12:54pm PT by Pamela McClintock
Weekend Box Office: 'Black Panther' Blows Past 'Red Sparrow,' 'Death Wish' With $60M-Plus
Disney and Marvel's blockbuster Black Panther continues to own the North American box office, where it's on course to earn $60 million-plus and score the third biggest weekend of all time behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($90.2 million) and Avatar ($68.5 million).
On Friday, the superhero film took in $16.3 million from 4,084 theaters for a domestic total of $451.7 million. Today, Black Panther will pass up Avengers: Age of Ultron ($459 million) to become the second biggest Marvel title of all time domestically behind The Avengers ($623 million), not adjusted for inflation.
Two new films open this weekend in an R-rated action showdown — Jennifer Lawrence's Red Sparrow and Bruce Willis' Death Wish remake.
From Fox and Chernin Entertainment, Red Sparrow is flying past Death Wish after earning $6 million on Friday from 3,056 theaters for a projected $17 million-plus weekend. The action thriller reunites Lawrence with her Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence.
Based on the novel by Jason Matthews, Red Sparrow tells the tale of a Russian ballerina who, after suffering a career-ending injury, becomes a seductive and cunning intelligence operative. Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeremy Irons, Mary-Louise Parker and Charlotte Rampling co-star in the film, which reportedly cost a net $69 million to produce.
Death Wish, a remake of the 1974 revenge thriller, earned $4.3 million on Friday from 2,847 locations for a projected $12 million debut.
The movie, costing a reported $30 million to produce after tax rebates and incentives, marks the first release from MGM since the indie studio re-entered the domestic distribution business. In the film, Willis stars as a doctor who takes the law into his own hands after an attack on his wife and daughter. The cast also includes Elisabeth Shue, Vincent D'Onofrio, Camila Morrone, Dean Norris and Mike Epps.
Red Sparrow currently has a 51 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while Death Wish is getting crushed by critics with a 14 percent aggregated score (MGM didn't lift the review embargo until Thursday). Both films earned a B+ CinemaScore from audiences.
At the specialty box office, movies competing in the Oscar race hope to benefit from an 11th-hour surge before Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony, including such best-picture nominees as The Shape of Water; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Darkest Hour; Phantom Thread; and Call Me by Your Name.
Also, Sony Pictures Classics opens the Israeli film Foxtrot, which is up for best foreign-language feature, in select cinemas timed to the Oscars.
March 3, 8 a.m. Updated with Friday grosses and revised weekend estimates.