Pacific Rim: Uprising earned an estimated $28 million, as it finally ended the five week reign of Black Panther, but it was a lackluster debut for the $155 million, mecha-filled production, and with none of the other four new films contributing much, the total of the top 12 films was down 41.1% from the same frame last year when Beauty and the Beast topped the charts with $90.4 million in its second weekend.

Pacific Rim: Uprising is the sequel to Guillermo Del Toro’s 2013 film, which “almost” broke even ($411 worldwide versus a production cost of $190 million).  Uprising, which stars John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, etc.), cost a bit less to produce ($155 million), but it also opened weaker in the U.S. than Del Toro’s film ($28 million vs. $37 million).  Uprising, which is long on action-packed special effects, but a bit short on narrative, received mediocre reviews (46% positive on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes), and a mediocre “B” CinemaScore from opening weekend audiences, which were well balanced by age (53% over 25), but skewed heavily male (68%).  Caucasians made up 52% of the crowd, followed by Hispanics (20%), and then African-Americans and Asians (both 11%).

Foreign audiences accounted for 75.2% of the revenue for Del Toro’s 2013 Pacific Rim, and Stephen DeKnight’s Pacific Rim: Uprising is going to need even more success outside of North America to get in the black.  Uprising did earn $122.4 million overseas this weekend, led by $65 million in China, so it is still possible that foreign markets will be able to make up for what would appear to be a weak run here in North America that is not likely to amount to more than $70 million.

After five weeks at number one, Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther slipped to #2 as it earned $16.65 million to bring its domestic cumulative to $630.9 million.  Black Panther is now the number one superhero film in the North American market (not adjusted for inflation) as it soared past Joss Whedon’s Avengers ($623 million).  Even when adjusting for rising ticket prices, Black Panther is now #4 (soon to become #3) trailing only Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man ($638 million adjusted), Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight ($684 million adjusted), and Whedon’s Avengers ($705 million adjusted).

Globally Black Panther has now earned $1.237 billion, and it has passed Iron Man 3 to become the third biggest global earner in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, trailing just the two Avengers films.  Will T’Challa’s appearance in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War help that superhero team-up film keep up the franchise’s sterling box office record?

Yes the past two weeks have been lackluster at the box office, but still the performance of the religiously-themed I Can Only Imagine, which traces the origin of an extremely popular Christian rock song, is impressive.  Finishing #3 for the second week in a row, I Can Only Imagine dropped just 19% as it earned $13.8 million, bringing its 10-day total to $38 million.

The animated Sherlock Gnomes debuted with a disappointing $10.6 million.  Spring break vacations over the next few weeks might help, and the film did receive an OK “B+” CinemaScore from opening weekend audiences, but this MGM release will have to demonstrate great “legs” just to break even.

Weekend Box Office (Studio Estimates): March 23-25, 2018


Weekend Gross



Total Gross



Pacific Rim Uprising







Black Panther







I Can Only Imagine







Sherlock Gnomes







Tomb Raider







A Wrinkle in Time







Love, Simon







Paul, Apostle of Christ







Game Night







Midnight Sun






Warner Bros.’ rebooted Tomb Raider finished in fifth as it fell off 56% from its disappointing debut, earning just $10.4 million to bring its North American total to $41.7 million.  Internationally the film is doing much better, adding $34 million for an overseas total of $170 million.

Ana DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time fell to sixth as it earned $8 million to bring its domestic total to $73.9 million, while Greg Berlanti’s coming-of-age saga Love, Simon dropped just 33.7% as it earned $7.8 million to bring the $17 million production’s domestic total to $23.7 million.

Debuting in eighth place was Sony’s faith-based biopic Paul, Apostle of Christ, which was clearly outshone by I Can Only ImaginePaul earned just $5 million and will face additional competition from a God Is Not Dead sequel opening next weekend.

Equally disappointing was the debut of the teen romance Midnight Sun, which earned just $4.1 million from over 2,100 theaters.  The good news for Midnight Sun is that it did reach its target demographic and spring break is coming up.  Midnight Sun earned a solid “A-“ CinemaScore from opening weekend audiences that skewed heavily female (80%) and younger (66% under 25).

Even worse was the debut of the best reviewed new film, Steven Soderbergh’s Unsane, which has a 78% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but earned just $3.9 million from over 2,000 venues, and received a lousy “B-“ CinemaScore from opening weekend crowds that were not pleased with the first feature film ever shot completely on an iPhone 7.

Mention should be made of Wes Anderson’s stop motion-animated Isle of Dogs.  Anderson is one of few “art film” directors who has shown the potential to create solid mid-range hits, and Isle of Dogs earned an impressive $1.57 million from just 27 theaters for an average of $51,458 per screen.  Fox Searchlight will add 22 theaters next weekend, and Isle of Dogs will go nationwide in mid-April.

Be sure and check back here next week to see if Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the video game-themed Ready Player One, which had a smash showing at South by Southwest, can revive a box office that has sagged in the wake Black Panther’s record-setting Q1 debut.