaging about 352,000 a day. Most movies would love to see daily Twitter activity in the 100,000 range, so the "Black Panther" online buzz continues to be exceptionally strong.

    4. The Kids Love It
    Last week, Disney Executive Vice President for Theatrical Distribution Dave Hollis acknowledged to Moviefone that the one demographic area where the PG-13-rated "Black Panther" could have done better was among younger viewers. But he also predicted that those viewers would come in time. This weekend, his prediction started to come true.

    According to PostTrak, 47 percent of this weekend's audience was under 25, with guys under 25 making up the largest quadrant at 29 percent.

    5. No Competition
    There were three new wide releases this weekend, two of them well-reviewed, but none offered any real threat to Wakandan supremacy.

    Going into the weekend, new Jason Bateman dark comedy "Game Night" had several strikes against it. R-rated comedies haven't done that well over the last year or so, Bateman was the only reliable comedy box office draw in the cast, and the film's marketing campaign was weird (the poster showed no faces, just board-game tokens, one with a burglar's ski mask and one toppled over in a pool of blood). Still, it did pretty well for a grown-up comedy, premiering in second place with an estimated $16.6 million for the weekend -- or a little more than "Black Panther" earned on a modest Wednesday.

    "Annihilation" also had several strikes against it. It's a cerebral, philosophical sci-fi drama, and while critics adored it (with an 87 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes), moviegoers seemed to find it slow and confusing (they gave it a poor C grade at CinemaScore). Its cast, led by Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh, was light on box office drawing power.

    The biggest strike, though, may have been distributor Paramount, in the midst of a cold streak that's lasted more than a year. The studio tried to hedge its bets, by marketing the film as more of a female-driven action thriller than it is, and by selling off the foreign rights to Netflix -- meaning that the movie will stream overseas just weeks after playing in theaters here. Nonetheless, "Annihilation" opened in fourth place, with an estimated $11.0 million. It actually earned more per screen than "Game Night" ($5,467 to $4,759), but "Game Night" was playing on nearly 1,500 more screens.

    "Annihilation" could have done better, then, if Paramount had booked it into more theaters, but with "Black Panther," "Game Night," "Peter Rabbit," and "Fifty Shades Freed" all playing on more than 3,000 screens each, there wasn't that much available.

    The final new wide release was young-adult fantasy-romance "Every Day." It had weak reviews (50 percent fresh at RT), no recognizable stars, and a modest release pattern (1,667 screens) from the long-dormant independent distributor Orion. Also, the low-budget ($5 million) film spent only an additional $8 to $10 million on marketing. Still, the movie debuted in ninth place with an estimated $3.1 million, which may be enough, over the next few weeks, to put "Every Day" in the black.

    All told, then, "Black Panther" has been a phenomenon, one that profited from the movie's own strengths, as well as good luck and timing. We'll not see its like again anytime soon -- or at least not until Marvel's "Avengers: Infinity War" opens in May.

  13. Box Office: 'Black Panther' Sets More Records With $108M Second Weekend

    LOS ANGELES, (Variety.com) - Disney-Marvel's "Black Panther" is dominating the box office with an astounding $108 million at 4,020 North American locations -- the second-highest second weekend ever behind "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

    "Black Panther," starring Chadwick Boseman, has now grossed $400 million domestically in its first 10 days. Only "The Force Awakens" has reached that milestone faster. It's also grossed $304 million internationally.

    The superhero film, the 18th in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, declined only 46 percent from its opening Friday-Sunday -- underlining the film's massive appeal among moviegoers. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" set the second weekend record with $149 million in 2015, and "Black Panther" topped the second weekends of 2015's "Jurassic World" at $106.6 million, and 2012's "The Avengers" with $103 million.

    "Black Panther," directed by Ryan Coogler, has caught on with moviegoers this month in a way that few other titles have in Hollywood's recent history -- blowing past last month's tracking that showed it would open in the $100 million to $120 million range. It's notched an A+ Cinemascore -- becoming only the second Marvel film to do so -- and has dazzled critics with a 97 percent "fresh" score on Rotten Tomatoes. The film also stars Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya and Letitia Wright.

    ComScore's PostTrack scores of the audience for the second weekend show support among moviegoers far above average with 69 percent rating the film as "excellent" and another 23 percent as "very good." And it's done so outside the traditional summer and holiday season corridors for blockbusters, noted Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.

    "'Black Panther' continues to elevate the month of February to summer-style blockbuster status with a second weekend that represents only the third time that a film has posted a $100 million plus weekend performance during the month (behind only its $202 million debut and 'Deadpool's' $132 million opening in 2016)," he said. "And with a North American cume through Sunday of $400 million, it is the highest grossing film ever released in the month after just 10 days in theaters beating the long-standing $370.3 million record held by 2004's 'The Passion of The Christ.'"

    Demographics of the second-weekend audience were 33 percent African-American, 37 percent Caucasian, 18 percent Hispanic, 7 percent Asian and 5 percent others. The opening weekend was 37 percent African-American, 35 percent Caucasian, 18 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Asian and 5 percent other.

    Thanks to "Black Panther" and Sony's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," 2018 domestic box office has increased by an eye-popping 12.5 percent to $1.91 billion as of Sunday, according to comScore.

    Warner Bros.-New Line's opening of R-rated "Game Night," starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, finished a distant second with $16.6 million from 3,488 locations. The film is directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, and follows Bateman and McAdams as couple whose regular game night suddenly turns into a murder mystery. Critics have given "Game Night" strong support, helping draw an 82 percent "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

    Sony's third weekend of "Peter Rabbit" hopped into third place with $12.5 million at 3,707 sites, giving the family comedy $71.3 million after 17 days. That was enough to edge Paramount's sci-fi thriller "Annihilation" with a respectable $11 million at 2,102 venues, in line with forecasts.

    Universal's third weekend of "Fifty Shades Freed" followed in fifth with $6.9 million at 3,265 locations as the erotic romancer slid 60 percent. The finale of the trilogy has topped $89 million in 17 days.

    Sony's 10th weekend of its comedy hit "Jumanji" took sixth place with $5.7 million at 2,519 venues, declining only 29 percent and lifting the 68-day total to $387.3 million.

