NEW YORK (AP) – It took six weeks, but Black Panther has finally been unseated as the top film at the North American box office. The monsters vs. robots science-fiction sequel Pacific Rim Uprising dethroned the superhero sensation with $28 million in ticket sales, according to studio estimates Sunday.
But the result for Pacific Rim Uprising, a Universal Pictures-Legendary Entertainment release that cost $150 million to make, was soft — at least domestically. Like the recently released Tomb Raider, its biggest business was in China, where Pacific Rim Uprising debuted with $65 million.
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And even though Black Panther slid to second place with $16.7 million in its sixth weekend, Ryan Coogler’s film notched another box-office milestone. It’s now the highest-grossing superhero film ever in North America, not accounting for inflation. The film’s $631 million in domestic ticket sales has surpassed the $623 million of 2012’s The Avengers. Black Panther also becomes the fifth highest grossing film of all-time, rising above Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The record-breaking hit of Black Panther has been followed by a string of lackluster performers, including Tomb Raider (currently No. 5), A Wrinkle in Time (No. 6) and Red Sparrow. Pacific Rim Uprising may have taken down Black Panther, but a blockbuster heir still hasn’t been found. Next weekend, Steven Spielberg will try with his big-budget virtual-reality spectacle Ready Player One.
MGM and Paramount Pictures’ animated family sequel Sherlock Gnomes disappointed with a fourth-place $10.6 million debut. Forecasts had been higher for the sequel to Gnomeo & Juliet, which grossed $194 million worldwide in 2011.
The results were also modest for Steven Soderbergh’s Unsane, a psychological thriller starring Claire Foy (The Crown) that the director shot with iPhones. The Bleecker Street-Fingerprint Releasing film opened with $3.9 million in 2,023 theaters. Though both were inexpensively made, neither of Soderbergh’s first two films following his brief retirement from Hollywood has made much of a dent at the box office. Last year’s Logan Lucky, starring Channing Tatum, tapped out at $27.8 million domestically.
But there were also bright spots. The Christian drama I Can Only Imagine held especially strongly in its second weekend. The Lionsgate-Roadside Attractions release grossed $13.8 million, bringing its two-week total to $38.5 million and putting it in third place. I Can Only Imagine has emerged as the clear faith-based film of choice ahead of Easter, likely to the detriment of Paul: Apostle of Christ, which took in $5 million this weekend for Sony’s Affirm Films.
And in limited release, Wes Anderson’s stop-motion animated Isle of Dogs got off to a healthy start with $1.6 million in 27 theaters. Fox Searchlight, coming off its best-picture win at the Academy Awards for The Shape of Water, carefully selected the opening-weekend theaters to cater to Anderson’s die-hard fans.
“We just wanted to be out there to give his audience an opportunity to find the film,” said Frank Rodriguez, distribution head for Searchlight.
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