Jennifer Lawrence’s ‘Red Sparrow’ debuts to $17 million, while Bruce Willis-starrer ‘Death Wish’ takes in an estimated $13 million; select Oscar nominees enjoy a last-minute surge before Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony.
Movies from Jennifer Lawrence and Bruce Willis were no match for Disney and Marvel’s Black Panther, which amassed another $65.7 million in its third outing to leap past the $500 million mark in North America and earn nearly $900 million worldwide.
Black Panther — now the tenth biggest pic of all time domestically, not adjusted for inflation — nabbed the third-biggest weekend in history behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($90.2 million) and Avatar ($68.5 million) to become the No. 3 superhero pic of all time behind The Dark Knight ($534.9M), which it will soon pass, and fellow Marvel title The Avengers ($623.4M), which it could also ultimately top.
Overseas, the Ryan Coogler-directed blockbuster earned another $56.2 million for a foreign tally of $396.6 million and a global haul of $897.8 million. Black Panther has yet to open in China, where it will bow on Friday. To date, the U.K. leads all territories with $49.1 million, followed by South Korea ($41.4 million), Brazil ($24.9 million), Australia ($22.3 million) and Mexico ($22 million). It also is the No. 5 release of all time in South Africa, and the highest-grossing title ever in West Africa and East Africa.
Two R-rated action pics opened opposite Black Panther in North America — Red Sparrow, a spy thriller starring Lawrence, and Willis’ Death Wish remake. Both did muted business.
From Fox and Chernin Entertainment, Red Sparrow beat Death Wish with an estimated $17 million from 3,056 theaters to place second. The action thriller reunites Lawrence with her Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence, and debuted to more than double what her last film, mother!, made in its first weekend. It also opened ahead of the actress’ 2016 pic Passengers ($14 million).
Based on the novel by Jason Matthews, Red Sparrow tells the tale of a Russian ballerina who, after suffering a career-ending injury, becomes a seductive and cunning intelligence operative. Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeremy Irons, Mary-Louise Parker and Charlotte Rampling co-star in the film, which reportedly cost a net $69 million to produce.
Red Sparrow played best on both coasts, while slightly under-indexing in Middle America. Females made up the majority of ticket buyers (53 percent), while nearly 80 percent of the audience was over the age of 25.
Death Wish, a remake of the 1974 revenge thriller, opened to an estimated $13 million from 2,847 locations. In the film, which took third place over the weekend, Willis stars as a doctor who takes the law into his own hands after an attack on his wife and daughter. The cast also includes Elisabeth Shue, Vincent D’Onofrio, Camila Morrone, Dean Norris and Mike Epps.
The movie, which cost a reported $30 million to produce after tax rebates and incentives, marks the first release from MGM since the indie studio re-entered the domestic distribution business. Death Wish skewed male (57 percent), and played even older than Red Sparrow, with 30 percent of ticket buyers age 35 and older (compared to 23 percent for Lawrence’s film).
Red Sparrow currently has a 51 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while Death Wish was crushed by critics with a 15 percent score (MGM didn’t lift the review embargo until the Thursday before it opened). Both films earned a B+ CinemaScore from audiences.
At the specialty box office, several movies competing in the Oscar race that are still in theaters benefited from a last-minute boost of interest before Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony. Most notably, Guillermo del Toro’s frontrunner The Shape of Water was up 19 percent from last weekend, grossing an estimated $1.4 million from 832 theaters for a domestic total of $57.4 million.
Sony Pictures Classics waited until Oscar weekend to open the Israeli film Foxtrot, which is vying in the foreign-language feature category. The film earned an estimated $36,786 from four theaters for a location average of $9,117.
Back on the top 10 chart, the New Line comedy Game Night placed fourth with an estimated $10.7 million for a domestic cume of $33.5 million. Overseas, it earned $8.4 million from 46 markets for a foreign total of $16 million and $49.5 million globally.
Sony’s Peter Rabbit rounded out the top five domestically with an estimated $10 million for a domestic total of $84.1 million. Overseas, the family film took in $14.3 million — led by a $12.7 million opening in China — for an overseas tally of $101.9 million and $186 million globally to date.
March 4, 8:35 a.m. An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported Death Wish‘s gross. THR regrets the error.