  14. 'Black Panther' Crosses $500 Million, Breaks More Box Office Records

    Less than a week after its jaw-dropping opening weekend, Marvel flick "Black Panther" continues its box office reign, circling a huge milestone and breaking several other records along the way.

    The flick is set to cross the $500 million mark worldwide on Thursday, currently sitting less than $10 million shy of that number as of press time. That's a kingly sum for a film that's only been theaters for nine days, and a number that parent company Disney is probably pretty grateful for, after a disappointing 2017.

    Indeed, the success of "Black Panther" is great news for Disney, which will officially cross the $1 billion mark at the global box office for the year on Thursday, after only 52 days. And as far as Marvel films go, the standalone feature is standing up to the MCU's biggest films, taking down 2012's "The Avengers" with the highest-grossing Wednesday haul for any Marvel flick (raking in $14.5 million, versus the $13.6 million earned by Tony Stark and co.'s first team-up).

    When compared to all other superhero flicks, "Black Panther" is roaring past them, too, banking the biggest Tuesday ever for a pic in the genre ($20.9 million), as well as "the biggest Tuesday for any movie outside of summer and the year-end holidays," per The Hollywood Reporter. Talk about super.

    All signs point to "Black Panther" ruling over the rest of the box office for the foreseeable future, with its week-two haul estimated in the $100 million range. Considering the previous projections for the film initially sat quite low, we wouldn't be shocked if it rockets well past these current figures.

    [via: The Hollywood Reporter]

  15. 9 Reasons Why 'Black Panther' Changed Everything at the Box Office

    Everyone knew "Black Panther" would be huge, but record-breaking-like-a-summer-movie huge?

    Just a week or so ago, experts had it beating the February opening-weekend record of $132 million that "Deadpool" set two years ago. But the new Marvel movie's numbers left that R-rated film's record in the dust.

    With an estimated three-day debut of at least $195 million, "Black Panther" is not only the biggest February opening of all time, but the fifth biggest opening weekend of all time. It's the second biggest Marvel opening ever, behind only the $207 million of "The Avengers." (It also beat "Avengers: Age of Ultron's" three and four day record, which is scary-good.)

    Over the four-day President's Weekend holiday, Disney is projecting that "Black Panther" will earn $218 million.

    Even Disney claims to be surprised by how big "Black Panther" is. "The volume of business is bigger than any of us could have imagined," Disney Executive Vice President for Theatrical Distribution Dave Hollis tells Moviefone. "Maybe we shouldn't be surprised by anything anymore," he adds.

    Still, he says, "the fact that this stand-alone character story is rivaling the first 'Avengers' film is a staggering and unbelievably satisfying result."

    There's a lot of credit to go around for the movie's success. Much of what "Black Panther" had going for it is obvious, but some is less so. Here are nine factors that made the Wakanda saga a winner.

    1. It's Marvel
    The Marvel brand is now as reliable to audiences as Disney's other major brands, Pixar and "Star Wars." This is the 18th Marvel Cinematic Universe movie and the 18th to open at No. 1. (And the ninth to open above $100 million.) "Black Panther" also earned the rare A+ CinemaScore, which Marvel got once before with 2012's "The Avengers."

    Of course, the synergy among the far-flung strands of the MCU helps, too. General audiences may not have known who T'Challa was a couple years ago, but introducing him in "Captain America: Civil War" (2016) was effectively the early launch of the marketing campaign for his stand-alone film. (Though Hollis says that the MCU movies started planting Easter eggs about Wakanda even before that, as far back as 2010's "Iron Man 2.") Speaking of that campaign...

    2. Disney's Marketing Muscle
    You can't accuse the studio of skimping on promotion, that's for sure.

    The widely reported figures have Disney spending nearly $200 million to make "Black Panther" and another $150 million marketing it. Those are typical figures for an MCU installment. Even so, the Wakanda tale reportedly has a bigger line of merchandise and toys than other Marvel films, and it's certainly been unavoidable in advertisements and promotional partnerships with various retailers. Then again, Disney also benefitted from a ton of free promotion from entertainment and business journalists who wrote about what a game-changer the film would be.

    3. Timing
    It's hard to overstate how important it was for African-Americans to have the opportunity to see a big-budget studio movie with a predominantly black cast, a black director and screenwriters, and most of all, a black superhero whose noble and inspirational qualities go well beyond his physical powers.

    Not only are African-Americans an audience hungry to see heroic, complex, fully human representations of themselves on screen, but they're also avid moviegoers who tend to make up a disproportionate number of the ticket-buyers at the multiplex. A pre-release poll suggested that three out of every four African-Americans wanted to see "Black Panther." Various tracking services have reported that they made up about 40 percent of the "Black Panther" audience.

    Hollis says Disney now makes a priority of inclusion and representation, not just to be politically correct, but because it makes for better movies and bigger business.

    "Audiences deserve to see themselves on screen, not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it makes for better, richer storytelling," he says. He points to such recent hits as the female-fronted "Star Wars" movies, "Moana," and "Coco" as signs that this strategy is paying off both critically and commercially.

    4. Social Media
    For at least a year, "Black Panther" has been a huge topic on Twitter. Such hashtags as #WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe have made "Black Panther" the most tweeted-about film of 2018.

    And according to social media tracker RelishMix, fans tweeting about the film as the leave the theater are nearly three times as active as "Star Wars" fans leaving "The Last Jedi" were. Also, the film is Marvel Studios' best reviewed effort -- at 97 percent "Fresh" on RT.

    There was some organized anti-"Black Panther" trolling online, from bombing the film with negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes in order to depress the movie's audience score, to trying to discourage attendance by posting faked photos of supposed outbreaks of violence at theaters showing the movie. But those efforts appeared to have no effect on turnout. Facebook stepped in to shut down one troll group, and fans are apparently getting more sophisticated at recognizing such campaigns as astroturf.

    5. That Soundtrack Is Great
    Honestly, when was the last time you even cared about a movie's accompanying original soundtrack album? (Well, maybe Marvel's two "Guardians of the Galaxy" films.)

    Kendrick Lamar's "Black Panther" album, announced less than two months ago, has created its own unique advance buzz for the film. It has leveraged the rapper's own fanbase and social media following (as well as those of guest performers The Weeknd and SZA) to help promote "Black Panther."

