weekend box office

‘Ready Player One’ outperformed tracking predictions.  Roughly a week ago, the Steven Spielberg virtual reality thriller was looking to take in between $38M-$42M, but it overshot, delivering $53.2M domestically and roughly $109M globally.  There had been some concern that the adaptation of Ernest Cline‘s pop culture-drenched novel would be too geek-skewing and not cross over to mainstream audiences.  There was also worry that the film would lack substance and basically be a bunch of nerd references without much else.  But the PostTrak score is 4 1/2 stars out of five and overall 83% positive with an “A-” CinemaScore.  Its Rotten Tomatoes score is 76%, which is okay but not glowing.  It’s splashy premiere at SXSW definitely helped as it was rapturously embraced by the young “hipster” crowd and helped generate buzz among the target audience.  At this point, while it’s not a massive smash, it’s doing incredibly well compared to earlier big budget would-be blockbusters ‘Tomb Raider‘ and ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising‘.

In counter-programming, Tyler Perry’s thriller ‘Acrimony’, starring Taraji P. Henson, performed strongly, earning $17.1M and landing the #2 spot.  This film earned a lousy 24% Rotten Tomatoes score, but Perry’s movies never score with critics.  Audiences, of course, don’t care and disagreed completely, giving it an “A-” CinemaScore.  This was a redemption for Henson, whose last movie ‘Proud Mary’ flopped.  Both movies cost about the same to make and market and at least it appears that ‘Acrimony’ will easily make back its budget.

‘Black Panther’ is still going extremely strong, hanging in at #3 taking in an additional $11.5M.  “It’s not a movie, it’s a movement” indeed.  Both ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Ready Player One’ are likely to deflate by the time ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ arrives on April 27.  But ‘Ready Player One’s strong opening means that it may have legs until then.  And there doesn’t seem to be much stopping ‘Black Panther’.

Christian movie ‘I Can Only Imagine’ continues to dominate that segment of the population.  Last week, this movie essentially torpedoed another faith-based film meant to cash in on the upcoming Easter holiday, ‘Paul, Apostle of Christ’.  This week, ‘I Can Only Imagine’ is hanging in at #4, while yet another Christian film, ‘God’s Not Dead 3’ has sunk.  Among this audience, the feeling is that this threequel is a cash-grab and that it’s no longer meant to convey a true Christian message.

‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’, which took the top spot last weekend, has plummeted to #5, taking in a weak $9.5M.  Like ‘Tomb Raider’, it appears that this is another big “event” movie that wasn’t.  But all is not lost, as it could still do pretty well overseas.

Top Five:

  1. Ready Player One (Warner Brothers/Village Roadshow) – $53.2M
  2. Tyler Perry’s Acrimony (Lionsgate) – $17.1M
  3. Black Panther (Disney) – $11.5M
  4. I Can Only Imagine (Roadside Attractions) – $10.4M
  5. Pacific Rim: Uprising (Legendary/Universal) – $9.5M

There are no flashy sci-fi movies opening next weekend, so ‘Ready Player One’ could hang in at #1 for a second weekend.  It seems counter programming seems to rule.  There are two small biopics, uplifting volleyball film ‘The Miracle Season’ and not-so-uplifting political thriller ‘Chappaquiddick’.  There’s also raunchy adult comedy ‘Blockers’ starring Leslie Mann and John Cena, the pro wrestler who seems to have found his cinematic niche with these sorts of flicks.  (‘Blockers’ is actually short for ‘C*** Blockers’.)  Also opening is John Krasinski’s quiet (literally) horror movie ‘A Quiet Place’ which has been getting excellent buzz.  The pic revolves around a family living in silence where monsters are attracted by noise.  But when Krasinski’s real-life wife Emily Blunt goes into labor…

Check back to see how things pan out!

Source: Deadline