Weekend Box Office: 'Pacific Rim Uprising' Beats 'Black Panther' With Tepid $28M in U.S.
A glut of new movies underperform as they unfurl nationwide — including Steven Soderbergh's latest — while Wes Anderson's 'Isle of Dogs' soars at the specialty box office.
Legendary and Universal's Pacific Rim Uprising was the film to finally dethrone Black Panther at the domestic box office upon opening to a tepid $28 million from 2,850 theaters over the weekend.
While coming in ahead of tracking, that's still a troublesome start for a movie that cost $155 million to produce before marketing.
Overall revenue for the weekend was down a steep 37 percent as Pacific Rim and four other new nationwide releases failed to wow, including a new movie from Steven Soderbergh. There was plenty of competition for the attention of moviegoers, between the NCAA basketball tournament and Saturday's marches across the country in protest of gun violence.
Pacific Rim 2 is a far bigger player overseas, where the $150 million film debuted to $122.5 million, including a pleasing $65 million in China, where Legendary East has sole distribution duties. That puts the movie's global bow at $150.5 million. (In the Middle Kingdom, the sequel came in ahead of the first film, which launched to $45.2 million.)
The first Pacific Rim, directed by Guillermo del Toro, was likewise muted in its North American launch, opening to $37.3 million in summer 2013. It went on to earn a sizable $309.2 million overseas (China's contribution was $111.9 million), while it topped out at $101.8 million domestically.
John Boyega and Scott Eastwood lead the cast of Pacific Rim 2, with Steven S. DeKnight helming in his feature directorial debut. Legendary and Universal OK'd the sequel prior to the former getting new leadership and a fresh infusion of funding. Legendary put up the majority of the production budget.
In its sixth weekend, Disney and Marvel's Black Panther banked another $16.7 million for a domestic total of $630.9 million, becoming the top-grossing superhero film of all time in North America and the No. 5 domestic title of all time, unadjusted for inflation.
That wasn't the only milestone the weekend brought. Globally, Black Panther finished Sunday with $1.237 billion in ticket sales, passing Iron Man 3 ($1.214 billion) to rank as the No. 3 superhero title of all time at the worldwide box office behind The Avengers ($1.518 billion) and Avengers: Age of Ultron ($1.405 billion). It is now the No. 12 highest-grossing pic of all time.
Black Panther came in at No. 2 in North America over the weekend, followed by faith-based holdover I Can Only Imagine, which fell a scant 19 percent to an estimated $14 million for a 10-day domestic total of $38.5 million. The film is so popular that Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate added 653 runs, bringing the movie's total theater count to 2,253.
Among the flurry of offerings on the marquee, MGM and Paramount's new animated family film Sherlock Gnomes opened to a disappointing $10.6 million from 3,662 theaters. The studios are hopeful that the family film, which bowed at No. 4, will benefit from the upcoming Easter holiday and spring break.
A sequel to Gnomeo and Juliet (2011), Sherlock Gnomes certainly doesn't lack for star power. The voice cast includes returning castmembers James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Stephen Merchant and Ozzy Osbourne, plus Johnny Depp, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mary J. Blige.
Internationally, Sherlock Gnomes opened to $2.1 million from 19 markets, including 14 new openings, for an early foreign cume of $4.6 million.
MGM and Warner Bros.' Tomb Raider rounded out the top five domestically with $10.4 million for a troubled 10-day North American total of $41.7 million. The film, which fell 56 percent domestically, continued to make up ground internationally, earning another $34.1 million offshore for a foreign total of $170 million and a global haul of $211.7 million.
Sony's Peter Rabbit followed at No. 3 overseas with $28 million for a foreign total of $76.3 million and global haul of $183.1 million. The film is a hit in the U.K., where it took in another $7 million to trounce the openings of Pacific Rim Uprising ($2.4 million) and A Wrinkle in Time ($900,000) for a total of $19.6 million in its second weekend.
Among other newcomers in North America, Sony/Affirm's faith-based film Paul, Apostle of Christ managed only an eighth-place finish in its launch, earning $5 million from 1,473 theaters in the face of formidable competition from I Can Only Imagine.
Midnight Sun, a teen romantic drama, opened in 10th place for Global Road with an estimated $4.1 million from 2,173 locations. The film, starring Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzenegger and Rob Riggle, was financed by the Boies/Schiller Film Group.
Midnight Sun managed to come in ahead of Steven Soderbergh's Unsane, a new psychological horror-thriller starring The Crown's Claire Foy and shot with an iPhone 7. Bleecker Street and Soderbergh's Fingerprint Releasing are handling the movie, which reportedly cost a mere $1.5 million to make.
Unsane grossed $3.9 million from 2,023 theaters, marking the worst wide launch of Soderbergh's directing career. Juno Temple, Joshua Leonard, Jay Pharoah, Aimee Mullins and Amy Irving co-star in the pic. Overseas, it debuted to a meek $805,000 from its first five markets, including a seventh-place finish in the U.K. ($675,000), Foy's home country.
Unsane had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, as did Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs, which pranced into 27 theaters over the weekend.
Isle of Dogs was one of the weekend's few success stories as it grossed an estimated $1.57 million for a screen average of $58,148 — the best anyone can remember for a specialty film opening in more than 25 cinemas. It is also the top average of the year to date.
Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum and Greta Gerwig are among the voice cast of Anderson's stop-motion animated adventure about a boy and his faithful pet who set out to stop a canine genocide.
March 25, 11:45 a.m. Updated with additional foreign grosses.