    6. Critics and Fans Love the Movie
    For all the talk about T'Challa as a role model, especially for kids of color, "Black Panther" played to a heavily adult audience. Disney reports that 73 percent of the audience was adults seeing the movie without kids in tow, and that 61 percent of the audience was over 25. That's not atypical for a Marvel movie, and Hollis says he believes more kids will buy tickets in the days to come, especially with Monday being a school holiday.

    To the extent that the older audience is one that still relies on critics, it certainly helped that reviewers gave the movie an aggregate 97 percent at Rotten Tomatoes. Paying customers liked the movie as much as critics did, judging by the aforementioned A+ CinemaScore.

    7. Women Like the Movie, Too
    CinemaScore also found an even split between men and women among ticket-buyers; Disney tracking found the audience skewed just a little more male, with 55 percent men and 45 percent women. Still, that near-even ratio suggests that "Black Panther" has even more appeal to female audiences than many Marvel movies.

    The reason, naturally, is that T'Challa is surrounded by strong female characters, literally so in the case of The Dora Milaje, a squad of very capable female warriors/bodyguards. In terms of putting both black and female characters at the center of the film, Hollis calls the movie a "twofer" of inclusiveness.

    8. Weak Competition
    Not that anything was going to come close to "Black Panther," but the rest of the multiplex was practically filled with crickets and tumbleweeds.

    "Peter Rabbit" held on to second place in its second weekend, but that meant a take of just an estimated $17.3 million. Animated comedy "Early Man" got great reviews, but it wasn't able to capitalize on the family audience that was "Black Panther's" only real vulnerability. According to estimates, it premiered in seventh place with a weak $3.2 million, about a third of its pre-weekend predicted take.

    No doubt "Early Man" suffered from having too much other competition for the family market, including "Peter Rabbit" and the unstoppable "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" (with an estimated $7.9 million, good for fourth place). And the other new wide release, "Samson," tried to draw the churchgoing crowd, but the Biblical hero didn't even put a dent in the comic-book hero. Opening in tenth place, "Samson" debuted a hair shy of $2 million, also less than half of what was predicted.

    "We picked a date intentionally that was less crowded," Hollis says. Not only was there not much competition this weekend, but "Black Panther" will have the mainstream marketplace to itself for another three weeks, until the release of the next Disney epic from an African-American filmmaker: "A Wrinkle in Time," which is tracking to open above $20 million.

    9. Shattering International Expectations
    Disney's inclusiveness-and-representation strategy seems to be paying off beyond the United States. (As Hollis says, "We make movies for a global audience, from all walks of life.")

    Opening in much of the rest of the world this weekend, "Black Panther" earned an estimated $169 million overseas. The film's $361 million global weekend doesn't even include such major markets as China, Japan, and Russia, where the movie has yet to open.

    It's long been conventional wisdom in Hollywood that movies with black stars don't do well abroad -- at least not enough to please Hollywood accountants, who are used to blockbuster releases earning more than half of their global take outside the U.S. The international successes of such stars as Will Smith, Denzel Washington, and the diverse"Fast & Furious" franchise cast should have put that myth to bed long ago. If not, it should end with the near-even split between "Black Panther's" domestic and international takes.

    As "Black Panther" hurtles toward a potential billion-dollar global take, that old way of thinking is one more glass ceiling that T'Challa will probably shatter.

  16. 'Black Panther' Smashes Records With $218 Million at Holiday Weekend Box Office

    LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Disney-Marvel's "Black Panther" is heading for a super-heroic $218 million debut over the four-day President's Day weekend at 4,020 North American locations, estimates showed Sunday.

    That number means that "Black Panther," starring Chadwick Boseman and directed by Ryan Coogler, has doubled its original tracking in less than a month. The film, which carries an estimated $200 million production cost, had been tracking to bring in between an impressive $100 and $120 million when first estimates emerged on Jan. 25. Since then, "Black Panther" has become a must-see movie for many moviegoers, underlined when Thursday previews brought in $25.2 million, the largest Thursday night preview gross for a February opener and the second-largest preview gross for a Marvel film.

    The film's estimated three-day gross of $192 million is the highest debut ever for a February film and the fifth highest of all time. Combined with an estimated international debut of $169 million from 69 percent of the international market, the estimated global debut stands at $361 million through Sunday.

    "Black Panther" has demolished the record for the largest Presidents Day weekend, blowing past "Deadpool's" 2016 mark of $152 million. Overall North American moviegoing for the four-day period should hit $300 million -- far above the $278 million mark in 2016, according to comScore.

    "This is proof that the big screen experience may arguably be the most powerful platform of change in our society," said Paul Dergarabedian," senior media analyst with comScore. "The emotional, communal, immersive and bigger than life theatrical experience has an impact that virtually no other medium can match."

    Comscore's PostTrak survey of the audience showed outstanding numbers with 77 percent rating "Black Panther" as "excellent" and another 18 percent as "very good."

    Boseman portrays King T'Challa, ruler of Wakanda, a technologically advanced society, who conflicts with Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger, who intends to take over the throne. Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, and Daniel Kaluuya also star. It's received an A+ CinemaScore, the only Marvel film to have done so besides 2012's "The Avengers."

    Sony's second weekend of "Peter Rabbit" should bring in $22.5 million from 3,275 domestic locations for the four-day weekend, yielding an 11-day domestic total of $53 million. The film stars the voice of James Corden as the titular rabbit, along with Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley as Peter's sisters. Domhnall Gleeson stars as the heir to Mr. McGregor's property, with Rose Byrne as the kindly neighbor Bea.

    The second weekend of Universal's "Fifty Shades Freed" follows in third with $18 million from 3,768 locations for the Friday through Monday period. The erotic romance stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele -- now Mrs. Grey. Its Friday through Sunday total ($16 million) marks a 57 percent decline from its opening weekend. The film has earned $161 million worldwide in its first eight days.

    Sony's ninth weekend of its durable action-comedy "Jumanji: Welcome to Jungle" finished fourth with $10 million at 2,800 venues. The 62-day domestic total will hit almost $380 million, just behind 2005's "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" for 32nd spot on the all-time list.

    Clint Eastwood's second weekend of the thriller "The 15:17 to Paris" is set to take fifth, with $9.1 million from 3,042 locations for Warner Bros. The movie, starring the three men who stopped an attempted 2015 terrorist attack on a European train, is projected to have grossed nearly $27 million domestically in 11 days.

