When tracking was first released for Creed III last week, the numbers were looking strong with a franchise best $40 million opening. In my predictions, that number seemed to be a good one as it was slightly better than Creed II’s opening of $35.5 million which itself was slightly better than Creed’s $29.6 million opening. When Saturday numbers began rolling in, it looked like that prediction was a bit off as the film had a stronger than anticipated Friday haul and the threequel was going to hit above $50 million. Well, apparently those numbers continued to grow because today, the studio is officially reporting a $58.6 million opening for Creed III absolutely obliterating even the most optimistic of projections.
There was a question prior to the release of Creed III of whether a Rocky related film could really succeed without the connective glue of the franchise (Stallone), but it would seem that Creed and Creed II did what so many other rebooted/ requel franchises have failed to do: successfully handed off the baton to the next generation. Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan crafted such a great continuation of the franchise that fans were ready to follow it wherever it went and the result is Michael B. Jordan coming out of the gate as a director with a hit. Critical reactions to the film are strong with critics praising Jordan’s direction and the great performance by Jonathan Majors (Our own JimmyO gave it a 9/10).
This opening, which also represents the best opening for a sports film ever, is also a big win for Amazon Studios who purchased MGM back in 2021 for a reported $8.4 billion. I’m sure a big conversation was had about whether to put this one out in theaters or just drop it on their streaming service, but cooler heads prevailed and they realized a film such as Creed III needs to be seen in a theater amongst other fans. To put that into perspective: had Creed III just been dropped on Amazon Prime this past Friday, we would not be discussing it right now, plain and simple. Even if Amazon reported a record breaking number of minutes streamed for the film, the press for that would be fairly limited. But with the studio realizing that a theatrical release is the best press you can give a film, they went all in on this one and the proof is in the pudding as they say (I never understood that saying, why is their proof in my pudding?!) You can even argue that when a studio puts out a box office bomb, such as when HBO/ Warner Brothers released House Party earlier this year, that film got way more press from its theatrical release than it would have had it just been dumped on HBO Max and because of that, more people were aware of its existence. For their part, Amazon seems to be trending in the right direction as their next big release is the theatrical exclusive, Ben Affleck directed Air (just don’t short change us on the physical media releases Amazon!)
All eyes will be on how this one performs in the weeks to come as it really has no room to breathe. Next week sees the highly anticipated Scream VI while the week after sees Shazam! Fury of the Gods followed one week later by John Wick Chapter 4 which is already tracking for its own franchise best opening. With a reported $75 million budget, Creed III can’t just rest on this tremendous opening weekend, it needs legs to truly be considered a success.
Dropping down a spot is the third week of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania with an estimated $12.4 million. That number keeps it in line with the other films in the franchise as their third week takes were in the low to mid teen range as well. It used to be that other studios would get out of the way of any Marvel movie, giving them a few weeks to clean up at the box office before attempting to go up against them. But now, with a pipeline of Covid delayed films, there just isn’t time to wait it out and we are seeing that these films are putting a dent in these Marvel films overall box office. Don’t get me wrong, a nearly $200 million take in just three weeks is still a solid gross for any film, but those numbers are a far cry from what we are used to seeing from Marvel properties. Also, it must feel pretty good to be Jonathan Majors right now, starring in the top two spots at the box office!
Coming in third place is the highly entertaining Cocaine Bear with an estimated $11.02 million. That represents a 53% decline from last week which is actually a pretty decent hold for a comedy/ horror/ bear on cocaine film! Hopefully those numbers are enough for Director Elizabeth Banks to make her proposed sequel Cocaine Shark because as much as I love franchises like The Lord of the Rings and Back to the Future, the Cocaine (insert animal here) franchise has the potential to be the best one yet!
Fourth place belongs to Crunchyroll studios with their release of Demon Slayer into the Swordsmith Village with an estimated $10.1 million. That is a very good opening for the studio as their last film to hit theaters, January’s That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime The Movie: Scarlet Bond opened to just $1.4 million. Fifth place also belongs to a film with a targeted demographic: Jesus Revolution continues its strong box office presence with an $8.6 million weekend which is only down 46% from its opening last week. Both of these films aren’t in my wheelhouse, but I will forever champion audiences heading to theaters to see any movie that speaks to them and these Anime and Faith Based titles have shown the true power of the theatrical experience.
Coming in sixth place is Avatar: The Way of Water with an additional $3.5 million added to its domestic total of just over $670 million. With three more movies all but guaranteed and the potential for two more after that, is it possible this franchise could one day take up seven of the top ten all time box office earners spots? Only time will tell, but I think by Avatar 7 we may start to see some franchise fatigue, although the Fast and the Furious movies are still going strong, so who knows!
Seventh place belongs to Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre with just $3.1 million. Don’t let that number scare you off from seeing this one as I found it be incredibly entertaining (although our own Chris Bumbray disagrees with me a bit on that one as he gave it just a 5/10.) The film may have suffered from only getting domestic distribution just three weeks ago when Lionsgate stepped in. Whatever the case may be, I found this one to have that traditional dry Guy Ritchie humor while also offering up a blockbuster experience to be seen in the theaters. But this one may be another case of a studio putting it out theatrically just to whet the appetite for when it hits PVOD or streaming in a few weeks.
Rounding out the top ten are your holdovers Puss in Boots: The Last Wish with an additional $2.7 million, followed by Magic Mike’s Last Dance with another $1.1 million shoved into Channing Tatum’s G-string while the ladies of 80 For Brady saw an additional $845,000 added to their box office.
Did you make it to theaters this week? If so, let us know what you saw in the comments section and don’t forget to check out our weekly poll where we ask what your Favorite Film by a First Time Actor Turned Director is.