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‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Disappoints as ‘Black Panther’ Pounces to 4th Straight Box Office Win

Ava DuVernay’s pricey fantasy opens to $33 million, well behind $41 million for Marvel superhero movie

For the fourth weekend in a row, “Black Panther” remains king of both Wakanda and the box office, becoming the first film since “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” to take the No. 1 spot for four consecutive frames.

The Ryan Coogler-directed Marvel movie made $41.1 million this weekend, just a 38 percent drop from the $68.8 million the movie made last weekend. It now has a domestic total of $562 million, passing “The Dark Knight” to take the No. 7 spot on the all-time domestic charts. The No. 6 spot is currently held by “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” with $619 million.

Meanwhile, “Black Panther” made its debut in China this weekend, scoring $66.5 million in its opening there. That’s the fourth-highest superhero movie opening in Chinese history, falling just under the $69.2 million made by “Spider-Man: Homecoming” last year.

With a $516.6 million overseas total, “Black Panther” now has a global total of $1.07 billion, becoming the 33rd film in movie history — and the 16th released by Disney — to score $1 billion worldwide. Tomorrow it will enter the top 20 all-time global box office charts, passing the $1.08 billion made by “The Dark Knight Rises.”

In second place is another Disney release, Ava DuVernay’s “A Wrinkle in Time.” Though the film boasted diversity both on the screen and behind the camera at a time when new voices are in great demand, the film only opened to $33.3 million against a reported $103 million budget. Overseas, where the film will have a slow rollout, it made $6.3 million from six markets for a $39.6 million global launch.

Though Disney supported the film with its usually extensive marketing highlighted by advertising during the Winter Olympics, reaction among critics and adults who went to opening night screenings was lukewarm with a 42 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and an overall grade B on CinemaScore.

But younger and female audiences may help push “Wrinkle In Time” to strong holdover numbers in the coming weeks, as was the case with “The Greatest Showman” earlier this winter. That musical opened to a weak start in a crowded holiday season but picked up word of mouth and became a popular choice for family and female audiences.

Indeed, DuVernay has said she made “Wrinkle in Time” to provide a message for kids, even holding the film’s first public screening for Compton, California, schoolchildren at a local community center.  And audiences under 25 have responded positively to “Wrinkle in Time” and its message of self-discovery, giving it an A- on CinemaScore. Next weekend will help determine whether that positive reaction can buoy the film over the coming month.

Taking third this weekend is the horror film “Strangers: Prey at Night,” which opened to $10.4 million from 2,464 screens. Released by Aviron Pictures, the film received a 37 percent RT score and a C on CinemaScore. In fourth is Fox/Chernin’s “Red Sparrow,” which halved its $16.6 million start last weekend for an $8.2 million second frame and a 10-day total of $31.2 million. WB/New Line’s “Game Night” completes the top five with $7.9 million, giving it a domestic total of $45 million after three weekends.

Outside the top five, Entertainment Studios’ “The Hurricane Heist” took in just under $3 million from 2,402 screens. Starring Toby Kebbell in an action film about bank robbers who use a Category 5 hurricane as a chance to steal millions from the U.S. Mint, the film has a B- on CinemaScore and a 29 percent RT score.

Also releasing this weekend is STX/Amazon Studios’ “Gringo,” a comedy about an employee of a company that manufactures a marijuana pill who gets kidnapped by the Mexican cartel. The film finished 11th this weekend with $2.6 million, receiving a C+ on CinemaScore and a 39 percent RT score.

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