    Fox's ninth weekend of "The Greatest Showman" continued to show remarkable traction in sixth with a projected $6.3 million at 1,936 locations, which will lift the 62-day total to $155 million for the Hugh Jackman musical.

    Nick Park's "Early Man" opened softly this weekend in the U.S. in the seventh slot with $4.2 million from 2,494 North American locations. The British film, which is being distributed in the United States via Lionsgate, utilizes the voice talents of Tom Hiddleston, Timothy Spall, Eddie Redmayne, and Maisie Williams.

  17. 'Black Panther' Could Top $165 Million Over President's Day Weekend

    The forecast just keeps getting brighter for upcoming Marvel flick "Black Panther," with new box office tracking suggesting an even bigger opening weekend than expected for the hotly anticipated film.

    Top Hollywood tracking service NRG has released an updated estimate for "Black Panther"'s opening frame, with the movie now expected to pull in north of $165 million throughout the four-day President's Day holiday weekend. That's much higher than NRG's previous estimate, which sat around $120 million -- which is certainly not a number to sneeze at, either.

    But the buzz surrounding "Black Panther" -- not to mention its killer soundtrack -- is absolutely deafening. Fan anticipation is insanely high (as evidenced by those record-breaking advance ticket sales), and reviews from critics have been positively glowing (words like "epic" and "iconic" have been thrown around, and many have said that the film is a game-changer not just for superhero flicks, but movies in general). So it wouldn't be shocking to see even that $165 million number wind up on the low end of receipts when the weekend is over.

    It won't be long before we find out for sure: "Black Panther" opens this Friday, February 16.

    [via: The Hollywood Reporter]

  18. Here's How 'Fifty Shades Freed' Spanked Its Box Office Rivals

    Hey, moviegoers, do you want to see badass women in a realm of opulent wealth? Cartoonish fun suitable for kids? Manly heroism in a geopolitical context? Well, if you wanted those themes, then you had to settle for their treatment in this week's meh new wide releases: "Fifty Shades Freed," "Peter Rabbit," and "The 15:17 to Paris."

    Box office analysts are so ready to see "Black Panther" blow everything out of the water next weekend that they may not give enough credit to this weekend's new releases, all of which did surprisingly very well by February standards. Indeed, if it weren't for the looming Marvel blockbuster, pundits would be crowing about what a great weekend this was, with overall sales up 44 percent from a week ago. You can credit that to three new movies that, together on the marquee, seemed to offer something for everyone.

    Of the new films, "Fifty Shades" seems to have received the least credit from the experts.

    It opened with an estimated $38.8 million, about what was predicted. That's a steep drop from the $85.2 million debut of "Fifty Shades of Grey" three Februaries ago, and a modest dip from the $46.6 million premiere of "Fifty Shades Darker" last February. You could blame waning interest in the franchise -- or you could argue that the first movie's gross was inflated by lookie-loos outside of the best-selling books' voyeuristic fan base, and that only those core fans stuck around for the second and third films.

    It's also the case this year that Valentine's Day falls on a Wednesday, so there wasn't that extra incentive to make a weekend date night out of an evening spent watching "Freed."

    In any case, the "Fifty Shades" trilogy has never gotten much respect from the industry. Mostly because the movies aren't good. Like, at all. But that didn't stop the target demographic from seeing the third and final movie. According to tracking service PostTrak, "Freed" drew a crowd that was 81 percent women. And most of them, some 59 percent, were older women (that, is, older than 25). That's the demographic that Hollywood understands and caters to the least. (To its credit, "Freed" studio Universal seems to appreciate women over 25, enough to generate such hits as "Bridesmaids," "Trainwreck," and "Girls Trip.")
    "Freed" has had the biggest opening weekend of any movie so far this year. It's in the top 20 of all February openings ever and the top 50 of all R-rated debuts in history. The series is popular not just throughout America (even in the supposedly more puritanical middle-American states) but around the globe. Worldwide, the three movies have earned $1.1 billion to date, an especially huge number considering they cost just $150 million total to make.

    Industry folk may scoff at the series for its poor reviews, lack of demographic range, or declining sales, but I bet Universal wishes E.L. James had written a fourth "Fifty Shades" book so that it could keep adding to a billion-dollar franchise that's earned back more than seven times its modest cost.

    If "Freed" cornered the women's market this weekend, then Sony's "Peter Rabbit" did the same for kids, opening slightly above predictions with an estimated $25.0 million.
    Based loosely on the classic Beatrix Potter children's tale, the live-action/animated hybrid had the advantages of brand recognition and star power, in the form of human karaoke machine James Corden as its lead and most tireless promoter. The reviews were just okay (58 percent at RT), but families were apparently ready for something new, even with Sony's own "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" still going strong and with "Paddington 2," "Ferdinand," and "Coco" still in theaters. A saturation marketing campaign, including bunny-themed events at malls and libraries, helped a lot.

    That left the Older Guy market, a niche that Clint Eastwood's "The 15:17 to Paris" seemed designed to fill. It underperformed a little, debuting in third place with an estimated $12.6 million.
    As we noted when "12 Strong" opened three weeks ago, the war-movie subgenre of War-on-Terror tales of real-life heroism has done well, particularly in the winter months. The all-time classic example, of course, is Eastwood's own "American Sniper." No other movie in the subgenre has come anywhere near that movie's $350 million domestic take, but that hasn't stopped Hollywood from trying.

    Indeed, "Paris" studio Warner Bros. tried just last month with "12 Strong," which is still playing in 1,901 theaters and earned $2.7 million this weekend, good for 11th place. You'd think Warners wouldn't want to cannibalize the success of the earlier film, which has earned about $42 million to date, but the temptation to counterprogram something macho against "Fifty Shades Freed" must have been too strong to resist.

    Nonetheless, "Paris" did only a third as well as "Freed." A lot of that may have to do with the quality of the film. Eastwood cast the three real-life American heroes, who thwarted a terrorist attack during a 2015 train ride, as themselves. That novelty factor, however, wasn't enough of a draw to overcome the movie's reviews, which were poor (20 percent "Rotten" at RT).

