Sunday, April 1, 2018

Moviegoers Level Up For Ready Player One Over Easter Weekend While Acrimony Has Decent Bow And God's Not Dead Is DOA At The Box Office

After eight months of marketing (which kicked off at the San Diego Comic-Con last July), Ready Player One bowed this weekend and managed to secure some solid box office numbers. Early tracking made it look like Ready Player One may be headed for financial trouble, but the Steven Spielberg directed film managed to beat out it's tracking and secure the biggest opening weekend for a 2018 film that isn't titled Black Panther. Grossing $41.3 million over this three-day weekend, that gives Ready Player One the fifth biggest opening weekend ever for a Steven Spielberg directed motion picture. This action blockbuster has managed to gross $53.3 million since it opened on Thursday.

Ready Player One was likely kept from going even higher than this due to a marketing campaign that too heavily focused on shoving as much branded IP at the viewer without giving a larger story context for why those recognizable figures were all in a single movie. No shocker that the best received of its four trailers was the one that placed the greatest emphasis on character and tone. Luckily for Ready Player One, its ads still emphasized the participation of director Steven Spielberg and spectacle-driven action and since this was clearly marketed as an all-ages movie, it was the perfect type of film to release over a holiday weekend. Since it'll get a major box office boost during the week, Ready Player One should finish its domestic run with at least $125 million. With a worldwide opening weekend of $181 million, this was a great opening weekend for the newest Steven Spielberg movie.

Just like many Easter weekend's in year's past, a new Tyler Perry movie premiered this weekend. The movie in question was Tyler Perry's Acrimony, which grossed $17.1 million. Interestingly, that's one of Perry's weakest opening weekends ever, only four of his directorial efforts have opened worse than that. On a budget of $20 million, this isn't an ideal opening but it's also not terrible for an original thriller. Tyler Perry's movies are typically frontloaded at the box office, so it'd be shocking if this one wound up with much more than $35 million at the domestic box office.

The presence of a new blockbuster like Ready Player One didn't do much to deter the massive box office power of Black Panther, which dipped only 34% this frame to add another $11.2 million to a domestic cume that now stands at $650.6 million. This makes it only the fifth movie in history to gross over $650 million at the domestic box office. Meanwhile, I Can Only Imagine also continued it's impressive run at the box office as it eased a mere 21% to gross another $10.7 million for a domestic haul that now stands at $55.5 million. On the other hand, Pacific Rim: Uprising plummetted 67% this weekend, grossing only $9.2 million for a domestic gross of $45.6 million. Also in its second weekend this frame was Sherlock Gnomes, which went down 34% to gross another $7 million, giving it a domestic gross of $22.8 million. In ten days, Sherlock Gnomes is still running behind what Gnomeo & Juliet managed to gross in it's opening 3-day weekend.

Holding well this frame was Love, Simon, which dipped 37% to gross $4.8 million, giving it a solid domestic haul of $32.1 million. Right behind it was Tomb Raider, which grossed $4.7 million this frame, a 53% drop from last weekend, and now the video game adaptation has amassed $50.5 million domestically. In its fourth weekend, A Wrinkle In Time dropped 43% to add $4.6 million to its domestic haul that now stands at $83.2 million. Rounding out the top ten was Paul, Apostle of Christ, which dipped 32% from its opening weekend last weekend to gross another $3.5 million, giving it an $11.5 million domestic haul to date.

Isle of Dogs continued to do impressive box office this weekend as it expanded into 165 locations, grossing $2.8 million for a per-theater average of $17,030. Through ten days of limited release play, this new Wes Anderson movie has grossed $5 million. Isle of Dogs in its second weekend managed to beat out the opening weekend of sequel God's Not Dead: A Light In The Darkness, despite Dogs playing in 1,500 less theaters. The newest God's Not Dead movie grossed an anemic $2.6 million this weekend, a steep drop from the opening weekend of God's Not Dead 2 which itself had a notably smaller opening weekend than the first God's Not Dead. Are these movies finally dead? All I know is they're surely not alive and roaring like a lion...

Going down 40% this weekend was Game Night, which added $2.4 million to a domestic gross that now stands at an impressive $65 million. Meanwhile, Peter Rabbit got paired up with fellow Sony Pictures family movie Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle at many movie theaters for a double feature that seems to have boosted the bunnies box office, as Peter Rabbit grossed another $2 million (a mere 21% dip from last weekend), bringing it up to a $110.6 million domestic gross. In its second weekend, Midnight Sun fell 52%, grossing another $1.8 million for a $7.7 million domestic gross. Expanding into 484 locations this weekend, The Death of Stalin did solid business, grossing $1.45 million for a per-theater average of $3,004, giving it a $3.9 million domestic total to-date. A sing-along version of The Greatest Showman went out to a number of movie theaters this weekend, allowing the smash hit musical to gross another $690,000, giving it a $172 million domestic haul.

Baaghi 2 premiered in 123 domestic theaters this weekend and grossed $580,000 for a per-theater average of $4,715. Meanwhile, Helen Mirren's The Leisure Seeker expanded into 155 theaters and grossed $248,622 for a per-theater average of $1,604 and a domestic total of $1.08 million. Bowing in 14 theaters this weekend was Finding Your Feet, which grossed $61,295 for a per-theater average of $4378, while the noir Gemini also bowed in limited release, grossing $34,184 at 4 locations for a per-theater average of $8,546.

The top 12 movies this weekend grossed a total of $119.6 million, a much lower than usual sum for the final weekends of March in years past. Chalk that up to, among other things, the fact that we don't have a big animated family movie in 2018 to close out the month as we have in year's past; Sherlock Gnomes is falling far below the likes of recent late March blockbusters like Home and The Boss Baby. Lackluster holdovers like Tomb Raider and Pacific Rim: Uprising aren't helping either while a lack of variety (where are the R-rated comedies, adult dramas or romantic comedies?) ensured that March 2018 ended on a downer note, though the strong box office of Ready Player One ended the month on a high note. March 2018 grossed $839.2 million, the fourth biggest March in history.

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