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‘Black Panther’ Continues to Rule the Box Office as ‘Death Wish’ and ‘Red Sparrow’ Sag

"Black Panther" continues to rewrite history, but new movies starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bruce Willis didn't get the memo.

“Black Panther”

Black Panther” continued its record-breaking performance with a third-weekend total of $66.7 million. That’s a tremendous holdover — at adjusted levels, better than “Titanic” (which was a New Years’ weekend, no less) and “The Avengers.”

The Marvel film’s domestic haul is now over $500 million in only 17 days; that’s better than six of 2017’s nine Best Picture nominees. It is close on the heels of “The Avengers,” whose adjusted 17-day gross was $517 million (unadjusted, it stood at $458 million, which is why Disney and others misleadingly claim “Panther” is already bigger).

“Black Panther”

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All that aside, the third weekend showed that Ryan Coogler’s film has tremendous momentum. Its drop was just 41 percent — better than “The Avengers,” which dropped 46 percent at the same point. That gives it a better shot at ultimately topping the adjusted $706 million that “The Avengers” earned in its domestic release. It’s a trajectory that, even in a worst-case scenario, means another $150 million and more rewritten expectations.

“Panther” currently represents 44 percent of the total box office, but its rising tide isn’t doing much for the other boats.  This weekend is about $40 million under last year’s by about $40 million, which was boosted by another Marvel opening, “Logan.” Still, when all numbers are reconciled, year to date will be up a very healthy 11 percent.

The weakness comes from spotty openings with new releases. “Red Sparrow” (20th Century Fox) managed $17 million this weekend. The R-rated thriller with Jennifer Lawrence cost nearly $70 million, and reunited the actress with director Francis Lawrence (“Hunger Games”). This is the director’s weakest opening number, below even the little-remembered “Constantine” and “Water for Elephants.” For Lawrence, it is an improvement on the ill-fated “mother!” and a bit better than “Passengers.”

It’s the sort of film that often fills distributors’ release schedules — logical in its elements, but just not terribly vital for American audiences. It’s cast with nationals from many countries, the better to enhance international appeal.

“Death Wish” cost $30 million, so its $13 million opening and prospects of overseas appeal make it a respectable take for its reinvented distributor, MGM. But similar to “Red Sparrow,” the remake of the Charles Bronson 1974 smash (now with Bruce Willis) isn’t going to help in shifting the box-office trajectory. Combined, “Red Sparrow” and “Death Wish” grossed $30 million. Last year saw five March releases open each to at least $40 million. At $40 million, “Power Rangers” was considered a disappointment.

It would be great to see the rest of March provide some surprises; for now, it looks nearly impossible for the month to come close to last year’s totals. Even with “Black Panther” soaring, it could be a steep drop.

The last-minute push for Oscar contenders added about $7 million to theater coffers this weekend. That’s a drop from last year ($16 million), but the bulk of that total came from “La La Land” and “Hidden Figures,” both mainstream, wide-release films still in normal play.

The Top Ten

1. The Black Panther (Disney) – Week 3; Last weekend #1

$65,505,000 (-41%) in 4,084 theaters (+64); PTA (per theater average): $16,088; Cumulative: $501,105,000

2. Red Sparrow (20th Century Fox) NEW – Cinemascore: B; Metacritic: 31; est. budget: $69 million

$17,000,000 in 3,056 theaters; PTA: $5,563; Cumulative: $17,000,000

3. Death Wish (MGM) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 54; est. budget: $30 million

$13,025,000 in 2,847 theaters; PTA: $4,575; Cumulative: $13,025,000

4. Game Night (Warner Bros.) – Week 2; Last weekend #2

$10,710,000 (-37%) in 3,502 theaters (+14); PTA: $3.058; Cumulative: $33,538,000

5. Peter Rabbit (Sony) – Week 4; Last weekend #3

$10,000,000 (-22%) in 3,607 theaters (-100); PTA: $2,772; Cumulative: $84,060,000

6. Annihilation (Paramount)  – Week 2; Last weekend #4

$5,650,000 (-49%) in 2,002 theaters (); PTA: $2,822; Cumulative: $20,637,000

7. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Sony)  – Week 11; Last weekend #6

$4,500,000 (-20%) in 2,313 theaters (-206); PTA: $1,946; Cumulative: $393,201,000

8. Fifty Shades Freed (Universal)  – Week 4; Last weekend #5

$3,310,000 (-%) in 2,614 theaters (-651); PTA: $1,266; Cumulative: $95,600,000

9. The Greatest Showman (20th Century Fox)  – Week 11; Last weekend #8

$2,675,000 (-22%) in 1,407 theaters (-194); PTA: $1,683; Cumulative: $164,616,000

10. Every Day (Orion)  – Week 2; Last weekend #9

$1,560,000 (-45%) in 1,669 theaters (no change); PTA: $935; Cumulative: $5,261,000

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