    Critics felt that the amateur actors were, well, amateurish. And judging by the movie's lackluster B- grade at CinemaScore, audiences didn't warm to "Paris" either, perhaps feeling that the movie had too much backstory and not enough action. Critics usually like Eastwood's movies, and his fan base is an older one that still reads reviews, so they had to notice that critics felt he'd stumbled this time.

    At least Eastwood keeps his budgets low ("Paris" cost a reported $30 million), so there's still a chance the film will make a profit.

    The good news continued further down the chart, as "Jumanji" and "The Greatest Showman" proved they both still have legs as long as "Showman" star Hugh Jackman's. After spending several weeks, off and on, in first place, "Jumanji" may finally be out of the top spot for good. Still, it slipped just ten percent from last week's business, earning an estimated $9.8 million and coming in fourth.

    With $365.7 million earned over eight weeks, it's within $8 million of overtaking "Spider-Man 2" as the second biggest domestic grosser in Sony's history. (The biggest is 2002's "Spider-Man," with $403.7 million, a number that's not out of reach for "Jumanji.")

    "Showman," in fifth this week with an estimated $6.4 million, also held on to most of last weekend's business, with a drop of just 17 percent. It's earned $146.5 million to date, which makes it the sixth biggest musical of all time. Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, who composed the score, are within $5 million of overtaking their hit from last year, "La La Land," to become the fourth most lucrative musical.

    All told, this weekend's movies brought in about $137 million, thanks to a slate of films that seemed to leave no moviegoer ignored.

    Try to remember that next week, even though "Black Panther" is expected to open with a figure greater than this weekend's entire take.

  19. Box Office: 'Fifty Shades Freed' Tops Box Office With $38.8 Million

    LOS ANGELES, Feb 11, (Variety.com) - Universal's opening of "Fifty Shades Freed" is dominating North American moviegoing with a solid $38.8 million opening at 3,678 locations as the business awaits the arrival of "Black Panther."

    Sony's launch of family comedy "Peter Rabbit" wound up with a better-than-expected $25 million at 3,725 sites. Warner Bros.' debut of Clint Eastwood's thriller "15:17 to Paris" arrived above forecasts at $12.6 million, from 3,042 venues.

    A pair of holiday season holdovers in their eighth weekends took fourth and fifth as Sony's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" finished with about $10 million at 3,126 sites and Fox's "The Greatest Showman" grossed $6.4 million at 2,373 screens. "Jumanji" will finish the weekend with about $365 million in 38th place on the all-time domestic grosser list, $3 million behind "Despicable Me 2."

    The finale of the "Fifty Shades" trilogy -- referred to in marketing materials as "the climax" -- is also launching in 57 international markets this weekend with about $100 million, which brings the franchise total to about $1.09 billion.

    The weekend saw a significant increase in moviegoing in the wake of a slow Super Bowl session with $138 million, up 46%, according to comScore. Overall business was off 27 percent from the same weekend a year ago, when "The Lego Batman Movie" led with $53 million.

    Moviegoing will receive another major boost over the Presidents Day weekend with Disney-Marvel's "Black Panther" opening Feb. 16 and forecasted to take in as much as $150 million during the Friday-Monday period.

    "This weekend is merely the calm before the proverbial Marvel-powered storm as 'Black Panther' is poised to leap into theaters with potentially record-breaking results," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.

    "Fifty Shades Freed" sees Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in the conclusion of the events set in motion in 2015's "Fifty Shades of Grey" and 2017's "Fifty Shades Darker." The "Fifty Shades Freed" launch wound up above forecasts -- but was not as strong as its predecessors, "Fifty Shades of Grey," which opened with a sensational $85.2 million in 2015, and "Fifty Shades Darker," which opened with $46.6 million on the same weekend last year.

    "Peter Rabbit," a live-action/CGI animated film from Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation, saw an uptick in Saturday business to finish well above recent projections. James Corden is voicing Peter Rabbit in a contemporary comedy highlighted by his feud with Mr. Thomas McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) as they rival for the affections of the warm-hearted animal lover who lives next door, played by Rose Byrne.

    Eastwood's "15:17 to Paris" is based on the book "The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes" by Jeffrey E. Stern, Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos, about the 2015 Thalys train attack. The film stars Stone, Sadler, and Skarlatos as themselves. Judy Greer and Jenna Fischer also star.

  20. Box Office: 'Jumanji' Regains Top Spot for Modest Super Bowl Weekend

    LOS ANGELES, Feb 4, (Variety.com) - Sony's resilient "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" has returned to the top of the North American box office, leading a modest Super Bowl weekend with $11 million at 3,553 sites.

    The session caps a remarkable run for the Dwayne Johnson-Kevin Hart action comedy, which also won the box office on its third, fourth and fifth weekends. "Jumanji" has become the 42nd highest domestic grosser of all time with $352.6 million, less than $500,000 behind Johnson's "Furious 7" for the 41st spot.

    "Jumanji," which declined just 32 percent, is only the 11th title to top $11 million in its seventh weekend. It's the lowest total for a first-place film since the second weekend of "The Hitman's Bodyguard" won the final frame of August.

    Fox's "Maze Runner: The Death Cure," which won the box office last weekend, finished second with $10.2 million from 3,793 locations. The weekend's sole opener, Helen Mirren's horror-thriller "Winchester," launched in third with $9.3 million at 2,480 venues, topping modest expectations which had been in the $6 million to $8 million range.

    Overall domestic business was typically modest for a Super Bowl weekend with $92 million overall, according to comScore, as studios remain reluctant to open major titles during the frenzy surrounding the pro football championship. The lowest recent Super Bowl weekend came in at $86 million in 2014, when the third weekend of "Ride Along" led with $12 million.

    The 2018 box office has remained close to even with last year thanks to "Jumanji," with $1.06 billion through Sunday, down 0.5 percent from last year at the same point.

    "'Jumanji' gets the MVP box office award for Super Bowl weekend with a stunning late run ascension to the number one spot as 'Maze Runner' adds to its total and 'Winchester' enjoys a bit of counter programming success amidst a sea of Oscar contenders over what is a typically slow moviegoing weekend," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.

    "Maze Runner: The Death Cure," the third and final installment of the "Maze Runner" series, stars Dylan O'Brien as a young man trying to survive in a dystopian universe. It declined by 58 percent from its $24 million opening. The film's release was delayed for a year due to injuries that O'Brien sustained on the set in 2016.

