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‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ dethrones ‘Black Panther,’ but that doesn’t mean it’s a hit

Jaeger mech "Bracer Phoenix" in "Pacific Rim Uprising." The globe-spanning conflict between otherworldly monsters of mass destruction and the human-piloted super-machines built to vanquish them was only a prelude to the all-out assault on humanity.
Jaeger mech “Bracer Phoenix” in “Pacific Rim Uprising.” The globe-spanning conflict between otherworldly monsters of mass destruction and the human-piloted super-machines built to vanquish them was only a prelude to the all-out assault on humanity.
(Legendary Pictures/Universal Pic)

For the first time in six weeks, Disney’s juggernaut “Black Panther” has been knocked from the top box office spot with the debut of Universal’s “Pacific Rim Uprising.”

“Obviously we’re always pleased to open at No. 1, said Jim Orr, Universal’s distribution chief, “and to do it under these circumstances is fantastic.”

“Pacific Rim Uprising,” the big-budget sci-fi sequel estimated to have cost $155 million, came within range of analysts’ expectations of $25 million to $30 million with an estimated $28 million in domestic grosses.

“Uprising” follows Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 original “Pacific Rim,” which was a relative disappointment in the U.S. with a $102-million domestic take, but was a huge hit in China and other countries. It ended its run with $411 million in worldwide receipts.

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Similarly, “Pacific Rim Uprising” grossed an estimated $122.5 million internationally this weekend, with $65 million in ticket sales coming from China, for a global gross of $150.5 million.

“It really was a terrific worldwide launch for ‘Pacific Rim Uprising,’” Orr said. “We’re thrilled to partner with Legendary on this title and it really was engineered for a worldwide event and has delivered as promised.”

Directed by Steven S. DeKnight, “Uprising” — which takes place in a world where humans pilot giant fighting machines to save the world from otherworldly monsters — earned a B rating on CinemaScore and a 46% “rotten” rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.

Even at No. 2, “Black Panther” continued to shatter records.

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The film, which added $16.6 million to its domestic grosses this weekend, has now earned $630.9 million in the U.S. and Canada, making it the top-grossing superhero film of all time in North America. The previous record holder, fellow Marvel title “The Avengers,” grossed $623.4 million in 2012.

“Black Panther” is only one of seven films to ever earn $600 million or more domestically. The film spent five weeks at No. 1 in North America, a streak that had not been achieved since James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster “Avatar.” It has grossed upward of $1.2 billion worldwide.

Roadside Attractions’ faith-based film “I Can Only Imagine” continued to perform in its second week, maintaining the No. 3 spot and adding $13.8 million in ticket sales for a cumulative $38.3 million.

Starring Dennis Quaid and J. Michael Finley, the film follows the lead singer of the Christian band MercyMe during his process of writing “I Can Only Imagine,” the most-played radio hit in Christian music history.

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In fourth place, Paramount’s “Sherlock Gnomes” opened with $10.6 million.

Released by Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the computer-animated cartoon is a follow-up to 2011’s “Gnomeo and Juliet,” which was distributed under Disney’s Touchstone label. The film came in under analysts’ predictions of $15 million, much lower than the $25-million debut of the original.

“Sherlock Gnomes” earned mixed reviews from audiences and critics with a B+ rating on CinemaScore and a 21% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Rounding out the top five, Warner Bros.’ “Tomb Raider” dropped three spots since last week and added $10.4 million in its second weekend, a 56% decline, for a cumulative $41.7 million.

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Other newcomers this week include Sony’s “Paul, Apostle of Christ,” which debuted at No. 8 with $5 million, on par with analysts’ predictions of $4 million to $9 million.

Released through the studio’s faith-based label Affirm Films, “Paul” cost an estimated $5 million to make and stars James Faulkner and Jim Caviezel. It earned a 35% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Open Road’s romantic teen tear-jerker “Midnight Sun,” also new this week, came in at the low end of analysts’ expectations with $4.1 million in the No. 10 spot. Starring Bella Thorne, the film earned mixed reviews with audiences and critics, with an A- rating on CinemaScore and a 21% “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Bleecker Street’s thriller “Unsane” was the only other wide-release newcomer this week, opening with $3.8 million. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the R-rated thriller stars Claire Foy (“The Crown”) as a young woman who is involuntarily committed to a mental institution. It earned a B- rating on CinemaScore and a 78% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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In limited release, Fox Searchlight’s animated “Isle of Dogs” opened in 27 theaters with an impressive $1.6 million, a per-screen average of $58,148.

Directed by Wes Anderson, the film, which is set in Japan, features a voice cast including Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Liev Schreiber and Yoko Ono. It was a hit with critics, earning a 93% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Next week, Pure Flix premieres the faith drama “God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness” and Lionsgate opens the thriller “Tyler Perry’s Acrimony” starring Taraji P. Henson.

sonaiya.kelley@latimes.com

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follow me on twitter @sonaiyak


UPDATES:

3:10 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details.

This article was originally published at 9:45 a.m.

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