Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One continued to exceed expectations on Friday, grossing $15.2 million for a projected four-day debut of $52 million over Easter weekend, including roughly $40 million for the three-day weekend.
The big-budget film opened on Thursday to get a jump on Easter weekend and take advantage of some kids being out of school. So far, it is skewing heavily male (at least 65 percent), with 68 percent of ticket buyers under the age of 35. Audiences bestowed the film with an A- CinemaScore.
Ready Player One will easily top the chart in its launch, and will be Spielberg’s biggest opening since the last Indiana Jones movie, which launched to $100.1 million in summer 2008.
The sci-fi adventure — which marks Spielberg’s return to popcorn fare — is a big gamble, considering it cost Warners and Village Roadshow an estimated $175 million to produce before marketing. It also launches in numerous major foreign markets timed to its U.S. bow, including China. Overseas, the film is exceeding expectations in China, where its Friday-Saturday tally is an estimated $39.2 million for an early foreign total of $81.8 million and global total of $109 million.
The movie, based on Ernest Cline’s pop-culture-soaked novel about a teen’s quest to win control over a virtual universe, will need to do sizable business over the course of its run to land in the black.
Spielberg remains one of Hollywood’s most respected directors. Ready Player One is the first film he has made for Warners since A.I. Artificial Intelligence, which was released in 2001.
Two other films open nationwide over Easter weekend: Tyler Perry’s psychological thriller Acrimony and the faith-based God’s Not Dead: A Light in the Darkness. . Both films opened on Friday.
Acrimony, starring Taraji P. Henson, Lyriq Bent, Jazmyn Simon and Crystle Stewart, is likewise doing well, earning $7.3 million on Friday from 2,006 theaters for a projected $16 million-$18 million weekend. The movie likewise nabbed an A- CinemaScore.
God’s Not Dead 3 is another story. The threequel may not open to much more the $3 million-$4 million from 1,693 theaters, putting it behind box-office sensation I Can Only Imagine, which looks to place No. 4 with roughly $10 million. It could also lose to holdover Paul, Apostle of Christ.
Among other holdovers, Black Panther continues to hold in. The movie is expected to place No. 3 with roughly $11 million for a domestic north of $650 million.
Rounding out the top five is Pacific Rim Uprising, which is tumbling a steep 67 percent to an estimated $9.3 million for a domestic total of $45.8 million.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: Warner Bros.
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