    "Winchester" centers on a real-life house in San Jose, Calif. built by Sarah Winchester (Mirren), the heiress to the Winchester firearms fortune, over 38 years beginning in 1886. The mansion, which stands seven stories tall, contains hundreds of rooms and is meant to be an asylum for vengeful ghosts.

    Fox's seventh weekend of "The Greatest Showman" finished fourth with $7.8 million at 2,588 sites, posting the lowest decline among the top 10 films at 18 percent. The Hugh Jackman musical has turned in an impressive $137.5 million in 45 days.

    Entertainment Studios' Western drama "Hostiles," starring Christian Bale, followed in fifth with $5.5 million at 2,934 locations, giving it $21.2 million after two weeks in wide release. Fox's seventh weekend of "The Post" came in sixth with $5.2 million at 2,462 sites for a $67.2 million domestic total.

  21. 'Maze Runner' Won the Box Office, But So What?

    Who says old-fashioned movie genres are dead?

    Some of the biggest headlines this weekend at the box office came from a western and a musical. Yep, you kids may like your futuristic teenage sci-fi dystopia movies, like the latest "Maze Runner" -- and then again, you may not -- but the kind of movies that your grandparents like, such as "Hostiles" and "The Greatest Showman," are giving the box office a run for its money.

    As a result, there were some surprise winners and losers this weekend. Such as:

    Winner: Fox
    The studio claimed the top movie, with "The Maze Runner: The Death Cure" debuting with an estimated $23.5 million. In fact, Fox had three of the top five movies this weekend, including "Showman" (in fourth place, with an estimated $9.5 million) and "The Post" (in fifth with an estimated $8.9 million). Add to that the top two Oscar contenders -- "The Shape of Water" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" -- both released by subsidiary Fox Searchlight, and the company can claim five of this weekend's biggest movies, with a total estimated at $51.2 million among them.

    Anyone still think Disney was unwise to try to buy the studio?

    Loser: Young Adult Fantasy
    Sweet as the "Maze Runner" victory may be, the movie still opened well below the $30-million-plus debuts of the first two installments. You could blame the long delay in the film's release date, which was caused by star Dylan O'Brien's on-set injury.

    But it could also be that the genre that peaked with "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games" is simply played out; witness the way the "Divergent" movies fizzled out, or the industry's failure to launch a similar new franchise since "Maze Runner." The film had a strong social media campaign (including a viral trailer made with LEGOs), and there wasn't much else for young adult viewers this weekend (except the still-strong "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle"). Even so, there still wasn't enough incentive to draw a bigger audience.

    Winner: "Hostiles."
    No one expected much from this western, released by the relatively new Entertainment Studios (it's just their fourth film). It was hoping for a Best Actor Oscar nomination for Christian Bale, but after "Hostiles" was absent from Tuesday's nominations list, pundits predicted an opening as low as $5 million.

    Nonetheless, the movie scored an estimated $10.2 million, good for third place. That speaks to Bale's star power, to the film's appeal among older audiences, and to the fact that the western genre isn't quite dead yet, even though the industry has been saying last rites over it for more than three decades.

    Loser: The Oscar Bounce
    The success of "Hostiles" carries an extra sting, in that, despite the lack of Academy love, it still did better than any of the movies that did get nominated. Traditionally, the nominees, especially for Best Picture, see a solid boost in business the weekend after the nomination announcement. Some did; "Shape of Water," "Three Billboards," and "Lady Bird" all did at least 61 percent better than last weekend. But other movies were still losing viewers, including "The Post," "Phantom Thread," and "Darkest Hour."

    All of these movies have already been playing for at least five weeks, so it's no wonder they're petering out. So far, among the nominees still in current release, "The Post" has been the most successful, with $58.5 million earned to date. The rest have yet to top $46 million, and it's unlikely that any of them will still have enough gas to outrace "The Post" before the Oscars are handed out on March 4.

    By the way, "Get Out," which earned more than $175 million last winter but left theaters long before it picked up a Best Picture nod and three other nominations, returned to 468 theaters this weekend to capitalize on its Oscar success. It needn't have bothered; it added just an estimated $170,000 to its take, or a measly $363 per screen.

    Clearly, everyone who wants to see "Get Out" already has, either at the multiplex or at home. Some movies have an apparent saturation point, and most of this year's Oscar contenders seem to have reached theirs.

    Winner: Long Legs
    After three weeks on top, "Jumanji" was finally pushed down to second place, but weep no tears for The Rock.

    For one thing, it's no small feat for a movie in its sixth week of release to still be bringing in an estimated $16.4 million. For another, it's earned a total of $338.1 million to date, making it the third most successful release in Sony history, behind only the first two Tobey Maguire "Spider-Man" movies. (Watch your back, "Spider-Man 2," "Jumanji" is coming for ya.)

    It shows little sign of slowing down, having lost just 16 percent of last weekend's business. Remember what we just said about saturation points? "Jumanji" still has a long way to go before that happens.

    So does "The Greatest Showman." The family-friendly musical, down just 11 percent from a week ago, has earned $126.5 million in six weeks. This despite a relative lack of hype and just one Oscar nomination (Best Song for "This Is Me"). There's no reason to think it won't cross $150 million, which would put it in the neighborhood of "La La Land" and "Les Miserables" and make it one of the five most lucrative musicals of all time.

    Winner: "Padmaavat."
    The lavish Hindi-language costume epic opened on just 324 screens but earned $4.3 million, good enough to debut in tenth place. Its per-screen average of $13,188 was far and away the biggest of any movie playing this weekend. Which just proves that there are always underserved audiences that can make a surprising splash at the box office if someone actually makes a movie they want to see.

  22. Box Office: 'Maze Runner: The Death Cure' Overtakes 'Jumanji' With $22 Million

    LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Fox's "Maze Runner: The Death Cure" is set to knock "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" out of its first place slot at the box office, with $22 million from 3,787 North American locations.

    The last installment in the "Maze Runner" series, "The Death Cure" stars Dylan O'Brien as a young man fighting for survival in a dystopian world. The film's opening was delayed for a year after O'Brien sustained injuries on the set two years ago. Kaya Scodelario and Thomas Brodie-Sangster also star. Wes Ball has directed all three films.

