By Rebecca Rubin
LOS ANGELES, (Variety.com) – Steven Spielberg’s latest blockbuster topped the domestic box office over the four-day holiday weekend.
Warner Bros.’ “Ready Player One” debuted in line with recent projections of $53 million from 4,324 locations. The film opened Thursday, getting a head start over its fellow weekend releases, “Tyler Perry’s Acrimony” and “God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness.”
The virtual reality fantasy, which currently holds an A- CinemaScore and 76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, released internationally with $128 million since it opened on Tuesday, bringing its worldwide total up to a solid $181.2 million. The film based on Ernest Cline’s novel stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, Simon Pegg and T.J. Miller.
“Tyler Perry’s Acrimony” — Tyler Perry’s 19th collaboration with Lionsgate — secured second place with $17 million in 2,006 locations. Meanwhile, the third installment of the “God’s Not Dead” franchise premiered with $2.6 million in 1,693 locations.
Marvel’s “Black Panther” remains a powerhouse in the No. 3 slot, taking in $11 million in 2,988 locations. The blockbuster crossed the $650 million mark at the North American box office, making it the fifth-highest release in the U.S. of all time. It looks to shortly become the fourth-highest release after it passes “Jurassic World,” which made $652 million. Currently, “Titanic” is at No. 3 with $659 million.
Over the Easter weekend, the Christian drama “I Can Only Imagine” stayed strong in fourth place with $10.5 million in 2,648 locations, totaling $55.3 million in its three weeks of release. Another faith-based film, “Paul, Apostle of Christ” saw $3.5 million at 1,473 locations. In two weeks, the film has made $11.5 million.
Rounding out the top five is Universal’s “Pacific Rim Uprising” with $9.2 million in 3,708 locations. The sci-fi actioner, which held the top spot last weekend, has taken in $45.6 million domestically. On par with its first weekend, the sequel to 2013’s “Pacific Rim” had an impressive international turnout with $22.2 million in 63 markets, bringing its international total up to $96.6 million.
Continuing its limited release, Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” made $2.9 million for a per screen average of $17,420 after expanding to 165 locations. Fox Searchlight Pictures’ stop-motion animation has grossed $5.9 million and looks to cross the $6 million mark in the upcoming week. Next weekend, “Isle of Dogs” will spread to between 450 and 500 locations.
In total, the box office is down 21.2 percent compared to the same weekend last year, while the 2018 North American box office is down 3.8 percent from 2017.
However, Paul Dergarabedian, a media analyst at comScore, says “Ready Player One” looks to have promising playability at the box office ahead of the debuts of “Blockers” and “A Quiet Place” next week and “Avengers Infinity War” at the end of April.
“After a rough month of March at the box office, down 24.1 percent vs. last year, ‘Ready Player One’ will hopefully portend bigger and better things to come at the April box office,” he said.