‘Creed III’ punches above the weight, tops domestic box office in first weekend

Creed IIIpunched above its weight at the domestic box office in its first weekend in theaters. MGM’s release knocked out “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” from the top spot and far exceeded industry expectations and the opening weekends of the franchise’s first two films.

Playing in 4,007 locations in North America, “Creed III” has grossed an estimated $58.7 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates on Sunday. At the start of the weekend, analysts expected the film to open in the $30 million range. The first “Creed” debuted to $29 million in 2015 and “Creed II” opened to $35 million in 2018.

Michael B. Jordan made his directorial debut with ‘Creed III,’ which pits his character Adonis against childhood friend Dame, played by Jonathan Majors. It is the first of the Rocky/Creed films to not feature Sylvester Stallone, who chose not to return due to creative differences.

“It is beyond all our expectations. And we knew we had something special – we tested the film and it was excellent, but the audience responded so resoundingly,” said Erik Lomis, head of distribution at MGM. “Everything happened here, starting with the movie itself… It was just up to us not to break it when they gave it to us and we didn’t.”

Good reviews helped “Creed III,” which currently sits at 87% on Rotten Tomatoes, while audiences gave it an A- CinemaScore. The audience was overwhelmingly male (63%), diverse (36% Black, 28% Latino, 23% White, and 13% Asian/Other) and young (55% 18-34) according to polls.

Over 80% of the general public said the film was a “definite recommendation”. With black audiences, that number jumped to 89%.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time and it’s rarefied air,” Lomis said. “People love the movie.”

It is also the most expensive “Creed” film, with a reported production budget of $75 million, compared to others that cost $35 million and $50 million. Internationally, “Creed III” grossed $41.8 million from 75 markets, making its worldwide debut at $100.4 million.

It’s a great time for Amazon, which acquired MGM for $8.5 billion last year, and could have just released “Creed III” on its streaming service with limited theatrical play. But they chose the theater, and it paid off.

“Amazon has put their full weight behind this film as only they can,” Lomis said. “They energized the campaign with marketing support across all of their verticals on the platform and beyond the platform. It shows a commitment to the theatrical business model of Amazon and MGM, which I think , should be exciting for everyone.

The company’s next big theatrical release is “Air,” directed by Ben Affleck, starring Matt Damon, which will be released next month.

“Ant-Man 3” slipped to a second-place finish in its third weekend in theaters with $12.5 million in North America and $22 million internationally. The Wonder and disney The overall sum of the film now stands at $419.5 million.

Third place went to Universal’s” cocaine bearwhich added $11 million in its second weekend in theaters to bring its domestic total to $41.3 million.

Crunchyroll’s “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba – To The Swordsmith Village” ranked fourth with $10.1 million. The series is based on Koyoharu Gotoge’s manga about a boy avenging his family.

Lionsgate and Kingdom Story Company’s “Jesus Revolution” rounded out the top five with $8.7 million. The film starring Kelsey Grammer as a 1970s pastor grossed $30.5 million in two weekends in theaters against a $15 million production budget.

Guy Ritchie’s ‘Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre’ opened outside the top five, a spy flick starring Jason Statham, Hugh Grant and Aubrey Plaza that grossed $3.2 million from 2,168 locations this weekend -end. The film, originally an STX release, was in distribution limbo for a while. Lionsgate recently stepped in to oversee the nationwide rollout.

The success of “Creed III” bodes well for other releases to come in March, including “John Wick Chapter 4” and “Shazam! Fury of the gods.

“We’re going to have an amazing March,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “It’s going to feel more like summer than spring with hits rolling in and building incredible momentum for the summer movie season.”

Estimated Friday-Sunday ticket sales at US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore, with Wednesday-Sunday in brackets. Final national figures will be released on Monday.

1. “Creed III,” $58.7 million. 2. “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” $12.5 million. 3. “Cocaine Bear,” $11 million. 4. “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba – To The Swordsmith Village,” $10.1 million. 5. “Jesus Revolution,” $8.7 million. 6. “Avatar: The Way of the Water,” $3.6 million. 7. “Operation Fortune: Ruse of War”, 3.2 million dollars. 8. ‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish’, $2.7 million. 9. “Magic Mike’s Last Dance,” $1.2 million. 10. “80 for Brady”, $845,000.

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