    Sony's "Jumanji," starring Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson, had maintained the top spot at the box office for the past three weekends after opening in second place behind "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" in December. The sixth weekend of "Jumanji" will likely finish at around $15 million at 3,553 sites, giving it $337 million domestically after 40 days -- topping Sony's "Spider-Man: Homecoming" for 49th place on the all-time list.

    Christian Bale Civil War era saga "Hostiles" is battling it out for third place with the sixth frame of "The Greatest Showman" -- both are set to reel in around $9.5 million from 2,815 and 2,663 locations, respectively. The number represents only a 15% decline for "The Greatest Showman," which has proven a solid draw for Fox and should finish the weekend with roughly $126 million. The weekend marks an expansion for "Hostiles," which opened Dec. 20 at three theaters to $22,849.

    In fifth is Steven Spielberg's "The Post," which stars Meryl Streep as Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham alongside Tom Hanks as the editor of the same paper. The film chronicles the exposure of the Pentagon Papers and the outlet's fight to publish them.

    The Maze Runner franchise has been a reliable performer for Fox since 2014, when it opened the original "Maze Runner" with $32.5 million; the film ended up grossing $102 million in U.S. revenue. The 2015 follow-up, "The Scorch Trials," opened with $30 million and totaled $82 million at the domestic box office.

    Heist thriller "Den of Thieves," starring Gerard Butler, and Afghan war drama "12 Strong," featuring Chris Hemsworth, are both set to take in around $8 million in their second weekends, representing a roughly 45% decline for each.

    Fox Searchlight's "The Shape of Water," which led the Oscar nominations with 13, is adding nearly 1,000 sites this weekend and will play at 1,840. The fantasy drama has grossed $31.5 million in two months.

    Universal's "Get Out" and Warner Bros.' "Dunkirk" are returning to theaters this weekend after receiving best picture noms. "Get Out" grossed $175 million domestically before leaving multiplexes in July and "Dunkirk" took in $188 million between July and November.

  23. 'Black Panther' Could Pounce to $120 Million - or More - on Opening Weekend

    Earlier this month, Marvel's upcoming "Black Panther" flick broke advance ticket sales records, proving that fans are eager to pounce on the flick when it hits theaters in February. And now, early tracking suggests that it will be ready to break some records at the box office, too.

    Several trades are reporting that the flick is currently projected to make at least $100 million on its opening weekend, with some estimates pegging it closer to $120 million. Those numbers are in keeping with the two most recent MCU outings, "Spider-Man: Homecoming" and "Thor: Ragnarok," which pulled in $117 million and $122 million, respectively, when they opening in July and November of 2017.

    "Black Panther" is slated to open over President's Day weekend, and some trackers are saying that the film could break $150 million over that four-day period, vying with fellow President's Day holiday release "Deadpool." That Ryan Reynolds flick made a whopping $152.1 million back in 2016.

    Marvel films are always expected to perform well on opening weekend, but the buzz around "Black Panther" feels different. Based on its ticket presales alone, audiences are clearly excited about this film, leading Collider to speculate that it could easily approach the $150 million mark -- and that could be on the low end of its final opening haul.

    We'll find out soon enough. "Black Panther" hits theaters on February 16.

    [via: Variety, Deadline, Collider]

  24. Here's Why '12 Strong' and 'Den of Thieves' Shattered Box Office Expectations

    "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" is still king of the forest, topping the box office chart for a third straight week. But while all the kids are going to see the video game-inspired adventure, their dads are dominating the rest of the multiplex.

    Testing the impressive staying power of "Jumanji" this weekend were three new wide releases, "12 Strong," "Den of Thieves," and "Forever My Girl." While "Girl" was a Nicholas Sparks-type romance that was not even predicted to crack the top 10 (it's playing on just 1,115 screens), the other two were wider releases that were both aimed at the older, male action audience that made Liam Neeson's "The Commuter" a surprise hit last week.

    With three such movies in the marketplace at once, no one expected much from any of them -- maybe a debut in the low teens for Afghan War combat tale "Strong" and the high single digits for heist film "Thieves." Neither was expected to top Steven Spielberg's prestige drama "The Post," which was supposed to hold on to second place with about $15 million.

    Nonetheless, all three new movies did much better than pundits had predicted. "Strong" took second place, with an estimated $16.5 million, with "Thieves" close behind on sales estimated at $15.3 million. ("The Post" fell to fourth with an estimated $12.2 million.) Even "Girl" outperformed expectations, premiering in tenth place with an estimated $4.7 million.

    What the heck is going on here? Well, these are the colliding trends that seem to be in play.

    1. It's January
    The whole month is widely considered a no-man's land, that uncomfortable period between the big holiday releases and the newly-evolved spring blockbuster season that begins in March. It's a time when box office rules tend to go out the window, a month when late-breaking Oscar hopefuls, horror movies, lower-profile action films, and anything else the studios don't know how to market properly all jockey for position.

    So far, however, there's only been one major horror film this month ("Insidious: The Last Key"), and aside from "The Post" and "Phantom Thread" (which expanded into hundreds of theaters this weekend), most of the awards-seeking movies have long since peaked. (They may see another peak next weekend, after the Oscar nominations are announced.) So that leaves the action thrillers and the miscellaneous movies. If you went to the multiplex this weekend seeing novelty, your choices were pretty much limited to "Forever My Girl" or dad-core action.

    2. Because Dads Love (Bad) Action Movies
    As this column noted when "Commuter" opened last weekend, Liam Neeson's core audience has been primed to expect mid-winter releases for his action movies. You'd think there wouldn't be enough audience to go around for three such films at once; indeed, "Commuter" itself slipped to seventh place this weekend, down 51 percent from its debut, to an estimated $6.7 million.

    Moreover, neither "12 Strong" star Chris Hemsworth or "Den of Thieves" star Gerard Butler are considered big box office draw outside the Marvel movies and, well, whatever Butler does when he's not in Generic Action Movie/Future Occupant of Walmart's $5 DVD Bin, respectively. Oh, and there were pro football conference championships this weekend to keep male viewers at home. And yet, these three movies combined sold an estimated $38.5 million worth of tickets this weekend.

