Though Universal's "Pacific Rim Uprising" toppled Disney's "Black Panther" from the top spot last week, this weekend, the action blockbuster dropped several spots, only to be replaced by a new one, Warner Bros.' "Ready Player One."
The Steven Spielberg-directed film, which opened Thursday, grossed an estimated $41.2 million from Friday through Sunday for a cumulative take of $53.2 million, including its opening-day receipts.
“I was relieved and thrilled to see that audiences everywhere indeed enjoyed the movie as much as we did,” said Jeff Goldstein, the studio’s distribution chief.
Based on the bestselling 2011 Ernest Cline book, "Ready Player One" is a dystopian sci-fi epic armed with both the genre's requisite futuristic tech and plenty of ’80s nostalgia. The film cost between $150 million and $175 million to produce, which means it went into this weekend needing strong foreign ticket sales — something it got with $128 million at the overseas box office.
Much of the movie takes place in a 3-D virtual reality world called Oasis, created in the year 2045 by a wealthy eccentric with a love for 1980s pop culture. The Spielberg picture earned positive reviews from audiences and critics with an A-minus rating on CinemaScore and a 76% "fresh" rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
Coming in second was "Tyler Perry's Acrimony," which opened with $17.1 million.
Distributed by Lionsgate, the film came in above analysts' expectations of $10 million. The R-rated thriller stars "Empire’s" Taraji P. Henson as a woman who goes to extreme lengths after her husband betrays her. It earned mixed reviews from audiences and critics with an A-minus rating on CinemaScore and a 24% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The movie’s debut is almost equivalent to the entire run of Henson's last picture, "Proud Mary," which was a box office disappointment and grossed just $20.8 million. With "Acrimony," Henson gets her comeback and also proves that Tyler Perry is a reliable brand even though the melodramatic thriller is a change of pace from his usual comedies.
”When the Tyler Perry name is in the title, it’s always bankable,” said senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “This film is quite different from the Madea films, but it’s really a testament to the enduring power of Perry’s stamp on content.”
"Black Panther" came in third, adding $11.2 million in its seventh weekend for a cumulative $650.7 million. With its $623 million at the overseas box office, it’s reached $1.27 billion in worldwide sales.
The movie is just $2 million away from becoming the fourth highest-grossing ever in the U.S. (a record held by Universal's "Jurassic World" with $652.3 million) and $10 million away from third place (Paramount's "Titanic" with $659.4 million). Those records, not adjusted for inflation, will likely fall soon.
In fourth place, Roadside Attractions' faith-based "I Can Only Imagine," now in its third week, added $10.7 million to its ticket sales (as well as 395 locations) for a cumulative domestic gross of $55.6 million.
Rounding out the top five, Universal's "Pacific Rim Uprising" dropped four spots after its No. 1 debut last week and brought in an additional $9.2 million for a cumulative domestic gross of $45.7 million.
The film's 67% decline in ticket sales is the second biggest drop of the year so far after Amazon's "Gringo" dropped 76%. "Uprising" was likely hurt in part by increased competition for the young male demographic with the release of "Ready Player One."
“By having these two epic-scale action sci-fi movies back to back, I think it was predestined or preordained that ‘Pacific Rim’ in its second weekend, coming up against ‘Ready Player One,’ would probably have a fairly significant drop,” said Dergarabedian. “But the lion’s share of the box office for ‘Pacific Rim’ has been earned and is being earned in the international marketplace, where it’s still doing big business.”
Internationally, the film has grossed $186.2 million for a global cumulative of $231.9 million.
Also new this weekend, Pure Flix's faith-based sequel "God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness" debuted at No. 12 with $2.6 million.
The third movie in the "God's Not Dead" series, "A Light in Darkness" came in under analysts' expectations of $5 million. The picture earned mixed reviews from audiences and critics with an A-minus rating on CinemaScore and a 15% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Faith-based films are struggling to keep up with the breakout hit “I Can Only Imagine,” and “A Light in Darkness” is no exception.
“‘I Can Only Imagine’ is Roadside Attractions’ biggest release so far, bigger than ‘Manchester by the Sea,’” Dergarabedian pointed out. “It’s just an incredible success story for that film. It’s dominating what is becoming a very crowded faith-based marketplace.”
A third faith-based film, Sony’s “Paul, Apostle of Christ,” took the No. 10 spot this weekend, with an additional $3.5 million in sales, for a cumulative $11.5 million.
At No. 11, Wes Anderson's "Isle of Dogs," in limited release, expanded into 138 additional theaters (for a total of 165) and brought in $2.8 million over the weekend, a per-screen average of $17,030 and a to-date cumulative of $5.9 million.
”There’s no better driver at the helm of a platform-specialized release than Fox Searchlight,” said Dergarabedian. “And working with Wes Anderson, he is a star director, particularly in the independent world. And his name alone is enough to build a lot of interest.”
The movie, which continues to perform in limited release, made more in just 165 theaters than "God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness" made in 1,693.
This week, Universal opens the comedy "Blockers," Entertainment Studios premieres the thriller "Chappaquiddick," Mirror/LD releases the drama "The Miracle Season" and Paramount reveals the horror thriller "A Quiet Place."