In a surprise upset, the faith-based 'I Can Only Imagine' — about the best-selling Christian song of all time — beats 'A Wrinkle in Time' and 'Love, Simon.'
Ryan Coogler's Black Panther continued to make history in its fifth weekend at the domestic box office with a haul of $27 million, burying Tomb Raider and becoming only the seventh film ever to cross the $600 million mark in North America.
The other big headline of the weekend was Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate's faith-based film I Can Only Imagine, which vastly overperformed. The movie debuted to $17.1 million from 1,628 cinemas to defeat A Wrinkle in Time and Love, Simon — the first film from a major Hollywood studio featuring a gay teen protagonist — in a surprise upset.
Black Panther is the first film since Avatar eight years ago to top the chart for five consecutive weekends, and only the third pic to do so in 19 years after Avatar and The Sixth Sense. The Disney and Marvel superhero movie finished Sunday with a domestic total of $605.4 million and $1.182 billion globally. In the U.S., it is only days away from overtaking fellow Marvel film The Avengers ($623 million) to become the top-grossing superhero pic of all time in North America, unadjusted for inflation.
Tomb Raider's muted domestic bow of $23.5 million from 3,854 theaters is a disappointment for Warner Bros. and MGM, which partnered in rebooting the female-led franchise that is based on the videogame. In the early 2000s, the Tomb Raider film series — starring Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft — beat the curse that continues to haunt videogame adaptations.
Norwegian filmmaker Roar Uthaug (The Wave) directed the new Tomb Raider, which stars Alicia Vikander opposite Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu and Kristin Scott Thomas. The $90 million film earned a mediocre B CinemaScore, potentially hurting word of mouth. Females made up just 44 percent of ticket buyers.
The movie did make up ground overseas, topping the foreign weekend chart with $84.5 million from 65 markets for an overseas tally of $102.5 million and $126 million globally. That includes a first-place finish in China with $41.1 million.
"I really hoped we would do more than $25 million domestically, but the fact that we were No. 1 globally is terrific news," says Warners domestic distribution chief Jeff Goldstein. "We always viewed this as an international play."
Tomb Raider placed No. 2 in North America, followed by I Can Only Imagine, which marks the biggest opening in Roadside's history. Brothers Jon and Andrew Erwin directed the indie film.
The drama stars J. Michael Finley as the real-life Bart Millard, the lead singer of the Christian band MercyMe who wrote "I Can Only Imagine," the best-selling Christian single of all time. Dennis Quaid and Cloris Leachman also star in the film, which cost a modest $7 million to make. The movie skewed heavily female (67 percent) and older, with 80 percent of the audience over the age of 35.
"It definitely shows that if you build a good movie, this audience will come out," says Roadside co-president Howard Cohen. "This is a branded property, and Dennis Quaid did a ton of publicity."
Coming in at No. 4, Ava DuVernay's Wrinkle in Time declined 50 percent in its second weekend to $16.6 million, a relatively big drop for a family title. The fantasy-adventure, from Disney, has earned $61.1 million in North America and $71.7 million globally.
Like Tomb Raider, Fox's YA adaptation Love, Simon disappointed in its opening. The film took fifth place with $11.5 million from 2,402 theaters. Greg Berlanti directed the Fox 2000 dramedy, which stars Nick Robinson as Simon Spier, a closeted high schooler who tries to find out the identity of an anonymous classmate he's fallen in love with online. Love, Simon cost $17 million to produce, and over-indexed on both coasts and in the Midwest, while under-indexing in the Rocky Mountain states and the South.
Both Love, Simon and I Can Only Imagine nabbed coveted A+ CinemaScores.
"Love is patient, love is kind, love is Simon," says Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson, noting that the A+ CinemaScore should boost Love, Simon in the weeks to come. Moviegoers aged 25 and younger made up nearly 60 percent of the aud, while females made up 58 percent of ticket buyers.
Opting for a smaller footprint, Focus Features, Working Title and Participant Media's terrorist drama 7 Days in Entebbe debuted to $1.6 million from 838 theaters. Directed by José Padilha (Narcos), the film stars Daniel Bruhl and Rosamund Pike.
At the specialty box office, The Orchard and filmmaker Max Winkler's new teen dramedy Flower, starring Zoey Deutch, scored the highest theater average of the weekend ($19,284) upon earning $57,851 from three theaters.
Elsewhere, New Line's Game Night placed No. 6 in its fourth weekend with $5.6 million for a domestic tally of $54 million, one of the best showings in recent times for an R-rated comedy.
On the global stage, Guillermo del Toro's Oscar-winning The Shape of Water upped its worldwide total to $173.5 million after debuting in China to a stellar $10.3 million and topping the $100 million mark internationally. The adult fairy tale has grossed $62.7 million domestically and $110.8 million overseas to date.
Sony's family film Peter Rabbit passed the $100 million mark domestically, and has collected $42.7 million overseas from its first 22 markets, including $15.5 million for the weekend. Its foreign weekend take was $15.It debuted to an excellent $9.5 million in the U.K., more than double Tomb Raider's $4.2 million launch. (Beatrix Potter, author of the famed Peter Rabbit tales, was British.)
Sony also celebrated Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle clearing the $400 million threshold domestically, becoming only the second film in the studio's history to do so behind the first Spider-Man (2002), not adjusting for inflation.