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‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ Leads Debuts, but ‘Croods 2’ Again #1 at Box Office

This weekend showed a 40 percent increase, but the only global blockbuster belonged to a Chinese action franchise.


“Judas and the Black Messiah”

Glen Wilson

Propelled by Presidents and Valentines days, and no Super Bowl competition, this weekend showed 40 percent improvement over last week. For the three days, the top 10 will gross about $10.5 million, with all films taking in a little below $12 million.

That comes with several new titles of note, led by “Judas and the Black Panther.” The Daniel Kaluuya-led retelling of the murder of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton (also playing on HBO Max, the third of the studio’s releases to have parallel initial play) came in at #3, leading among debut films. But the biggest factor this weekend is the increase in grosses for nearly all holdovers.

Last year, with Valentine’s Day on Friday, was also a four-day holiday and the all-film total was $156 million.

The best news is the staggering performance of “Detective Chinatown 3.” In its native China, over their new year’s holiday, the film grossed $424 million. That’s an all-time one territory record for any film. Though it comes from an established franchise, it could suggest that for the right film, at the right point, audiences might return bigger than ever. It could also suggest it is easier to recreate in a market where alternative home models have a much smaller foothold.

China grossed $775 million for the weekend. The country has four times the population of North America, but admission prices are substantially lower. That’s over 60 times as much revenue as here.

“The Croods: A New Age”


“The Croods: A New Age” climbed back to #1 with over $2 million in its 12th week (and eighth on Premium VOD). It helps to be the sole kids’ title in the market. “The Little Things” fell to #3. The Warner Bros./HBO Max title has passed $10 million in theaters, with unreported specific numbers on viewership on the streaming platform.

“Wonder Woman 1984” “ and “The Marksman,” both over $1 million, completed the top five. Both saw new life with increases over the past weekend.

A factor among new titles this weekend is the combination of the holiday and the Oscar qualification extension to the end of February. Another opening film, “Land” starring and directed by Robin Wright, grossed $940,000 in 1,231 theaters, with the expectation that it like other Focus titles will be available on PVOD within a month.

MINARI_00096Yeri Han, Noel ChoDirector Lee Isaac ChungCredit: Melissa Lukenbaugh/A24


Melissa Lukenbaugh

“Land” and “Judas” were joined by other initial releases that are in the awards chase, and all show  the difficulty in recreating box-office momentum to aid their chances. “The Mauritanian” (STX) or “Minari” (A24) are not in the top 10 (“Minari” numbers went unreported). The Guantanamo prison-set “The Mauritanian” with Jodie Foster and Tahar Ramin grossed $144,000 in 245 theaters. That’s a per-theater average of under $600. The film is initially theater-only, with a PVOD date of March 2.

“Minari,” a leading Oscar contender, played at an unrevealed number of theaters, but reportedly in a number similar to “The Mauritanian.” Sources outside A24 suggest that it did better, somewhere in the $150,000-$200,000 range.

It’s impossible to consider these results as remotely indicative of its appeal in a normal world. “Minari” is not theater exclusive. (It has an initial virtual availability on an A24 platform prior to broader PVOD on February 26). Key theaters in the top specialized coastal markets are closed. These include areas with the largest Korean-American audiences (with a similar group of characters living in Arkansas the subject of the film).

Like “Nomadland” (Searchlight), whose IMAX theater date grosses are even less known, it’s fair to say these results suggest little about the film’s appeal. If “Parasite” were released now, in a similar fashion, it’s hard to think it would have done much better. And the results aren’t much less per theater than “Judas,” which has a much larger advertising presence and broader awareness.

If “Minari” performed at the high end of its possible gross, it might have sneaked into the top 10. Or it might have been kept out by the unreported reissue of “The Notebook,” which with a Valentine’s Day boost might gross around $175,000 or more, again depending on number of theaters it has (unknown).

One romance that did make it, and with the best PTA, is “Uppena” (Great India). The Telugu-language Indian film played in only 74 theaters yet did well enough to place #8.

The Top Ten

1. The Croods: A New Age (Universal) Week 12; Last weekend #2; also available on Premium VOD

$2,040,000 (+21%) in 1,890 theaters (-145); PTA: $1,079; Cumulative: $48,319,000

2. Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros.) NEW – Cinemascore: A;  Metacritic: 87; also available on HBO Max

$2,000,000 in 1,888 theaters; PTA: $1,060; Cumulative: $2,000,000

3. The Little Things (Warner Bros.) Week 2; Last weekend #1; also available on HBO Max

$1,880,000 (-10%) in 2,090 theaters (-116); PTA: $900; Cumulative: $10,280,000

4. (tie) Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros.) Week 8; Last weekend #4; also available on Premium VOD

$1,100,000 (+13%) in 1,681 theaters (-183); PTA: $603; Cumulative: $41,600,000

4. (tie) The Marksman (Open Road) Week 5; Last weekend #3

$1,100,000 (+15%) in 1,825 theaters (-193); PTA: $603; Cumulative: $10,423,000

6. Land (Focus) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 61

$940,000 in 1,231 theaters; PTA: $764; Cumulative: $940,000

7. Monster Hunter (Sony) Week 9; Last weekend #5

$650,000 (+10%) in 1,366 theaters (-101); PTA: $476; Cumulative: $12,687,000

8. News of the World (Universal) Week 8; Last weekend #6; also available on Premium VOD  1537

$385,000 (-2%) in 1,243 theaters (-294); PTA: $310; Cumulative: $11,362,000

9. Uppena (Great India) NEW

$(est.) 200,000 in 74 theaters; PTA: $2,703; Cumulative: $(est.) 200,000

10. The War With Grandpa (101) Week 19; Last weekend #10; also available on VOD

$180,287 (+15%) in 525 theaters (-5); PTA: $343,000; Cumulative: $20,026,000


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