    The success of "Thieves" is especially impressive considering that it's playing on 2,432 screens, compared to 3,002 for "Strong." "Thieves" actually has the higher per-screen average ($6,299, the highest of any wide-release movie this weekend), so if indie distributor STX Entertainment could have booked it on just 188 more screens, it could have beaten "Strong." It also helped that the racially mixed cast of "Thieves" helped STX market it successfully to black and Hispanic audiences.

    Still, it's worth noting that the older, racially diverse action audience is still mostly a guy thing, which may be why hit-woman thriller "Proud Mary" is languishing in 11th place in its second weekend, with just an estimated $3.7 million.

    3. The "American Sniper" Effect
    Films about the War on Terror have been hit or miss over the years, but the ones released in January have tended to do well, or at least okay -- from "13 Hours" and "Zero Dark Thirty," to "Lone Survivor" and especially "American Sniper."

    "12 Strong" resembles those films insofar as it's based on a true story and appeals to its viewers' patriotism. There's no reason why such films shouldn't do well year-round, but as with dad-friendly action movies in general, the audience has been primed to expect such movies at the beginning of the year.

    4. Word-of-mouth
    Audience buzz has been the surprising key ingredient for success this season. It helped both "Strong" and "Thieves" that they earned very good word-of-mouth from paying customers, as measured by their respective A and B+ grades at CinemaScore. After all, both films earned weak reviews from critics, who still have some power to sway older viewers. Word-of-mouth also explains such current hits as "Jumanji" and especially "The Greatest Showman."

    When "Jumanji" opened five weeks ago, it premiered at No. 2 with $36.2 million, and yet it's playing like a movie that debuted in first place with $100 million. It didn't top the chart until its third week of release, yet it has already earned $317.0 million. This weekend, it earned an estimated $20.0 million, down just 28 percent from a week ago. That's all down to ongoing positive recommendations from fans. Same with "Showman," which has also topped $100 million after five weeks of release -- despite a modest $14 million opening and middling reviews.

    While January is typically a time when the Oscar-seeking movies that critics have been talking about for months finally open nationwide, this year's contenders aren't -- as of now -- much of a box office draw, not even for the older audiences they usually attract.

    Such films as "The Post," "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," "The Shape of Water," "Lady Bird," "I, Tonya," and "All the Money in the World" are not having great ticket sales. So far, "The Post" has been the most lucrative of the awards-hopefuls in current release, and it's earned just $45.2 million.

    Maybe all will get the box office bump needed once the Oscar nominations are announced Tuesday.

  25. 'Jumanji' Stays Strong, Topping '12 Strong,' 'Den of Thieves' With $20 Million

    LOS ANGELES, Jan 21, (Variety.com) - Sony's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" has won its third weekend box office title with ease, topping newcomers "12 Strong" and "Den of Thieves," with $20 million at 3,704 North American locations.

    Afghan war drama "12 Strong" took second with $16.5 million at 3,002 sites for Warner Bros. and STXfilms' "Den of Thieves" followed with $15.3 million from 2,432 venues. Fox's "The Post" finished fourth with $12 million at 2,851 venues and its fifth weekend of "The Greatest Showman" remained a solid draw in fifth with $11 million at 2,823 screens.

    "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" has shown remarkable staying power, declining only 28% this weekend and lifting its 33-day North American total to $317 million -- the 61st highest of all time. It's Sony's fifth highest domestic grosser of all time, trailing only the first three Spider-Man titles and last summer's "Spider-Man: Homecoming."

    "Jumanji" is also singular in winning the box office in its third, fourth and fifth weekends after finishing second in its first two weekends to "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." "This is an unprecedented and unusual box office trajectory for a wide release blockbuster," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with comScore.

    The action comedy, starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, has also kept overall domestic business healthy with the year-to-date total at $730.1 million through Sunday, up 2.1% from a year ago. The weekend's total hit about $137 million, down 6% from the same frame in 2017 when "Split" opened with $40 million.

    "Another great performance by the seemingly unstoppable 'Jumanji' powers the pre-Oscar nominations weekend while bolstered by a pair of solid debuts from '12 Strong' and 'Den of Thieves,' but this was not enough to beat a tough weekend over weekend comparison to the year ago stellar performance of M. Night Shyamalan's 'Split,'" Dergarabedian said.

    "12 Strong," starring Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon, had been tracking in the $14 million to $17 million range. The movie is based Doug Stanton's 2009 bestseller "Horse Soldiers," which centers on CIA paramilitary operations officers and U.S. Special Forces sent to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks. Prospects for ongoing business are solid, given its A Cinemascore.

    Production companies for "12 Strong" are Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media, and Jerry Bruckheimer Films with Nicolai Fuglsig directing. Bruckheimer began developing the film in 2009 while at Disney.

    The R-rated "Den of Thieves," starring Gerard Butler, O'Shea Jackson Jr., and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, finished well above forecasts, which had been in the $9 million range. The film follows the intersecting lives of an elite unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and a successful bank robbery crew as the outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank in downtown Los Angeles.

    Christian Gudegast is directing from his original screenplay, based on a story by Gudegast and Paul Scheuring, and is produced by Tucker Tooley and Mark Canton, who spent 15 years developing the film. "Den of Thieves" carries a $30 million budget and generated a B+ Cinemascore.

    "It's incredibly satisfying to have this in theaters and performing so well after all this time," Tooley told Variety. "STXfilms has done a great job activating social media on this."

    "The Post" centers on the 1971 legal battle by the Washington Post and New York Times over the publication of the Pentagon Papers and stars Meryl Streep as WaPo publisher Katharine Graham and Tom Hanks as editor Ben Bradlee. It showed respectable staying power with a 37% decline from its first weekend in wide release and has totaled $45.2 million domestically.

    "The Greatest Showman," starring Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, remained a powerful draw with a remarkable small decline of 12% in its fifth weekend. The domestic total has hit $113.5 million while the international box office is at $118 million.

    Warner Bros.' second weekend of family comedy "Paddington 2" finished sixth with $8.2 million at 3,702 sites, followed by Lionsgate's sophomore session of Liam Neeson's "The Commuter" with $6.7 million at 2,892 venues. Both titles have reached $25 million in 10 days.

    Disney-Lucasfilm's sixth weekend of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" came in eighth with $6.6 million at 2,456 locations for a 38-day total of $604.3 million. It trails "The Avengers" by less than $20 million for the fifth spot on that list.

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