Box Office: Michael B. Jordan’s ‘Creed III’ Wins Title With Historic $58.6M Opening

MGM's third installment in the prized 'Rocky' spinoff franchise came in well ahead of expectations to score the top opening ever for a sports film domestically, not adjusted for inflation. It was also a knockout overseas with a $41.8 million start.

Director-actor Michael B. Jordan’s Creed III is a box office champ.

The movie opened to a better-than-expected $58.6 million domestically from 4,007 screens after grossing $22 million on Friday in a big win for MGM and Michael B. Jordan, who directed Creed III in his feature debut. Jordan also returns in the role of Adonis Creed, a character first introduced in Ryan Coogler’s 2015 sleeper hit Creed, which revived the legendary Rocky film franchise.

The threequel not only scored a series-best debut, but boasts the biggest sports film opening in history, according to MGM.

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Overseas, Creed III was also a knockout, opening to a franchise-best $41.8 million from 75 markets for a global start of $100.4 million. France led with $7.2 million, followed by the U.K. with $6.1 million, Germany with $4.3 million, Italy with $3.5 million and Mexico with $3 million. Warner Bros. is handling the movie internationally per its deal with MGM.

Creed III opens at a critical juncture for MGM and parent Amazon as they plot an expanded film footprint.

The Creed series has been one of MGM’s most important modern-day franchises, and the third installment isn’t disappointing. It is more than holding when compared to the first two films, and will easily score the biggest first-weekend opening of the spinoff franchise, fueled by top exit scores on PostTrak and an A- CinemaScore (not to mention glowing reviews). Males, both younger and older, made up 62 percent of an ethnically diverse audience (39 percent Latino, 27 percent white, 20 percent Asian/other and 14 percent Black), according to PostTrak.

Creed powered its way to a $42.1 million domestic opening over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday in 2015, including $29 million for the three-day weekend, not adjusted for inflation. The Steven Caple Jr.-directed sequel opened over the Thanksgiving corridor in 2018, grossing $56 million for the five days and $35.5 million for the three.

Creed III bumped Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania off of many premium screens, including Imax locations. Its the first sports film that was shot with IMAX-certified digttal cameras, and features 26 minutes of expanded IMAX exclusive expanded aspect ratio. The movie paid off: the IMAX share of the opening gross was a huge $9.6 million globally, including $6.5 million domestically.

The pic follows Jordan’s character as he comes out of retirement to face off with an old friend, played by Jonathan Majors (who is also garnering notice for his villainous role in Quantumania). Tessa Thompson, Mila Davis-Kent and Wood Harris co-star, among others.

Now that Amazon owns a legacy Hollywood studio, it is in a better position than other streamers to execute a traditional theatrical release in North America. In recent weeks, for example, Amazon Studios announced that Ben Affleck’s Air will open in theaters across the globe, versus being sent straight, or almost straight, to Prime Video.

Amazon protected its newfound theatrical apparatus by folding United Artists Releasing into MGM. UAR was the domestic distribution and marketing company that was previously a co-venture between MGM and Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures.

Among holdovers, Marvel and Disney’s troubled Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania fell to No. 2 with an estimated $12.5 million from 3,825 locations. While the superhero pic has amassed a domestic war chest of more than $186.7 million, it tumbled another 60 percent in its third outing. It fared better overseas, with a foreign tally of $237.7 million through Sunday and a global total of $423.9 million (China remains a sore spot, where the pic has earned just $36.9 million).

Universal’s Elizabeth Banks-directed genre pic Cocaine Bear came in No. 3 in its second out with $11 million from 3,570 theaters for a pleasing domestic total of $41.2 million. The film dropped a respectable 53 percent. The high-concept movie earned another $3.1 million overseas from 51 markets for a foreign total of $10.7 million and $52 million worldwide.

Lionsgate and Kingdom Story’s faith-based Jesus Revolution held well in its sophomore outing, dipping 46 percent to $8.7 million for a domestic total of $30.5 million.

Debuting over the weekend opposite Creed III were anime franchise installment Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – To the Swordsmith Village (Crunchyroll), which placed No. 4 with $10 million from 1,780 cinemas, and Guy Ritchie’s action pic Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre (Lionsgate, Miramax), which placed No. 7 with a paltry $3.2 million from 2,168 locations. Lionsgate is distributing the Miramax movie for a fee, with Miramax covering marketing costs.

March 5, 6:45 a.m.: Updated with revised grosses.
March 5, 10:30 a.m.: Updated with international grosses.

This story was originally published on March 4 at 6:11 a.m.