MGM’s “Creed III” has come out of the corner swinging, as Saturday box office estimates have the boxing film earning $22 million on opening day and an estimated $50 million opening weekend from 4,007 theaters, beating box office projections for a $37-40 million launch.
With this threequel, MGM is placing a bet on star Michael B. Jordan, who is making his directorial debut while lacing up the gloves once again as Adonis Creed. Despite being the first film in the series without Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, “Creed III” is on its way to the best opening weekend in the series, topping the $35.5 million 3-day opening of “Creed II” during Thanksgiving weekend 2018.
Reviews are also strong across the board for this film, with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 87% critics and 96% audience to go with an A- on CinemaScore. That’s a good sign for “Creed III” as it puts itself in position to surpass the $115 million domestic run of “Creed II” despite the heavy competition coming from other franchise sequels this month.
In second is Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” which industry estimates have taking another brutal 62% drop in its third weekend to just $12 million after falling nearly 70% last weekend.
While the tepid word-of-mouth for “Quantumania” was probably a factor once again, the drop was likely exacerbated by the loss of premium format screens to “Creed III,” taking away the revenue boost that comes from them. The film is estimated to have a $186 million domestic total after three weekends, which is still ahead of the unadjusted $165 million three-weekend total of the previous “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”
In a narrow race for third are Universal’s “Cocaine Bear” and Crunchyroll’s “Demon Slayer: To the Swordsmith Village.” Industry estimates currently have the edge going to “Demon Slayer,” which made $4.1 million from 1,753 theaters and is estimated to earn $10.8 million this weekend. “Cocaine Bear” is estimated to earn $10.6 million in its second weekend, a 54% drop from its $23 million opening weekend that gives the $35 million R-rated film a $40.8 million 10-day total.
Lionsgate/Kingdom’s “Jesus Revolution” completes the top 5 with an estimated $8.5 million in its second weekend, giving it a 10-day total of $30.3 million. Lionsgate has also released the Guy Ritchie spy film “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre,” to a $1 million opening day from 2,168 theaters and an estimated $3 million opening weekend. The film was acquired by Lionsgate from Miramax, which co-financed the film with STX Entertainment.
The opening weekend success “Creed III” and “Demon Slayer” also means that “Avatar: The Way of Water” has now dropped out of the top 5 in its 12th weekend, adding $3.2 million to bring its domestic total to $670 million.