In an unexpected upset, ‘Black Panther’ held on to the top spot for a fourth weekend, with $41.1 million, besting the highly hyped ‘A Wrinkle In Time’. This also marks the third-best fourth weekend ever, behind ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ ($42M) and ‘Avatar’ ($50M). ‘Black Panther’ has amassed $562M domestically and over $500M foreign, putting it over the $1 billion mark. Domestically, it has passed ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ ($532M) and ‘The Dark Knight’ ($534M). In passing ‘The Dark Knight’, ‘Black Panther’ has now become the second highest-grossing superhero movie ever behind ‘The Avengers’ ($623M) and the highest-grossing solo superhero movie.
Meanwhile, ‘A Wrinkle In Time’, directed by Ava DuVernay earned $33.3M for a second place finish. This open can be considered “soft” at best and “disappointing” at worst. It seems unlikely that this film will make back its $103M budget. If it performs on par with similar stronger performing Disney live-action family movies like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Oz: The Great and Powerful‘, it could top out around $97M. If it flames out like ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ (not a Disney film), it could scrape in just $77M.
Poor word of mouth may be the reason for ‘A Wrinkle in Time”s weak opening. It has a decidedly rotten 44% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes. As far as audiences, those under 25 gave the film an “A-” CinemaScore, but overall, the film only earned a mediocre “B,” as adults over 25 granted it a pretty lame “B-,” dragging down the average. Essentially, that means this is a kids movie, not a crossover all-ages adventure. On the plus side, the upcoming Spring Break and Easter could help pad things, as families will have more free time to possibly check this film out.
Even if ‘A Wrinkle In Time’s opening is softer than expected, both this and ‘Black Panther’ are Disney movies, giving the studio the #1 and #2 spots, so it would be hard for executives to be too unhappy. It’s also a strong statement that the top two movies were directed by African American directors– DuVernay and Ryan Coogler for ‘Black Panther’. The cast of ‘Black Panther’ is almost entirely black, while ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ features a diverse cast with a mixed-race protagonist in Storm Reid who plays Meg Murry, plus Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Michael Peña. DuVernay is also the first African American female to direct a film with a budget of at least $100M. (Let’s just hope that with this soft opening, she isn’t the last.)
Moving down the list, new slasher flick ‘Strangers: Prey at Night’ came in at #3 with $10.2M, while Jennifer Lawrence’s latest underperformer ‘Red Sparrow’ slipped to #4 with $8.15M. Adult comedy ‘Game Night’ continues to hold strong with $7.88M.
- Black Panther (Disney) – $41.1M
- A Wrinkle in Time (Disney) – $33.3M
- Strangers: Prey at Night (AVI) – $10.2M
- Red Sparrow (20th Century Fox) – $8.15M
- Game Night (New Line/Warner Brothers) – $7.88M
Now that ‘Black Panther’ has managed to fend off its first major challenger in ‘A Wrinkle In Time, it remains to be seen who will eventually dethrone King T’Challa. Perhaps time will simply take its toll. ‘Black Panther”s take should continue diminishing, so all it will take is for a movie to open slightly higher to take the top spot.
Will Lara Croft be the one mighty enough to steal the crown? We’ll find out next weekend when ‘Tomb Raider’ is released. The film opened in most Asian markets except for China and Vietnam this weekend and took in $14.1M. That’s more than double what ‘Red Sparrow’ made last weekend in these markets, so that’s promising. This video game adaptation was directed by Roar Uthaug and stars Alicia Vikander in the lead, in a role that Angelina Jolie played in two films in the early 2000s.
In counter-programming, there’s Greg Berlanti’s gay coming of age rom-com ‘Love, Simon’, which has gotten excellent pre-release reviews. But that won’t necessarily translate to ticket sales.
Check back to see if ‘Tomb Raider’ can raid ‘Black Panther”s coffers.