Weekend Wrap-Up

by Tim Briody

March 18, 2018

Wakandan fashion is something.

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Black Panther is the first movie to spent five weekends at #1 since Avatar, while crossing the $600 million mark in the process. Meanwhile, the Tomb Raider reboot underwhelms and a faith-based biopic nearly pulls off a UMBC-style upset.

The top film for the weekend is once again Black Panther, joining elite company with a fifth straight weekend at the top with a weekend of $27 million, off just 34% from last weekend. It has now earned $605.4 million in five weekends, only the seventh film in history to do that. It was also in seventh place all-time domestically last weekend, but now it has moved considerably closer to the next two films on the list, Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($619.7 million) and The Avengers ($623.3 million). So, next weekend we'll be talking about the fifth biggest movie ever. At its current pace, two weekends from now it should have just squeaked by Titanic to become #3 all time. Unbelievable.

Your fun stat of the week: while plenty of tentpoles have managed to make it a month at the top in the modern box office era, Black Panther holds on for a fifth weekend, which puts it in elite company, as if $600 million wasn't enough of a hint. Per our friends at Box Office Mojo, only 25 films have spent five or more weekends at #1. Only two of those have happened in this century, the last being Avatar (which made it seven weeks).

While Black Panther continues to make history, the internet's attention is starting to turn to Avengers: Infinity War, which isn't out for another six weeks. It's all just Marvel and Disney's world, we're just living in it.

Second place goes to the reboot of Tomb Raider, starring Alicia Vikander. She was a great casting choice to play the newer Lara Croft that debuted in the 2013 video game reboot, depicting a less overtly sexualized Lara and a much more darker and grittier tone. We haven't seen a Tomb Raider movie since the 2003 sequel to the 2001 original killed the Angelina Jolie franchise with just $65.6 million despite the first movie earning $131.1 million. The Tomb Raider reboot did top Black Panther on Friday, but once again Marvel came through on the weekend, bumping it to second place with a weekend of $23.5 million.

That's likely not the opening Warner Bros. was hoping for and dashes hopes for reestablishing the franchise unless it shows otherworldly legs (which isn't going to happen). Hampered by bad reviews (just 49% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes) and more or less going directly at Black Panther in terms of competition, and that's presently a losing proposition. International grosses will prop it up considerably (so maybe they will try a sequel after all), but it's looking at a good bit less than $100 million domestically off of a reported budget of about $100 million.

We have a huge surprise in third place this weekend, as I Can Only Imagine, a biopic about the lead singer of Christian band MercyMe and the development of their biggest hit and signature song, earns $17 million in just 1,629 theaters.

It's been a while since we've seen a decent hit from the faith-based genre, and a movie based on a popular song (reportedly the most played song ever on Christian radio stations) by one of the most well-known Christian bands of the last 20 years (as a largely non-religious person I'd heard of them, but only know the song Here With Me, which I like quite a bit) seemed to be a perfect thing to do.


I Can Only Imagine debuted with $1.3 million from Thursday night showings (as compared to Tomb Raider's $2.1 million) but it was chalked up to sales from group viewings and wasn't expected to make much of a dent in the weekend chart. We, uh, were wrong. This is an excellent performance (on just a $7 million budget) and one of the best box of stories of the year that shouldn't be overlooked in the presence of Black Panther becoming one of the biggest movies of all time. I'm not sure if it's going to show strong legs or if this weekend continued to be fueled by group viewings, but it's something to watch next weekend and beyond.

A Wrinkle in Time drops to fourth place with $16.5 million, down 50% from last weekend. It's got $61 million after two weekends, which would be perfectly fine if not for its $100 million budget, so it's going to go down as a disappointment for Disney. It could also be helped somewhat by international box office, but will probably end up on the red side of Disney's ledger when all is said and done, not that they'll care with the success of Black Panther.

Our third opener this weekend, Love, Simon earned a decent $11.4 million on the weekend. While overshadowed by the breakout of I Can Only Imagine, Love, Simon is notable in that it's the first release by a major studio (20th Century Fox in this case) to focus on a gay teen romance.

In an era when films such as Moonlight ($27.8 million) and Call Me By Your Name ($17.4 million) can earn critical acclaim but perform poorly at the box office, that Love, Simon was able to open to over $10 million is a big accomplishment. It's also the best reviewed new release this weekend by a significant margin, rating 91% Fresh at Rotten Tomatoes (as opposed to Tomb Raider's 49% and I Can Only Imagine's 58%). Based on a young adult novel, Love, Simon could probably find a niche over the next few weeks and end up holding well enough to have a respectable box office total against its reported $17 million budget.

Game Night loses some screens but still holds pretty well, down 29% to $5.5 million and $54.1 million after four weekends. Still the only pure comedy option in theaters, it has been pretty leggy. Warner Bros. should be happy about Game Night's performance after a somewhat disappointing opening weekend.

With the departure of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (down to 12th, but crossing $400 million in the process), Peter Rabbit becomes the elder statesman of the top ten with $5.2 million in its sixth weekend. It is also 2018's second $100 million film (there's a trivia question for you) with $102.4 million to date. Also still hanging in there as the top family option (it only dipped 23% from last weekend), Sony has to be very happy with this performance, and I'd expect a sequel announcement any day now.

The Strangers: Prey At Night drops 54% to eigth place on the wekeend with $4.8 million, and has earned $18.6 million. Aviron Pictures (who previously brought us 2017's Kidnap starring Halle Berry) should be very happy with this; it only cost them $5 million.

The Jennifer Lawrence disappointment Red Sparrow drops to ninth in its third weekend, adding $4.4 million on the weekend (down 48%) and $39.5 million to date. International grosses have helped, but this still a big hit to Lawrence's appeal as a draw outside of franchises.

Death Wish hangs around for another weekend in tenth place with $3.3 million and $29.9 million in three weekends. It has actually made its budget back domestically (it reportedly cost $30 million to make) so MGM won't be taking too much of a hit on this one, unless they were hoping to recreate the franchise.

The top 12 films this weekend totaled $122.3 million of box office, which is dwarfed by last year's total of $226.4 million, when Beauty and the Beast opened with $174.5 million.

Next weekend should finally bring and end to Black Panther's run at the top of the box office, and the answer to the trivia question is looking to be Pacific Rim: Uprising.

Top Ten for Weekend of March 16-18, 2018
Gross ($)
Weekly Change
Gross ($)
1 Black Panther Walt Disney 27.0 -34% 605.4
2 Tomb Raider Warner Bros. 23.4 New 23.4
3 I Can Only Imagine Roadside Attractions 17.0 New 17.0
4 A Wrinkle in Time Walt Disney 16.5 -50% 61.0
5 Love, Simon 20th Century Fox 11.4 New 11.4
6 Game Night Warner Bros. 5.5 -29% 54.1
7 Peter Rabbit Sony 5.2 -23% 102.4
8 The Strangers: Prey At Night Aviron Pictures 4.8 -54% 18.6
9 Red Sparrow 20th Century Fox 4.4 -48% 39.5
10 Death Wish MGM 3.3 -49% 29.9
Box office data supplied by Exhibitor Relations



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